Most misleading claims in Mike Pence’s controversial op-ed on election rules

Conrad Duncan@theconradduncan
Thursday 04 March 2021 12:59
news

Former vice-president Mike Pence has come under fire for pushing false election fraud claims less than two months after the violent US Capitol riot which put his own safety in danger.

In his first major comment since leaving office on 20th January, Pence has written an article for the right-wing Daily Signal news website in which he explained his opposition to voting rights legislation being considered by Congress.

The former VP described the For the People Act, also known as HR 1, as an “unconstitutional, reckless, and anti-democratic bill” in an op-ed filled with misleading statements.

In fact, the article opens by supporting Donald Trump’s “big lie” that the 2020 presidential election was stolen through widespread voter fraud:

“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.”

Numerous government organisations, even under Trump, have not found evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Trump-appointed FBI director Christopher Wray, then-Attorney General William Barr and the Justice Department all found no evidence of widespread fraud, while no court has endorsed claims about widespread irregularities.

Pence then goes on to falsely claim that voter ID would be banned “from coast to coast” under the new legislation:

“At the same time, state and local election officials would be stripped of their ability to maintain the accuracy of voter rolls, barred from verifying voter eligibility, and voter ID would be banned from coast to coast.”

In fact, the bill does not stop states from having voter identification requirements. Instead, it asks states to allow voters who do not have ID to submit a signed statement under penalty of perjury attesting to their identity. This could mean voter ID rules have been weakened but they have not been banned.

The former VP also suggested that the bill would ensure that “millions of illegal immigrants are quickly registered to vote”...

“The bill 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.”

However, this is not true because the bill does not change the current law that bans undocumented immigrants from voting in federal elections. People will still have to confirm that they are US citizens before being added to voter rolls and state election officials will still be tasked with checking that only US citizens are allowed to vote.

Pence’s claim that “congressional districts would be redrawn by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats” is also dubious.

Currently, congressional districts are drawn by state legislators but the new bill wants district boundaries to be drawn up by 15-member independent commissions, with five Republicans, five Democrats and five unaffiliated members.

This is similar to how district lines are drawn in major countries such as Canada, England and Australia.

Finally, perhaps the most ridiculous suggestion from Pence about the bill is on its overall aim, which the former VP claims is dangerous and undemocratic...

“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.”

The For The People Act was written with the goal of making it easier for people to vote, reducing the influence of big money in politics, and limiting partisan gerrymandering.

If making it easier for more voters to participate in elections would give leftists (aka Democrats) an “unfair” advantage, then what does that say about the Republican Party?

More: The tragedy and irony of the storm on the U.S. Capitol

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