episode 154: “Restoring Our Election Integrity” with Ken Blackwell and Ken Klukowski
Election Integrity: Why we don’t have it, how we lost it and what to do about it. In the election of 2020 we saw a dramatic loosening of the chain of custody of ballots. We saw an indiscriminate use of mass mail-in ballots. We saw a verification process junked and pushed aside. And as a consequence, we saw major irregularities in that election. The result: a waning confidence among voters in the integrity of our election system. The issue is critical. If we don’t get our elections right, we lose our American Republic. We lose our liberty. Joining me on this episode are two of our leading players in the fight to restore election integrity – and co-authors of a seminal piece in the Yale Law Review “The Other Voting Right”. Ken Blackwell, in his role with The Center for Election Integrity of the America First Policy Institute. And Ken Klukowski, who was senior counselor in the US Department of Justice and the Trump White House. Right now, the Democrats in Congress are trying to push through a power grab to federalize election law and make perpetual the abuses we saw in 2020. The John Lewis Voting Rights Act (HR4) would essentially eliminate state’s rights and the decentralization of power that the framers established by granting states the authority to set the time, manner, and place of elections. This Bill must not become law. Also, in this episode we explore what the gold standard should be to insure election integrity. In 2020, ballot harvesting was a big source of abuse and we talk about how Republicans in Virginia – where ballot harvesting is legal – could turn the tables on Democrats in this November’s election. Listen in and learn from two of our top experts about how to restore the integrity of our elections.
episode 154 transcript
Episode 154: with Ken Blackwell and Ken Klukowski
Speaker 1 (00:04):
Welcome to the Bill Walton Show, featuring conversations with leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, and thinkers, fresh perspectives on money, culture, politics, and human flourishing. Interesting people, interesting things.
Bill Walton (00:24):
Welcome to the Bill Walton Show. I’m Bill Walton. Election integrity, we need it. We don’t, most of us, feel like we’ve had a lot of it in the last election or in some of the elections before that. We’ve got some critical ones coming up ahead of us, obviously 2022. And in here in Virginia, we’ve got 2021 with the governor’s election and we’re all going to be watching that very closely. So I wanted to dig in today to understand what the issues are and what we can be doing about it. And with me are two of my great friends, Ken Blackwell, Ken Klukowski. Both of them are deep subject matter experts in this topic. I’m joking, their resumes go on for a couple of pages, so I can’t get it all. But Ken was senior counselor in the US Department of Justice. He also worked in the White House and works on litigation with a lot of election related matters. Ken Blackwell, The Center for Election Integrity with the America First Policy Institute. Ken was also mayor of Cincinnati, Secretary of State for Ohio and his list of government and policy related organization involvement, goes on and on. So Ken and Ken, the Ken’s, welcome.
Ken Blackwell (01:42):
Thank you, Bill.
Bill Walton (01:43):
Ken Blackwell. Why don’t you set the stage, where have we been? Where are we and what do we need to be thinking about now?
Ken Blackwell (01:50):
Well, just quickly, Aristotle sort of framed this challenge for us early on when he said that there was a dynamic relationship between the organized power of the state and individual liberty. The framers of our constitution, the founders of our country put a harness on that reach of government to actually optimize individual liberty. And our governance system, the way that we have citizens holding the government accountable is through the ballot box. And so the integrity of our election system is paramount to the confidence that people have in the system.
Ken Blackwell (02:34):
2020 was an extraordinary year in the American experience. If you go back a hundred years in 1918, we had the Spanish flu pandemic, and 1929, we had the major economic disruption. In 1968, we had riots and violence and disruption across in American cities. In 1974, we had the impeachment. Well in 2020, we had all of those and there was a old saying on the left, and it’s still current, never let a crisis go to waste. Well, they didn’t let the 2020 election go to waste. And so what we saw was a loosening of the chain of custody of ballots. We saw a verification process junked and pushed aside. And as a consequence, we saw major irregularities in that election. And there is a waning confidence that voters have in the integrity of our system. So what we’ve been working on in the intervening months is, things that will tighten the chain of custody, and two, reestablish verification systems. And the most noted in that case is the photo ID and that is a point of contention. But in fact, we can tighten the chain of custody, re-establish verification systems, we believe that you can put voter confidence back on a plane. That’s essential.
Bill Walton (04:17):
So if we don’t get our elections right, we lose a Republic?
Ken Blackwell (04:21):
Bill Walton (04:22):
I mean, that’s what’s at stake.
Ken Blackwell (04:23):
We lose our liberty.
Bill Walton (04:24):
Ken Klukowski (04:25):
Yeah, that’s right. And in fact, I love how Ken started with the things I enjoy about long form journalism, like we’re doing right now, is that it gives them an opportunity to establish context. If we look at first principles here, if we look at how elections started off in this Republic, the way they used to do elections, people would gather together, like in the town square or wherever on election day and the clerk or the registrar, whoever, they would have a role of voters. It looks like we have today in the well of the US Senate, where you have someone who, a person’s name would be announced. And it’s something like Bob Smith. And then Bob would raise his hand in the crowd and then Bob would announce who he was voting for.
