WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — While the House is poised to pass H.R. 1 Wednesday night, Republicans introduced their own election reform measure.
They argue instead of federalizing elections, their bill would help states manage a safe and secure process.
“About a third of the country believes that something was wrong in the previous election,” said Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-AR, the lead sponsor of the VOTER ID Act.
Westerman said his bill would safeguard the next presidential results by requiring states to conduct audits of their elections and post them online for voters to see.
“To give people assurance that elections were carried out with integrity and provide transparency in that,” he said.
The U.S. attorney general would oversee the mandates and ultimately decide whether states receive additional funding to run their elections.
The legislation would also allow states to purge outdated voter information and implement voter ID requirements.
“We’re not dictating the manner or the mechanisms,” Westerman said. “We’re leaving that to the states.”
Republicans say those measures are intended to protect the electoral process, but Democrats argue they are really trying to make it more difficult to cast a ballot.
“The right to vote is under attack,” said Rep. Terri Sewell, D-AL. “We know that our democracy works best when everyone can participate fully.”
Sewell said through H.R. 1, Democrats are expanding voting rights, limiting dark money and curbing the partisan process of drawing electoral districts.
“So that they are geographic, understandable and done without the intent of electing a particular party to that position,” said Rep. Steve Cohen, D-TN.
While Cohen continues to support H.R. 1, not a single House Republican voted for it in the last Congress, and the Senate never took it up.
“It takes everything that went wrong in the last presidential election and makes it the law,” said Sen. John Kennedy, R-LA.
Kennedy said Republicans will fight to make sure H.R. 1 stalls again.