Democrats in the House of Representatives passed their signature voting rights and anti-corruption bill, HR-1, on Wednesday night for the second time since its 2019 introduction.
No Republicans crossed party lines to support the bill, which is largely seen by the right as an assault on election security.
With conservatives’ hardline opposition comes a host of allegations about what the legislation would accomplish. From complaints of ballot harvesting to use of taxpayer dollars for federal campaigns, Republican gripes with HR-1 likely will make Vice President Kamala Harris‘ vote the tiebreaker after the Senate votes on the bill.
HR-1’s voter identification changes have become among the primary sources of exasperation for Republicans.
After the bill cleared the House, Representative Steven Scalise (R-La.) hopped on Twitter to share his outrage with the vote for its alleged “ban” on voter identification laws.
“Every single American should be OUTRAGED by this: Democrats just voted to ban voter ID nationwide and force every state to permanently expand mail-in voting,” he wrote.
The claim was echoed by lawmakers on the right and even former Vice President Mike Pence, who said in an op-ed published Thursday in The Daily Signal that “voter ID would be banned from coast to coast.”
More than 30 U.S. states have some kind of voter identification requirement, a measure that voting rights advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union have denounced as a barrier between many Americans and the ballot box.
HR-1 addresses the impact that voter ID requirements have on marginalized voters, noting that, “Recent elections and studies have shown that minority communities wait longer in lines to vote, are more likely to have their mail ballots rejected, continue to face intimidation at the polls, are more likely to be disenfranchised by voter purges, and are disproportionately burdened by voter identification and other voter restrictions.”
The bill also stipulates that factors, including voter ID, burden certain voters due to the costs associated with obtaining photo identification or other forms of government-issued ID. This primarily affects voter turnout among homeless individuals, Native Americans, in low-income communities and in communities of color by as much as 3 percent, according to a 2014 study by the Office of Government Accountability.
But HR-1 does not “ban” voter identification laws. Instead, it offers a workaround to state voter IDs for individuals who do not have the means to obtain identification. Voters may alternatively present a sworn, written statement to an election official under penalty of perjury that states the voter is eligible to vote.
There is no language in HR-1 that “bans” voter identification laws. It allows individuals in states with identification requirements who do not have ID to vote by providing in writing that they are eligible.