Mrs. Pelosi unveiled a 600-plus page bill devoted to “election reform.” Some of the legislation was aimed at weaponizing campaign-finance law, giving Democrats more power to control political speech and to intimidate opponents. But the bill was equally focused on empowering the federal government to dictate how states conduct elections—with new rules designed to water down ballot integrity and to corral huge new tranches of Democratic voters.
The bill would require states to offer early voting. They also would have to allow Election Day and online voter registration, diluting the accuracy of voting rolls. H.R. 1 would make states register voters automatically from government databases, including federal welfare recipients. Colleges and universities were designated as voter-registration hubs, and 16-year-olds would be registered to vote two years in advance. The bill would require “no fault” absentee ballots, allowing anyone to vote by mail, for any reason. It envisioned prepaid postage for federal absentee ballots. It would cripple most state voter-ID laws. It left in place the “ballot harvesting” rules that let paid activists canvass neighborhoods to hoover up absentee votes.
Democrats grandly named their bill the For The People Act, but conservatives had better titles. This page called it the “Majority Preservation Act,” while the editors at National Review described it as an “Unconstitutional, Authoritarian Power Grab.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell decried the bill as a “naked attempt to change the rules of American politics to benefit one party,” and dubbed it the “Democrat Politician Protection Act.”
Mrs. Pelosi’s bill didn’t become law, despite her attempts this year to jam some of its provisions into coronavirus bills. But it turns out she didn’t really need it. Using the virus as an excuse, Democratic and liberal groups brought scores of lawsuits to force states to adopt its provisions. Many Democratic politicians and courts happily agreed. States mailed out ballots to everyone. Judges disregarded statutory deadlines for receipt of votes. They scrapped absentee-ballot witness requirements. States set up curbside voting and drop-off boxes. They signed off on ballot harvesting.
Meaning, “the fix” (as it were) was in well before anyone started counting votes. Pollsters aside, political operatives understood this election would be close—potentially closer in key states than it was in 2016. The Democratic strategy from the start, as evidenced by that legal onslaught, was to get rules in place that would allow them to flood the zone with additional mail-in ballots.
Related exit question: “Trump is still very much in ‘Hail Mary’ territory regarding pulling this out, but it’s no longer about this election. It’s about the next one. If Democrats can get away with these shenanigans this year, do you think they’ll stop?”