The Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday began discussing a bill that would make it a federal crime to knowingly mislead voters as to the time and place of a public election — an effort Democrats say will help crack down on voter intimidation and disenfranchisement due to dirty political tricks.
Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who introduced the Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act in December, said the bill would help to prevent deliberately misleading mailers and phone calls in the run-up to an election, which Schumer called part of “a larger strategy to keep certain voters away from the polls.”
If it becomes law, individuals found to have deliberately misled voters would face a prison term of up to five years. State attorneys general would also be empowered to quickly respond with accurate information in cases where populations have been targeted with misleading claims. It would also amend the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to prohibit paying people to stay home on election day.
Speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) set up Republican opposition by claiming the bill would infringe upon free speech rights. He added that it could create a system where allegations of dirty tricks days before an election force campaigns to spend money on lawyers instead of voter outreach.
Of course the Republicans are already screaming “free speech”, because, you know, it’s their god given right to mislead people to keep them from voting.
It amazes me, between this and voter ID laws there seems to be this propensity towards winning elections using underhanded tactics.
What did that headline I posted earlier say?