April 20, 2021

S.1: Unnecessary and Unpopular


  • Democrats have said that S.1 is necessary to increase voting rights, particularly for minorities, but overall turnout in the 2020 election was 66%, the highest share of eligible voters since 1900, and most states had their highest turnout in 40 years.
  • Minority voters were especially likely to say the election was run and administered well: 88% of Black voters, 76% of Asians, and 68% of Latinos.
  • Polls have found strong opposition to key provisions of S.1, with 77% supporting the voter ID laws that S.1 would render meaningless.

Democrats have talked a lot about their 818-page “election reform” bill, S.1, but their statements are noticeably devoid of actual data on how people vote and what they think about election administration. The 2020 election cycle saw a turnout of 66% of eligible voters, the highest since 1900 despite the COVID-19 pandemic. This trend held steady across the country, with most states recording their highest turnout in 40 years. The 2018 midterm elections had also set turnout records.

2020 Election Turnout Broke a 120-Year-Old Record

2020 Election Turnout Broke a 120-Year-Old Record

While turnout demographics are difficult to measure, polling indicates minority voters were more likely to say the election was well administered. A January Pew Research survey found 88% of Black, 76% of Asian, and 68% of Latino voters said the election was “very well” or “somewhat well” administered.

Key Parts of S.1 Are Unpopular with the Public

Voter views on specific provisions in S.1 consistently contradict the Democrats’ narrative. For example, S.1 would render state ID laws meaningless by requiring states to allow affidavits in lieu of identification. In a recent poll, 56% of Americans supported voter ID laws and only 36% opposed them. Another poll pegged support for voter ID laws at 77%, and 66% agreed that ID requirements should extend to absentee ballots. Still another put national support at 75%, including 69% of Black voters and 60% of Democrats.

S.1 would also mandate that states allow paid ballot harvesting. A strong majority of 62% of respondents in one poll thought ballot harvesting should be illegal.

S.1 would restrict states’ ability to remove inaccurate and duplicate registrations from voter rolls − a 2018 poll found 77% of Americans supported this kind of voter roll maintenance.

Despite Democratic rhetoric, the public is not at all sold on the idea that voter suppression is a major problem in America. A recent poll found 53% of Americans thought “people who are eligible not being allowed to vote” was either a minor problem or not a problem at all, compared to 46% who thought it was a major problem.

Americans’ Views on Election Law

Americans’ Views on Election Law

Democrats point to their own polls that they claim show the bill is popular when taken as a whole. This kind of polling on S.1 as an overall package is mostly useless. The bill is so massive and covers so many different topics that it is hard to summarize when conducting a poll. For example, Data for Progress, a left-wing firm, asked respondents:

The For the People Act has been introduced in Congress. Supporters of the bill say it would limit the influence of big money in politics by empowering small donors; make voting easier and more secure; end gerrymandering; and give the public more information about who is lobbying our government. Opponents say it would be an overreach by the federal government and that states should control their own elections. Do you support or oppose the For the People Act?

Unsurprisingly, given that misleading description, 67% of respondents said they support the bill. The data from that poll is meaningless, but credulous media outlets reported it as if it meant something.

Issue Tag: Judiciary