Yesterday, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., grilled a panelist at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on a Democratic bill that would restore voting rights to felons, showing how conservatives can expose the Left.
Gaetz brought up multiple specific cases of convicted felons, including two men who were convicted of felony voter intimidation. He asked one of the panelists, Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, if the Democratic bill, H.R. 1, would let these people vote again.
Gupta began talking about how “disenfranchisement laws” were “a product of Jim Crow,” but Gaetz interrupted her talking points and brought the argument back to reality. Who, in 2019, gets to vote?
“I’m talking about the people who go out of their way to intimidate voters, and what you’re saying is that we ought to let those people back into the system,” Gaetz said.
He then asked if the bill makes a distinction between violent and non-violent felons. Gupta admitted that all classes of felon would receive their voting rights back, regardless of the type of crime they committed.
Gaetz had specific examples of ballot propositions that felons would be allowed to vote on. He brought up the case of a man who committed sex acts with a 12-year-old at knifepoint and asked if he should be allowed to move to Missouri and vote on a recent ballot initiative that dealt with whether an individual’s past criminal conduct in violent sexual acts would be considered in sentencing. Gupta had no answer to that other than to state that H.R. 1 “upholds voting as a national symbol of equality and full citizenship.”
“I think that, like, there are some things you can do that are so bad — the degradation of people’s right to vote, intimidating people from voting, raping children — that probably surrenders your right to participate in those decisions in the future,” Gaetz said.
Influential conservatives have come out in opposition to H.R. 1, calling the bill an “attempt by House Democrats to fundamentally undermine the American electoral system.” More than 150 conservative leaders signed a memo from the Conservative Action Project explaining the problems with the bill. The memo explains how this bill:
• Forces states to implement mandatory voter registration, removing civic participation as a voluntary choice and increasing chances for error.
• Mandates that states allow all felons to vote.
• Forces states to extend periods of early voting, which has been shown to have no effect on turnout.
• Mandates same-day voter registration, which encourages voter fraud.
• Limits the ability of states to cooperate to see who is registered in multiple states at the same time.
• Prohibits election observers from cooperating with election officials to file formal challenges to suspicious voter registrations.
• Criminalizes protected political speech by making it a crime to “discourage” someone from voting
• Bars states from making their own laws about voting by mail.
• Prohibits chief election officials in each state from participating in federal election campaigns.
• Mandates free mailing of absentee ballots.
• Mandates that states adopt new redistricting commissions.
Gaetz’s thorough preparation, specific examples, and relentless questioning exposed how the Left is perfectly fine passing sweeping legislation that would let child rapists and election fraudsters vote on decisions that would impact them. Does anyone honestly think most Americans support that?
Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.
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