Jessica Lilly Published

Warner Testifies Before Congress, Opposes Election Reform Legislation

Law professor Richard Hasen warns that the 2020 presidential election could be compromised by voter suppression, inept election officials, and foreign and domestic manipulation through social media and fraud.

Congress is debating a bill that would change federal elections across the country. Democrats say they’re concerned that a patchwork of state election procedures are not providing equal opportunity to voters. Traditionally, states have determined the best way to conduct their own elections.

West Virginians represented the minority group in a public hearing Wednesday as Secretary of State Mac Warner testified before the U.S. Senate Rules Committee in Washington, D.C., opposing the For the People Act of 2021.

The Act requires that voter registration be available online and voters would only need to supply the last four digits of a Social Security number to cast a ballot. It also requires all states use paper ballots.

Warner, who is a Republican, told Congress he worries removing current forms of electronic voting would disenfranchise military personnel and those with disabilities. He also says the bill would create logistical and budgetary issues for rural states like West Virginia.

“It mandates ‘same-day’ registration,” which requires networked electronic poll books, but wholly ignores the severe lack of internet service and broadband in rural areas — an impossible feat in West Virginia,” Warner said.

Republican Sen. Shelly Moore Capito also opposed the bill. Proponents of the bill testified in favor, claiming that some states have seen successes in implementing election reform already.