In an echo of his former boss Donald Trump, former Vice President Mike Pence called for tightening election security laws Wednesday in a stinging critique of congressional Democrats' comprehensive plan to federalize American elections.
"After an election marked by significant voting irregularities and numerous instances of officials setting aside state election law, I share the concerns of millions of Americans about the integrity of the 2020 election," Pence wrote in an op-ed for The Daily Signal, the opinion site of the Heritage Foundation, the conservative think tank where Pence is now a "distinguished visiting fellow."
Pence decried the sweeping election changes Democratic lawmakers are seeking to engineer via HR 1, otherwise known as the "For the People Act." The legislation, Pence argued, would "increase opportunities for election fraud, trample the First Amendment, further erode confidence in our elections, and forever dilute the votes of legally qualified eligible voters."
HR 1, Pence wrote, "would force states to adopt universal mail-in ballots, early voting, same-day voter registration, online voter registration, and automatic voter registration for any individual listed in state and federal government databases, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles and welfare offices, ensuring duplicate registrations and that millions of illegal immigrants are quickly registered to vote."
Calling on elected leaders to reject "congressional Democrats' plan to nationalize our elections," Pence wrote: "Election reform is a national imperative, but under our Constitution, election reform must be undertaken at the state level. Our Founders limited Congress' role in conducting our elections for good reason: They wanted elections to be administered closest to the people, free from undue influence of the national government."
Pence framed the Democrats' proposed overhaul as a politically motivated power grab divorced from genuine interest in election integrity.
"Every single proposed change in HR 1 serves one goal, and one goal only: to give leftists a permanent, unfair, and unconstitutional advantage in our political system," wrote Pence.
Pence's op-ed, his first since leaving office in January, comes after months of controversy surrounding allegations of voter fraud during the November 2020 election. The Trump campaign launched numerous lawsuits in an attempt to challenge the election results in certain swing states.
Democratic supporters of HR1 claim their bill will improve access to voting, promote election integrity, reaffirm the Voting Rights Act, prohibit states from purging voter rolls, and enhance federal support for voting system security, among many reforms.
"The 2020 election underscored the need for comprehensive, structural democracy reform," declares Maryland Democratic Rep. John Sarbanes, the bill's sponsor, on his website. "Americans across the country were forced to overcome rampant voter suppression, gerrymandering, and a torrent of special-interest dark money just to exercise their vote and their voices in our democracy.
"That's why House Democrats are committed to advancing HR 1, the For the People Act — a transformational anti-corruption and clean elections reform package."