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Blunt Speaks Out Against S.1, Sets Record Straight on State-Level Election Bills

March 23, 2021

WASHINGTON – At the Republican leadership press conference today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, spoke out against S. 1, Democrats’ 800+ page bill that would amount to a federal takeover of the election system. Blunt also set the record straight on election-related bills that have been introduced in state legislatures. As Blunt noted, Democrat state legislators have filed around 700 election-related bills, compared to just 253 Republican-led measures. Only two of the Republican-led bills have been enacted, one related to removing deceased people from voter rolls.

Following Are Blunt’s Remarks:

“Well, this will be [S.1]. Obviously, just like H.R.1, S.1 creates a priority for what the majority thinks is important. This is the first time in 21 years that the first bill that got referred to a committee, S.1, got referred to the Rules Committee. It is fundamentally a federalization of the election process. We've had a process since the beginning of the country where states and local officials had the flexibility and the ability to make their laws work for voters in their state.

“You know, Democrats argued for weeks and months after the election last time that it was the most secure election we'd ever had and the highest number of people that had ever voted, voted because of the flexibility that states had to respond to the moment and how it impacted their state. You know, there are First Amendment issues. There are 10th Amendment issues. There are constitutional issues on redistricting in addition to simply federalizing the election process.

“Now, in every article I believe I've read on this, one of the lines in the article is, 'according to the Brennan Center, there are more than 250 bills filed by Republicans in state legislatures to make it harder to vote.' Well, 253 bills to be exact, according to the Brennan Center, in 43 state legislatures, so that's about six bills per legislature, which is probably about right by any legislative standard. Politicians are always experts on how to conduct elections. But most of those bills will never pass.

“In fact, the two bills that have passed—the two Republican bills that have passed, according to the Brennan Center, one is in Arkansas, where they further explain how their voter ID rules will be implemented. And another is in Utah—the 'voter suppression bill' in Utah—according to the Brennan Center, is where the lieutenant governor, who is the election official for the state, has to forward to county clerks the list of deceased people in Utah from the Social Security Administration. If you believe this story, that is voter suppression—creating a way that dead people get off the voter rolls.

“There are 700 bills, by the way, filed by Democrats in state legislatures—a number I've never read in any article yet—to make it theoretically easier to vote. Things like Illinois, where, at least in the big counties in Illinois, you have to have a polling place at the jail under that bill that now has passed in Illinois. Now, I don't agree with that. But I don't vote for anybody in the Illinois legislature, and I don't assume that Washington, D.C. is a better place than Springfield, Illinois, to decide what's the right thing to do there.

“I'm opposed to this bill. I would be opposed to a Republican bill that said, 'here's the Republican way to take over the election process.' We've got something here that's worked for a long time, that's responsive, that people know the people that are expected to be sure that the election is conducted in a free and fair way. This bill takes all of that away.”

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