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In a possible preview of what to expect if Republicans retake the House, a GOP lawmaker sponsored legislation to nullify President Joe Biden’s executive order empowering federal agencies to oversee aspects of voting in elections.
Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.V. introduced the legislation after several state lawmakers pushed back against what they consider Biden’s federal overreach into elections that are historically managed by state and local governments.
In Mooney’s state, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner sent a letter to Biden in May requesting the president rescind the order directing federal agencies to make plans to conduct state-level voter registration services.
Mooney wants to build support for the legislation now and add co-sponsors to bring it back up in 2023, when he expects a new Republican majority in Congress.
“We want to expose what he is attempting to do here,” Mooney told Fox News Digital. “Obviously, the Democrats were unable to pass their House Resolution 1 and Senate Bill 1, which would have hijacked the entire election system in this country and now this little sneaky executive order attempt to achieve some of those goals is being pushed.”
H.R. 1 and S. 1 were bills Democrats dubbed the “For the People Act” that would have restricted state voter ID, expanded mail-in voting and the controversial practice of ballot harvesting, and would have required states to allow same-day voter registration, and other measures.
Even if the president is unlikely to sign legislation reversing his executive order, Mooney said the legislation will bring awareness. Moreover, he is encouraging his Republican colleagues to use the power of the purse.
“I want to put the bill in, have a hearing, expose what they are doing, hopefully, pass the bill,” he said. “Also, we Republicans have to do a better job of using the appropriations committee to defund unconstitutional executive orders like this. We should just simply not fund the programs or departments doing this next year, shut it down that way.”
Biden issued the executive order in March 2021 that called for an “all-of-government” effort to “promote voter registration and voter participation.”
While members of Congress and watchdog groups have sought more information on the implementation, some federal agencies have released various plans to implement Biden’s executive order, including the Justice Department releasing guidance for states to increase awareness of voting rights for convicted criminals, in compliance with Biden’s order.
The Department of Homeland Security said it will focus on voter registration “at the end of naturalization ceremonies” for immigrants who become citizens. The Department of Education said it will focus on “increasing civic engagement at the elementary school, secondary school, and higher education level, helping more than 67 million students.” The Department of Transportation will promote free transit services for voting, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development will work with local public housing authorities on registering residents to vote.
Warner called this “an improper federal overreach,” and said state legislatures should make decisions on elections.
“This misplaced initiative will ultimately duplicate and complicate existing state programs, and without a state requesting such assistance, the directive will be unlawful and unnecessary,” Warner said in a statement. “These actions from the Biden Administration are not based in our Constitution nor are these federal agencies Congressionally authorized to engage in voter registration activity by federal law.”
Mooney said the Biden administration is using government agencies to attempt to affect the outcome of elections.
“In the Constitution, there is no federal role for running state elections,” Mooney said. “That has sort of been understood for a long time. One of the great things about our democratic election process is that every state sets its own rules, state-by-state. There are different times that polls are open. There are different polling locations. Is the federal government going to come in and decide the locations for people to vote? They have no authority and no logical ability to do that. So it has all been state-by-state. My state has 55 counties in it. The counties run the elections, county-by-county.”
Not only is that a constitutional matter, Mooney added, but a decentralized election protects from foreign interference.
“That’s important because it makes it really hard for a foreign entity or any entity to hack in and to rig election systems,” Mooney said. You know the Chinese and the Russians would love to come hack in and rig our election systems. When you have 50 different states and the counties within the states have different election systems, that’s a security measure. We would be losing that security.”