When it comes to a bill that would revamp electoral systems and campaign funding, HR 1, U.S. Rep. John Joyce, representing the 13th Congressional District, said he voted against the bill, including provisions in it that would amend the voting age to 16 years old.

Joyce said the biggest reason he voted against the bill, as well as some of the amendments in it, is because he believes this is an attempt to federalize the election process.

The bill would authorize spending $750 million over five years on state programs to make voter registration easier.

“This is clearly a power reserved for the states under the Constitution, and I opposed the additional mandates under this bill feeling that federalism dictates that states should make these decisions,” he said. “When organizations with ideologies and agendas as different as the National Right to Life and the American Civil Liberties Union both oppose a piece of legislation, that is a clear indication that it has significant flaws.”

One of the amendments in the bill would have allowed the IRS to require disclosure of donors and set limits on political activity by nonprofit organizations, including 501©(4) “social-welfare” groups, that participate in election campaigns.

“The people of the 13th District sent me to Washington to provide them with more control over their hard-earned dollars and to protect their freedom of speech, but this bill would force them to donate to political candidates and causes they may not agree with and limits their ability to voice their opinions in the public arena unimpeded,” Joyce added. “Democrats try claim HR 1 is ‘for the people,’ but in reality, this bill favors no one other than politicians and the Washington status quo. In fact, we sent out a poll to my constituents on this issue and 84 percent of 1,600 people who participated in it agreed with my position. The legislation also had provisions that could allow illegal immigrants to vote in some circumstances.”

Another amendment of the bill is lower the voting age to 16 years old, or at the very least, make it easier for 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote, something Joyce voted against.

“My vote against an amendment allowing 16 and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote ahead of their 18th birthday was because such a measure would increase the costs of the state voter systems as voter rolls would include those who are eligible and ineligible to vote,” he said. “I voted against lowering the voting age to 16 because I believe there is a certain level of experience that should be required to vote and I see no reason to change the current age.”

Kylie can be reached at khawn@huntingdondailynews.com.


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