Ken Klukowski (05:17):
And so that’s how voter ID used to work. That was election integrity, is that all of Bill’s neighbors are right there. It’d be like in the US Senate. If someone calls out Joe Manchin and all of a sudden, Ted Cruz raises his name and announces the vote. They be like, Ted, you’re not [crosstalk 00:05:33]. So that’s how you are able to make sure that you were matching up the way a person would vote. Now in the 1800s, we, by and large went to a secret ballot system, and there is an upside to that because let’s say Bob Smith had announced he was voting for so-and-so and everyone in the town hated so-and-so, Bob might be on the outs with his neighbors. He might even get punched in the nose after he announced his vote. And so I think there’s a lot of benefit in terms of avoiding undue pressure and duress and threats of intimidation for people to have the secret ballot. But ever since we went to the secret ballot, the issue is okay, how can we have that same level of confidence that we’re really getting this person that we used to [crosstalk 00:06:22]
Bill Walton (06:22):
The individual states, though, control what type balloting they want to do. What kind of systems they use.
Ken Klukowski (06:27):
Bill Walton (06:28):
And so generally all the states went to secret balloting in the 1800s, and then it stayed that way until with a ballot, the ballot box, paper. How did it start evolving towards what we have now?
Ken Klukowski (06:41):
Well, it went through a period of decades and every place did it at a different pace. But the relevant constitutional provision is the elections clause. Article one, section four clause one of the constitution that says the time, place, and manner of elections shall be determined by the legislature of each state though that Congress may at any time alter those regulations. A lot of what we’re seeing right now with these bills that are on Capitol Hill is there a limit to how far Congress can go? Can Congress take what the states have done and add to it? Can it augment it? Can it modify it, what has never been tried before? And what congressional Democrats are trying to do right now is a wholesale ouster to pass a multi-hundred page comprehensive code citing that authority to alter or modify, citing that authority to completely throw states out of the business and establish a universal federal code.
Bill Walton (07:52):
So what’s at stake for us right now is the pieces of legislation in Congress?
Ken Blackwell (07:58):
It’s the centralization of power in the federal government going against the grain of state’s rights and the decentralization of power that the framers established by granting states this authority to set the time, manner, and place. This is a power grab by the federal government.
Bill Walton (08:17):
Well, they’ve been giving us a target. We started out with HR1 and I don’t think that had the votes. And then they went to HR4, which is now called the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, trying to associate this with a civil rights hero. And that’s smart marketing, I suppose, but what’s in that bill, you were worked in the Justice Department, is that it basically, as I understand it, requires every state, anytime they want to make any of the slightest changes in their election laws, let’s say even moving a precinct, or maybe even moving a location, they get to take it to the Justice Department, to the Civil Rights Division for approval.
Ken Blackwell (08:54):
That’s the expansion of the pre-clearance provision in the old Civil Rights Act of 1965, which in fact was geared towards a small number of states and jurisdictions. Now, what they want to do by hook or crook is to make it apply to all states.
Bill Walton (09:14):
We thought that was, let me put this in the right way. That seemed to be like a good idea at the time, because it was aimed at the southern states and their voting and the Jim Crow laws, to keep those elections fair for everybody. And was that a good idea at the time?
Ken Blackwell (09:33):
It was a good idea at the time, but in fact, there was major improvements in the election laws at the state level. But let’s give a clear example to your viewers. Look, Jim Crow, a black voter would go into a precinct and there was a jar of jelly beans. And that voter would be asked how many jelly beans are in that jar and if he couldn’t get the number, he didn’t get to vote. Well, to equate asking for a photo ID of every voter as a throwback to Jim Crow laws is stupid on its face. It is in fact crazy. I mean, that’s why these woke corporations that decided that they were going to label these reform practices as being racist or racist were crazy. Let me just give you one example.
Bill Walton (10:34):
Ken Blackwell (10:34):
Delta Airlines. Can you imagine, and I’m almost a three million-miler with Delta. I’m a diamond member. Can you imagine me going up to board a plane or to get my ticket? And they say, where’s your ID? And I said, oh, here’s my utility bill.
Bill Walton (10:53):
Ken Blackwell (10:53):
They would look at me like I’m crazy.
Bill Walton (10:55):
Ken Blackwell (10:56):
You know what major league baseball, if I left Ken some tickets at the will-call window-
Ken Klukowski (11:00):
And please do.
Ken Blackwell (11:02):
And he went up and said, here’s my utility bill.
Bill Walton (11:05):
And context, Delta Airlines weighed in on the Georgia voting rights bill saying that it was racist and that would all it required was a voter ID.
Ken Klukowski (11:16):
Three things on that. And you’re getting a feel for how Ken and I tag team things. [crosstalk 00:11:22]
Bill Walton (11:23):
You’ve been writing papers on this together for years.
