WASHINGTON, D.C. — West Virginia’s Secretary of State Mac Warner was blunt in his criticism of federal legislation to make voting reforms in the country. Warner offered testimony in Washington on Wednesday to members of the U.S. Senate Rules Committee during a debate on S. 1. the “For the People Act.”
Right out of the gate, Warner offered the name itself was ironic.
“This is anything but for the people. In fact, it is against the people, against the states, and against the United States,” Warner testified.
He shared his experience as a member of the military and that of his own children who experienced difficulty voting while deployed overseas. West Virginia was the first to use electronic voting to allow deployed service members to vote from wherever they were stationed in an effective and timely manner. He added after a successful test with the military, the technology was expanded to disabled voters.
“Thirty-one states allow electronic transmission and S-1 strips this opportunity for everyone to vote electronically,” Warner said.
He panned other provisions within the proposed legislation. According to Warner’s testimony, S-1 would ban I-D laws and shield non-citizens from prosecution.
“It eliminates signature verification, pushes mail-in voting without photo I-D. It promotes vote harvesting and requires drop boxes. It delays election results by accepting ballots for up to 10 days. That delay, and all of these collectively decrease individual confidence and increases distrust in our election,” Warner said.
He was particularly bothered by mandates for same-day voting registration which would require poll-books connected to the internet by high speed broadband.
“We do not have high speed broadband in all of the precincts of West Virginia,” he told Senators.
According to Warner the measures required by the S-1 act would be extremely expensive for West Virginia and would require a decertification of every voting machine in every state–which were purchased and programmed using money Congress provided in the past through the Help America Vote Act. He said it would also wreck years of election data and fine tuning specific to each individual state.
“States have individual approaches based on history, geography, and cultures which create vastly complex and different election processes. This broad mosaic provides election security, versus a one-size-fits-all approach,” Warner said.
He concluded with strong words warning against taking the process of election execution out of the hands of individual states as it was intended by the founding fathers.
“S1 is not for the people, especially not for the people of West Virginia. Federalizing elections has never been done before and for good reason. Senators, please leave election administration up to the states.” he concluded.
Warner was among five witnesses who testified before the committee, which included former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito also offered questions to the panel and raised a serious red flag about the bill’s plan to politicize the Federal Elections Commission, turning it from non-partisan to controlled by the majority party.
“I cannot believe that three out of the five witnesses thinks that it’s a good idea to take a nonpartisan FEC and politicize it and make decisions about elections when you can use your majority vote to ram anything through. That to me is a major red flag in this legislation.”