Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

H.R. 1: How Democracies Die

March 6, 2019

House floor remarks on H.R. 1:

H.R. 1: How Democracies Die
March 6, 2019

Mr. Speaker:

Consent of the governed is the cornerstone of our democracy.  In America, the people are the sovereign and they govern through the votes they cast.  At the very core of this process is fair and free elections.  EVERY citizen should be free to express themselves freely and to vote, and NO citizen should be muzzled or have their legitimate vote cancelled out by a fraudulent one.

By definition, ONE side is always disappointed with the outcome, which is why it’s essential that BOTH sides are confident they were treated fairly.  

Democracies die when one party seizes control of the elections process, eliminates the safeguards that have protected the integrity of the ballot, places restrictions on free speech, and seizes the earnings of individual citizens to promote candidates they may abhor.

That is precisely the bill before us today.  It destroys the bi-partisan composition of the Federal Elections Commission and places a partisan majority in control of every aspect of our federal elections.  It imposes limits on free speech that has earned the opposition of the American Civil Liberties Union.  It matches a contribution of $200 GIVEN TO a candidate with $1,200 TAKEN FROM others who may oppose that candidate.  

Worst of all, it undermines the integrity of the ballot and opens the floodgates to fraud.  The purpose of registration periods is to allow parties to canvass the rolls and challenge improper registrations, while assuring candidates know exactly who’s voting.  The reason we require election-day voting at a polling place is to assure voters cast their ballots in secret, AFTER they had heard the entire debate and AFTER verifying their identity to their neighbors.  This bill sweeps away these few remaining vestiges of ballot integrity. 

Democracies die by suicide, and we are now face to face with such an instrument.