Cline’s lie-filled speech

Before joining every other House Republican to vote against the For the People Act (HR1), to protect and expand voting rights for all Americans, Congressman Cline spoke on the House floor in opposition to the bill for one minute and twenty seconds.

In that brief time, Cline managed to lie about three things and misrepresent something else while calling into question the basis of the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Cline’s Lie: HR1 forces “taxpayers to pay politicians to campaign for office.”

Fact: “H.R.1 does not spend any taxpayer funds on public financing. Rather, it imposes a 2.75 percent surcharge on certain criminal fines and civil and administrative penalties collected by the federal government, primarily from corporate defendants and their executive officers.” While Cline opposes any form of public financing of political campaigns, he raises no objections to corporate financing of campaigns, and is in fact pleased to accept corporate money for his own campaigns. He supports the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, allowing unlimited private money in election campaigns.

Cline’s Lie: HR1 mandates “that states send ballots in the mail proactively.”

Fact: “The Democrats’ bill does not require states to send out ballots that voters have not explicitly solicited. Rather, the bill requires states to give all voters the option of requesting a mail-in ballot without an excuse.”

Cline’s Lie: HR1 abolishes “the signature requirement for mail-in ballots.”

Fact: HR1 would “prohibit states from requiring voters casting a ballot by mail to provide identification aside from a signature, and require signature discrepancy issues to be resolved by at least two trained election officials; require states to make a good faith effort to notify voters of apparent signature discrepancies and provide an opportunity to cure any issues within ten days.”

Cline’s Misrepresentation: HR1 mandates “that states accept mail-in ballot up to 10 days after election day.”

Fact: The bill only refers to ballots mailed on or before election day. Ballots mailed after election day will not be accepted.

(My impression is that Cline simply grabs onto Republican talking points without bothering to fact-check them.)

Cline began his remarks by calling HR1 a “top-down federal power grab” that would block states from setting their own election rules. But that was the same reason white Southerners in Congress gave for opposing the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which eliminated literacy tests and enabled millions of African-Americans to vote for the first time. Last July Cline paid a handsome tribute to his late colleague John Lewis, who marched and bled and went to jail to achieve that law– which also empowered the federal government to override state election procedures.

Does the congressman understand the irony?

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