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The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States protects from the Congress our God-given right to engage in political activity. The text specifically says, “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Yet, despite the Constitutional prohibition against Congress making a law that abridges the freedom of speech, the U.S. Code contains almost 400,000 words devoted to regulation of just one aspect of our speech – explicitly political speech, that is, speech intended to influence the outcome of elections. Beyond that, there are further regulations on speech designed to influence the outcome of public policy debates regarding legislation at the federal, state, and local levels, and ballot initiatives and voter referenda.

For some, that’s not enough. For some, the notion of making an argument, marshaling facts to support a proposition, trying to influence your fellow citizens through the power of ideas, is too much to ask. Rather than work hard to persuade, they’d prefer to simply shut down speech they find offensive.

Enter H.R. 1, the improperly named “For the People Act of 2021,” which would vastly restrict our rights in this arena. The bill is an 800-page monstrosity, a collection of more than a dozen pieces of individual legislation, each of which would, on its own, make life more difficult for citizens trying to use their First Amendment rights to affect public policy or influence the outcome of elections. Rolled as they are into omnibus bill, one could be forgiven for wondering if the real purpose of the legislation isn’t to achieve and then ensure continued political dominance of our public policy sphere by liberal political actors.

H.R. 1 would overturn more than two centuries’ worth of American public policy and political tradition and experience by centralizing election administration at the federal level. Rather than allow the states to administer their elections with procedures that take into account each state’s unique political topography, the new legislation would mandate administration from the federal government, with a one-size-fits-all approach. Imagine ObamaCare for elections and public policy arguments, and you’ve got the idea.

This week, we must continue to pressure the Senate to reject S. 1, the bill that, should it become law, will codify and cement into place the corruption that we saw during the 2020 election. It must be defeated.

WANT TO HELP GEORGIANS?

The Georgia legislature recently passed election integrity bills, and the left is hopping mad. Nobody is surprised to see them using lies to intimidate and bully companies that are headquartered in Georgia into getting involved in this fight. They’re saying precautions like making sure signatures match between a ballot and the voter file are racist and violates the right to vote. This is insane. It hurts everyone if elections can be easily corrupted or stolen. Every legitimate vote, from every legitimate voter, no matter his or her race, is diluted and negated by fraudulent votes.

We need to counteract their bullying by contacting these same companies and telling them to refuse to get involved – to stay on the sidelines, where they belong, and to let the duly elected representatives of the people of Georgia do what the people elected them to do. They need to hear from us or they will believe that the only side out there is the left’s side. The information below is what the left is sending out to their activists.

Just SOME of the List of Horribles in H.R. 1 / S. 1

  • Creates welfare for politicians, AND forces taxpayers to fund candidates and ideas they oppose: Under H.R. 1, government money would flow to candidates for federal office on a six-to-one ratio for contributions up to $200. That is, for every $200 contribution raised, the candidate would be entitled to a check for $1,200 paid for by government funds. That means many taxpayers would be required to fund candidates who support policies they oppose. Thomas Jefferson said that, “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” He was right.

  • It’s an incumbent protection scheme: Under H.R. 1, some candidates would be lured into engaging a Trojan horse. The legislation offers candidates for federal office a six-to-one match on contributions up to $200, so a $200 contribution magically becomes a $1,400 contribution. That must look very attractive to the kind of candidates who believe they’ll have a hard time raising money. What they may not realize, though, is that in order to receive the matching funds, the candidate also must agree to limit his fundraising threshold to $1,000 per individual, rather than the current individual contribution limit of $5,600 per cycle. So some candidates will find it much easier to raise money, but, because they’ve agreed to limit their ability to raise money, they won’t be able to raise enough to win.

  • Destroys state-level voter verification efforts: Under H.R. 1, individuals would no longer be required to provide a government-issued photographic voter identification card to prove who they are before they register to vote, and voters arriving at a polling place would no longer be required to show ID. Instead, they could simply sign a piece of paper saying they are who they say they are. This provision would gut state-level efforts to enhance election integrity.

