Elections Clause: Constitutional Interpretation and Congressional Exercise, Hearing Before the Committee on House Administration, House of Representatives, One Hundred Seventeenth Congress, First Session, July 12, 2021   [open pdf - 41MB]

This is the July 12, 2021 hearing on "Elections Clause: Constitutional Interpretation and Congressional Exercise," held before the U.S. House Committee on House Administration. From the Opening Statement of Zoe Lofgren: "In the last Congress, my colleague, Ranking Member Davis, introduced legislation to deny Federal election grants to States that permit third-party individuals or groups to return voters' completed ballots to election officials. In doing so, he cited, as the sole constitutional authority to his legislation, the Elections Clause of the Constitution. But this authority can be used to empower States and citizens to make voting easier, safer, and more secure while ensuring that suppressive tactics and plans may not be used to limit or deny access to the ballot box. For example, Congress has endeavored to enact new democracy reforms, including H.R. 1, the For the People Act, under its Elections Clause powers, as well as other constitutional provisions. H.R. 1 would help remedy ongoing voter suppression efforts across States, just as the Framers intended. Far from the Federal takeover of elections, as claimed by some critics, H.R. 1 typifies an appropriate exercise of congressional authority. This hearing provides a rare opportunity to explore the contours of the Elections Clause and the sweeping constitutional powers it provides Congress to enact transformational democracy legislation, like H.R. 1." Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Jack Rakove, Michael G. Adams, Daniel P. Tokaji, and Franita Tolson.

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