NICOLE RUSSELL: Why don't Democrats want to preserve election integrity?

House Republicans are set to vote on a bill that would further preserve election integrity, the SAVE Act — or the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility Act — this week. But Democrats are trying desperately to stop it. With an election just months away, it would seem like both parties would want to safeguard this election as much as possible.

Axios reports that “House Democratic leadership is bringing out the big guns” against the SAVE Act, a bill that, if passed, would require proof of United States citizenship to cast ballots in federal elections. Many states require this for state elections, but not federal. The bill would also require states to remove non-citizens from existing voter rolls. Both of these measures seem fair and without political motive or malice.

Yet in the roundup of important forthcoming bills to vote on — the whip question — House Minority whip Katherine Clark (D- Mass.) urged House Democrats to vote no on the bill. House Democrat leaders claim the bill would create an “extreme burden for countless Americans” and “further intimidate election officials and overburden states' abilities to enroll new voters,” according to Axios’ reporting.

Republicans, on the other hand, are pushing hard for the bill, as well they should. Texas Republican Chip Roy introduced the SAVE Act with Speaker Mike Johnson. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) has a companion bill in the Senate. At least 49 other Republican members of the House support the bill. According to Pew Research, 81% of Americans agree with this idea and want proof of citizenship to be a requirement for voting.

“Secure elections are a key cornerstone for any representative government; without them, we won't have a country,” Roy said, when he introduced the bill in May. “Radical progressive Democrats know this and are using open border policies while also attacking election integrity laws to fundamentally remake America.”

While Democrats and much of the media do not believe there is any evidence of a widespread phenomenon of states with election integrity issues, it seems like even if that’s true — and I hope it is — a bill requiring states to require voters have proof of U.S. citizenship should do no harm. It would only serve to secure the elections even further. This should really be a non partisan issue.

Democrats claim this bill makes it harder for people to vote. That simply is not the case. It would make it harder for U.S. citizens without proof of citizenship to vote, or it would make it harder for people who are not U.S. citizens to vote. Proof of citizenship seems basic, even fundamental, to voting in America. It can and should open a world of doors, including voting. Without it, those doors should be closed. This isn’t bigoted or mean, it should simply be a matter of law, a matter of policy. The safeguards for our elections are for Americans’ own good.

Democrats claim this is too hard for people. How does requiring in-person proof of U.S. citizenship to vote place an undue burden on Americans? A valid I.D. or driver’s license is required for all kinds of activities far more mundane than voting, including a doctor’s visit, purchase of alcohol, or even a new job. Adult life comes with responsibilities. Voting is one of those.

The only reason Democrats would vote “no” on this bill and would lobby their fellow representatives to do so, would be if they saw some kind of political gain from people voting without proof of U.S. citizenship. There simply can be no other explanation.

Americans concerned about election integrity are right to wonder why Democrats wouldn’t want elections as secure as possible and only American citizens voting in a federal election. Who are they hoping will cast a vote without being a U.S. citizen or at least, without having proof of it? The answers to these questions will provide all the explanations Republicans need.

Image: Title: katherine clark


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