Column by U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell
The Democrats' political agenda is on the rocks in Washington, so they've set their sights on a new prize: the complete, partisan takeover of all fifty states' election laws. They are justifying this naked power grab by stoking fear and spreading falsehoods. Kentuckians should see through these shameless liberal lies.
Washington Democrats have desperately wanted to take over our elections for years, even though their justification seems to change every election cycle. After losing the White House in 2016, they said the takeover was necessary because our democracy was fundamentally broken. Now that they've won the White House, their story has flipped: our democracy is in perfect shape, except when Republican-controlled states dare to pass mainstream voting laws.
Across the Left, partisan operatives are breathlessly repeating newly-minted talking points to justify this political pivot. They claim that whenever a state adjusts early voting procedures or implements voter ID requirements, it somehow amounts to "Jim Crow 2.0." These claims insult the intelligence of Kentucky voters and are nothing more than a Big Lie meant to undermine faith in our democratic process.
Our democracy is not, in fact, in crisis. The 2020 elections saw the highest turnout in more than 100 years. 94% of voters in that election said the voting process was easy. In many of the Republican-led states where Democrats claim "Jim Crow 2.0" is out in force – like Mississippi, Tennessee, and Missouri – Black voter turnout routinely outpaces white voter turnout. These are signs of a healthy democracy, not one on its deathbed.
Washington Democrats are using their Big Lie to justify all sorts of insane proposals. In the Senate, they promise to abolish the legislative filibuster, claiming that destroying our institution is the only way to "restore" it. Kentucky – a smaller state with two Republican senators – needs the filibuster to have a voice in the Senate. Without it, Washington Democrats could pack the Supreme Court, give amnesty to illegal immigrants, and grant statehood to Washington, D.C., without any input from Kentucky's Senators at all.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) once said nuking filibuster rules would be "doomsday for democracy." Less than a year ago, President Biden said tearing up these long-established Senate procedures would "throw the entire Congress into chaos." Now that Democrats stand to benefit from abolishing the filibuster, though, they're happy to ignore their prior warnings.
These liberals knowingly cloak their election takeover plot in lofty rhetoric to avoid explaining what their bills actually do. But peer behind the curtain and their sweeping goal becomes obvious: they hope to give themselves an advantage in elections across the country.
Washington Democrats want to force all fifty states to legalize corrupt ballot harvesting, giving political organizers the ability to handle ballots – a responsibility generally reserved for nonpartisan election overseers. They want to require taxpayers to subsidize the political campaigns of individuals with whom they vehemently disagree. They would hand Attorney General Merrick Garland unprecedented powers to micromanage every state's election laws, giving the Department of Justice veto power over state legislators. Some of the Democrats' proposals – like same-day voter registration and no-excuse absentee voting – are so unpopular, they were even rejected in liberal New York three months ago.
In Kentucky, they would tear up the widely-praised election laws our state legislature passed last year with overwhelming, bipartisan majorities. Our Democrat Governor called these new rules "a model for the nation," but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) want to overrule the Commonwealth on every aspect of them. From ID requirements to ballot counting protocol, liberals think Somerset should work like San Francisco and Covington like Chicago. But as our Secretary of State said so well, "Kentucky knows best what's best for Kentucky."
These proposals have nothing to do with the 2020 election, the 2016 election, or any other farce Washington Democrats have invented to justify their takeover. This is not about bolstering faith in our democracy or restoring our institutions - it's just the opposite. These bills are a bald-faced attempt by liberals to rig our electoral systems in their own favor.
I've proudly stood in opposition to the Democrats' election takeover bills and encourage all Kentuckians to do the same. Don't believe their Big Lie about "Jim Crow 2.0" or any other nonsense. We must do all we can to keep the Commonwealth's elections free from liberal interference.
Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, is the Senate Republican Leader.