Support Just the News

Help Fund Honest Journalism


Cuccinelli: GOP should seek election reform 'state by state,' not dictated by Washington

Former Trump DHS deputy argues the Democrats' election bill opens the door for non-citizens being registered to vote.

Updated: May 15, 2021 - 11:24pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Ken Cuccinelli, chair of the Election Transparency Initiative, said Republicans in Congress are not going to roll out a counterproposal to the Democrats' election reform bill, the For the People Act, because states should handle election law changes.

Cuccinelli was asked if Republicans should counter the Democrats' H.R.1 and S.1 with an alternative that solidifies voter identification requirements and standards that states would have to meet to update voter rolls. 

"Absolutely not, part of the point here is that states have done this for 230 years, they've been successful laboratories of democracy, they've never worked perfectly, but Lord knows Washington isn't going to fix that, and it should be left to the states," Cuccinelli said on a press call about the For the People Act advancing in the Democratic-led Senate after passing the Democratic-led House.

"It isn't that there is some other federal imposition that should take place," he added. "It's that this should be debated and adjusted state by state in the states themselves. So the answer to your question is no."

Under the Democrats' federal election reform bill, Super PACs would be required to publicly disclose their donors, and the federal government would "match small donations (up to $200) to participating congressional candidates at a 6-1 ratio."

The legislation also makes Election Day a holiday for federal employees and prohibits states from imposing any restrictions on a voter's ability to cast mail-in ballots. Prior to the pandemic, voters in many states needed to provide an excuse to obtain an absentee ballot. The legislation creates a nonpartisan redistricting commission, and it requires automatic voter registration with an opt-out provision for individuals.

Cuccinelli, who served as acting deputy secretary of the Homeland Security Department in the Trump administration, argued that the legislation opens the door for non-citizens being registered to vote.

"So one of the aspects of this bill that is particularly egregious is that it orders the states to dump all adults, it doesn't say citizens, it says individuals in their state databases, into their voter rolls, and later on to notify them that they've been put on the voter rolls," he said. "And if those people then show up and vote — which of course is the point of being registered, right — this bill also removes any penalties for that illegal voting. So they have literally legalized the voting by illegal aliens who will be dumped onto the rolls via the automatic registration provisions."

As Just the News previously reported, some non-citizens are mistakenly registered to vote in certain states that allow illegal immigrants to obtain drivers' licenses. 

Jason Snead, executive director of Heritage Action's Honest Elections Project, said the only policy change he would like to see Congress enact is easing up the NVRA "requirements for list maintenance, so that we can clean voter rolls." 

"We don't need to see a Republican counter to the federal takeover with their own federal takeover," he said.