  • Further opens the door to vote fraud by mandating same-day registration: Under H.R. 1, states would be required to implement same-day registration, up to and including Election Day registration. Without any time to verify voter information, election officials would be hard pressed to prevent voter fraud.

  • Massively expands voter rolls, by registering voters automatically, including non-citizens: Under H.R. 1, states would be mandated to automatically register to vote every person, regardless of citizenship status, who enrolls in certain government programs. Visiting the Department of Motor Vehicles or signing up to receive welfare benefits could lead to automatic registration. Because certain government programs are not limited to citizens, this could lead to ineligible persons, such as illegal immigrants, automatically being added to voter rolls.

  • Prohibits states from rejecting any voter application: Under H.R. 1, it would become a criminal act to refuse to accept a voter registration application, even if that the application does not meet the necessary requirements.

  • Prohibits challenges to voter eligibility: Under H.R. 1, it would also become a criminal act to challenge any registrant’s eligibility to register or to vote.

  • Federalizes and greatly expands the use of absentee mail-in ballots: Under H.R. 1, all states would be required to allow registered voters to cast an absentee ballot by mail without providing a reason for doing so, and all states would be required to accept as valid, and count, mailed-in ballots that are postmarked before or on Election Day, so long as they are received up to ten days after the election.

  • Provides for 16- and 17-year-olds to vote: Under H.R. 1, 16- and 17-year-olds would be allowed to register, even though they are not legally allowed to vote until they reach the age of 18. Under the new law, though, because the new law makes it a crime to challenge any registrant’s ability to register or to vote, those 16- and 17-year-olds will be able to vote, because we won’t any loger be requiring proof of identification on Election Day – and, even if a 16- or 17-year-old were challenged, all he would have to do is sign a statement declaring that he is eligible to vote.

  • Turns the Federal Election Commission from a bipartisan election watchdog into a partisan attack machine: Under current law, the Federal Election Commission is a bipartisan election law enforcement authority, composed of three Republicans and three Democrats, and a requirement of four votes to engage in any enforcement action. As a consequence, only enforcement actions that earn bipartisan support can be undertaken. Under H.R. 1, the FEC would be composed of two Republicans and two Democrats, with a fifth member – the chairman – to be selected by the President. This would turn the FEC into a partisan attack dog, controlled by the party that controls the White House.

  • Removes accountability during redistricting: Currently, most states empower their legislatures to redraw district lines for federal and state legislative seats after every decennial census. Because those state lawmakers are elected by their constituents, they can be held accountable at the ballot box. Under H.R. 1, the power to redraw district lines would be turned over to unelected, unaccountable “redistricting commissions.”

OPTIONS FOR ENGAGEMENT

  • Write 1 Facebook post to share with your friends about the need to prevent the passage and enactment of H.R. 1/S. 1.
    (Total time: 10 minutes)

  • Tweet about supporting the First Amendment.
    (Total time: 10 minutes)

  • Write a letter to the editor.
    (Total time: 1 hour – or use our template & it will take even less time!)

  • Write an email or letter to your Senators and Representative about opposing H.R. 1/S. 1 and instead supporting the First Amendment’s protections for free speech.
    (Total time: 30 minutes)

  • Write an email or letter to your network encouraging them to also make calls to their Senators and Representative about opposing H.R. 1/S. 1 and instead supporting the First Amendment’s protections for free speech.
    (Total time: 10 minutes)

  • Call your Senators and Representative to tell them you want them to oppose H.R. 1/S. 1 and instead support the First Amendment’s protections for free speech.
    (Total time: 10 minutes)

  • Organize a sign-waving event, either as a one-time event or a recurring event until H.R. 1/S. 1 is defeated.
    (Organizing time: 30 minutes. Total event time: 2 hours)

  • Plan a visit to your Senators’ and/or Representative’s office either alone or with a group of people, and bring a copy of your printed letter.
    (Organizing time: 30 minutes. Total event time: 2 hours)

MORE RESOURCES AVAILABLE

This simple “how-to” guide is designed for individual activists and groups alike. We have included sample social media, a sample letter to the editor (as well as guidance for how to write a letter to the editor), and a sample letter to Congress, among other resources.