In 2016, at a campaign speech in Nevada, Donald Trump said, “We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated.” Shocking as this was for many of us, the implication was that ignorance, that is, a lack of knowledge or information, was not a handicap to members of his voting base.
In recent statements regarding H.R.1, aka, the For the People Act, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik seems to be relying on just such a sentiment. In a Facebook posting, Ms. Stefanik proudly asserts that she voted against H.R.1 and lists several false or misleading statements regarding the bill’s provisions without offering any support whatsoever for those statements (below in “quotes”).
H.R.1 will “Allow taxpayer funding of federal campaigns”: In fact, federal campaigns would be partially funded through a 2.7% surtax drawn from fines leveled against corporate and white collar tax cheats, not through general taxpayer funds.
H.R.1 will “Allow felons and minors to vote”: In reality, nationally incarcerated felons are not allowed to vote. However, 37 states reinstate voting rights to felons without restriction once released. H.R.1 seeks to standardize this nationally. Regarding minors, 16- to 17-year-olds may be pre-registered to vote but are enfranchised only after turning 18.
H.R.1 will “Mandate 15 days of early voting and same day registration”: Currently, 39 states plus Washington, D.C. allow early voting. In 2020, early voting began one to six weeks before Election Day. Currently, 21 states plus Washington, D.C. allow same day registration on Election day; three allow it conditionally; and 26 have pre-election deadlines varying between eight and 30 days.
Ms. Stefanik lists several other “problems” with H.R.1, and none are backed up with any information to help the reader understand the issues. She fails to mention that H.R.1 is meant to establish national standards and guidelines for voting in federal elections and attempts to rectify some of the very state-related procedural “problems” she cited when on Jan. 6, she voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election results. H.R.1 is meant to offer multiple, legitimate and legal means by which every citizen’s right to vote is ensured.
By not honestly attempting to inform her constituents about H.R.1, Ms. Stefanik is counting on us to remain ignorant about the actual content of the bill. For further information on the For the People Act, please go to: https://www.brennancenter.org/our-work/policy-solutions/annotated-guide-people-act-2021
Editor’s note: In the interest of context, here is a more complete quote of what Donald Trump said Feb. 23, 2016, following Nevada’s primary: “We won the evangelicals. We won with young. We won with old. We won with highly educated. We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated.”