FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 13, 2022
Narrowest Possible Democrat Majority Attempting Unprecedented, Politically Driven Power Grab by Destroying Senate’s Legislative Filibuster Rule Used to Ensure Bipartisan Consensus
Washington, D.C. – The latest iteration of Democrats’ legislation to override state election laws, “The Freedom to Cheat Act” (H.R. 5746), will soon be considered by the U.S. Senate. Like previously failed versions of the legislation—S. 1, S. 4, S. 2039, and S. 2747—Democrats continue relying on their manufactured “voter suppression” myth to force a partisan, politically driven power grab into law by gutting the legislative filibuster rule used for nearly 200 years to ensure bipartisanship and consensus-driven decision making.
The “Freedom to Cheat Act” would give left-wing, unelected federal bureaucrats veto authority over state election laws, rigging the system in their favor and silencing millions of American voices to ensure they can’t lose. The legislation would effectively abolish voter I.D. protections for most ballots, force states to register illegal aliens and 16-year-olds to vote, erode election safeguards enacted by many states—making it nearly impossible to detect fraud—while mandating unsecure and unverifiable absentee voting practices, override voter roll maintenance laws, and dramatically alter First Amendment protections by imposing unnecessary and unworkable regulatory standards.
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have consistently pledged to oppose any effort to weaken or eliminate minority filibuster rights as liberal Democrats seek to force their most contentious legislative priorities into law with only 51 Democrat votes instead of the normal 60 votes.
“There’s no need for me to restate my longstanding support for the 60-vote threshold to pass legislation. There’s no need for me to restate its role in protecting our country from wild reversals of federal policy,” a defiant Sinema declared on the Senate Floor today. “But what is the legislative filibuster, other than a tool that requires new federal policy to be broadly supported by senators, representing the broader cross-section of Americans… Demands to eliminate this threshold from whichever party holds the fleeting majority amount to a group of people separated on two sides of a canyon, shouting that solution to their colleagues,” she added.
After meeting with President Biden today, Manchin issued lengthy statement, stating, “I will not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster.”
National Chairman of the Election Transparency Initiative and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued the following statement:
“It’s a sad day when Democrats try to force their failed federal takeover of elections through the Senate for the fifth time, but perhaps there’s no greater indication that their harmful and highly unpopular legislation is at odds with the American people than changing the Senate’s own rules to get their way. When the shoe is on the other foot and they are in the minority, preserving the 60-vote legislative filibuster is shrouded by Democrats as the linchpin of democracy—not anymore. Now that their party is in power, albeit led by a president with eye-popping low approval and a VP who is the most unpopular in modern history, Democrats prove they’re not motivated by bipartisanship and protecting our sacred institutions, but by political expediency and breaking the Senate in a doomsday scenario they themselves long warned of. Make no mistake, Democrats’ unprecedented power grab has been defined by division, deceit, and a completely incredible ‘voter suppression’ myth supported by a 20-year, media-assisted propaganda campaign in place of truth. The reality is it’s never been easier for every American to register and vote than it is today—a measure of progress of which we should all be proud.”
In fact, should the Democrat takeover of elections become law, children in West Virginia would need more identification to fish than adults need to vote. Although it would do away with voter I.D., anglers 15 or older in West Virginia must still possess both a fishing license and a state-issued ID or driver’s license while fishing.
The “Freedom to Cheat Act” would further subject citizens who contribute to nonprofit organizations to harassment and intimidation by making their personal information available in a government-controlled database, and through an expansion of the definition of “electioneering communications,” it would subject virtually all issue-related ads to burdensome disclaimer requirements even if unrelated to a candidate for elected office.
According to a McLaughlin poll with a demographic makeup of 38% Republican, 39% Democrat, and 23% Independent, nearly 7-in-10 likely general election voters in West Virginia oppose Democrats ending the filibuster. Another statewide poll found that 61% of West Virginia voters agreed with Manchin’s pledged opposition to “weakening or eliminating” the filibuster rule. McLaughlin additionally found that nearly 6-in-10 likely general election voters in Arizona oppose Democrats ending the filibuster.
In 2017, Manchin joined in signing a bipartisan letter of 61 senators urging preservation the 60-vote threshold for legislation. The letter, which was also signed by senators John McCain (R-WV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Jon Tester (D-MT), expressed their shared opposition to “any effort to curtail the existing rights and prerogatives of Senators to engage in full, robust, and extended debate as we consider legislation before this body in the future.”
“There is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster,” Manchin wrote last summer in The Washington Post. “I’m sitting in Bob Byrd’s seat. Just read his history,” he told National Review.
Echoing the 2017 pledge signed by the late senator John McCain, Sinema has maintained that John McCain is her “personal hero” who is “lighting the way” for her public service, and that she takes her legacy in the seat that the late senator once held very seriously.
“It’s no secret that I oppose eliminating the Senate’s 60-vote threshold. I held the same view during three terms in the U.S. House and said the same after I was elected to the Senate in 2018. If anyone expected me to reverse my position because my party now controls the Senate, they should know that my approach to legislating in Congress is the same whether in the minority or majority,” Sinema wrote in The Washington Post.
What do real “voter suppression” and “Jim Crow” laws look like? The 1902 Virginia Constitution imposed poll taxes, literacy tests and even a civics test as hurdles to voter registration and voting, all intended to deny as many black citizens access to voting as possible. That same constitution also employed devices to allow illiterate whites onto the voter rolls. These included “going easy” on the civics tests for prospective white voters who could not read, as well as so-called “grandfather clauses,” by which illiterate whites whose father or grandfather fought for either the Union or Confederacy (virtually always the Confederacy) would also be able to register to vote.
Georgia’s 1958 civics test was used to bar black citizens from voting, but it was not only southern states discriminating against voters. California, Connecticut, Delaware, and more also have had constitutional and/or statutory provisions to impede minority voting.
National polls show the majority of voters, including Black and Hispanic voters, as well as urban and independent voters, overwhelmingly support voter I.D. protections and want it to be easy to vote and hard to cheat.
The Election Transparency Initiative, a partnership between American Principles Project (APP) and the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List), was organized to combat H.R. 1 and H.R. 4 and advocate for state-based election reforms that voters can trust.