2021 News Releases

AG Derek Schmidt: Passage of H.R. 4 would illegally federalize U.S. election system

Release Date: Sep 15, 2021

TOPEKA – (September 15, 2021) – Partisan election-reform legislation pending in Congress would illegally restrict state authority to regulate elections and must not pass, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt has told congressional leaders.

Schmidt yesterday joined 22 other state attorneys general in a letter to congressional leaders opposing the measure, H.R. 4, which has already passed the House on a party-line vote and is pending in the Senate. The legislation would require all states to obtain “preclearance” from the federal government before enacting election reforms such as voter identification requirements and voter list maintenance laws.

“This legislation is a misguided, clumsy, and heavy-handed effort to circumvent Supreme Court decisions, state sovereignty, and the will of the people,” the attorneys general wrote.

The legislation would essentially establish the U.S. Department of Justice as a national election czar, dictating to states exactly how they must administer their elections.

“States that create laws based on what works best for their jurisdiction to respond to a crisis of confidence in our elections systems will inevitably be targeted by the Department of Justice leading to more confusion, litigation, and concerns over the validity of elections going forward,” the attorneys general added.

The attorneys general argue the proposed legislation ignores states’ legitimate interest in ensuring election integrity and voter confidence, safeguarding the right to vote and ensuring that every legal vote is counted without being diluted by illegal votes.

In March, Schmidt previously opposed related legislation, H.R. 1, which also sought to remove control of elections from states and transfer it to the federal government.

A copy of yesterday's letter can be found at https://bit.ly/2Z0Sbm5.

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News releases issued prior to 2011 are available through an archive hosted by the Kansas State Library.