Ken Klukowski (11:26):
Yes, yes. More than a decade.
Bill Walton (11:27):
And where can we find all your writings? All over?
Ken Blackwell (11:30):
Well, the principle one is a Yale Law Review article that we did in 2009. And we’ll make sure that you get a copy of that. [crosstalk 00:11:40].
Ken Klukowski (11:39):
It’s called The Other Voting Rights.
Ken Blackwell (11:43):
And what we said is that in the first 40 years after the 65 Voting Rights Act was passed, was in fact focused on breaking down unfair barriers to access to the ballot box. But for the last 15 years, we’ve been looking at the reasonable duties of citizenship that require that we take protections against any illegal ballot or fraudulent ballot negating those of legal voters and their ballot. And that is when we in fact have made sure that there are common practices and policies in place that protect us against fraud.
Ken Klukowski (12:25):
The way we tag team this is, Ken hits the politics and policy and then I give the flip side at the same coin to add to Ken’s great answer on what you were talking about with pre-clearance and taking it to the pending John Lewis bill, that all that legislation actually doesn’t come from the elections clause of the constitution. That’s all coming from the 15th amendment to the constitution, which makes it illegal to deny or abridge someone’s right to vote on account of race. And then section two of that amendment says that Congress can enforce the provisions of that amendment by appropriate legislation. And that’s what the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was, it was passed to implement and flesh out the details of the 15th amendment. But in South Carolina V Katzenbach in the 1960s, I believe, 1966, when the Supreme Court looked at pre-clearance, they acknowledged that this was a fundamental shift in our system of federalism when it came to elections.
Ken Klukowski (13:33):
They acknowledged that the constitution gives states the primary role and that here was the federal government jumping to the fore in that regard. And they have to understand in the late 1960s, these were the days of the Warren court, the most liberal years in US Supreme Court history. And even the Warren court said, this is just barely constitutional, but they said, but what is going on in these places, mainly in the south, it’s so egregious. It is so systemic that those extraordinary circumstances justify extraordinary measures from Congress to combat these violations of voting rights, but that was the mid 1960s. Now in 1997, in the case City of Boerne V Flores, the Supreme Court said that the parallel provision in the 14th amendment, after the civil war, we passed three amendments, 13th amendment ending slavery, 14th amendment to enact due process and equal protection, 15th amendment specifically guaranteeing voting rights.
Ken Klukowski (14:42):
The last section of all three amendments say that Congress can enforce the protections of this article through appropriate legislation. In the 1997 case on that 14th amendment issue, the Supreme Court said that what that last section in each amendment means, that was talking about the 14th amendment. And I would say the same standard holds true for the parallel section in the 15th amendment. They said, what is appropriate legislation? They said, there are two things to keep in mind. One is that this is not the power of Congress to make new rights. It’s merely to enforce the rights that are already in the constitution and whatever legislation they take, they must engage in formal fact-finding to find out what the violations are, and then they have to pass legislation that is both congruent and proportional to these violations of rights that the states are doing.
Ken Klukowski (15:36):
But then the other thing they said that everyone loses sight of is that they said, however, it is up to the judiciary to say, what is or is not a violation of those rights. Once the courts say rights are being violated, Congress can pass legislation to enforce it. But Congress can not say, like in this case, that voter ID is a violation of 15th amendment rights on the basis of race, only the courts can say that. And then once the courts identify violations, Congress can pass laws to address it. If the courts say that something is not a violation, then Congress has no authority to pass a law that would outlaw it. That is what is going on with the John Lewis Act, is that they’re saying that all of these common sense measures are violations of voting rights. Only the courts can say it and the Supreme Court has never said that.
Bill Walton (16:26):
You’re watching the Bill Walton Show. I’m here with Ken Blackwell and Ken Klukowski, election mavens all or both. And we’re learning about the Voting Rights Act of 65 and how times have changed. And we want to go back to the constitutional principles with our voting rights. Ken.
Ken Blackwell (16:45):
Well, I give practical examples, the opportunity in 2020 created a situation where there was loose use of mass mail-in ballots. What the Lewis Act would do, what S1 and HR1 would do was to actually take the guard rails off of mass mail-in balloting, and make it widespread. Well, let me just tell you, I am the co-chairman of the International Foundation For Electoral Systems, and we, in fact, help countries all over the world with voting integrity matters and voting administration matters. There is not another country in the world that uses mail-in balloting the scale that we used it in 2020. And the reason for that is because you don’t have the accountability systems in terms of verification, and you lose the chain of custody, opening the system up to widespread fraud and irregularities and incompetencies, and that destroyed the confidence. And so this is a power struggle, simply put.
Bill Walton (18:19):
Yeah. There are a lot of people who think, and I think I’m among them, that the Democrats used the lockdowns, the pandemic, the COVID-19, that crisis to bring about all these election changes in which benefited them. And now they want to make those permanent.
Ken Blackwell (18:35):
Permanent, that’s it.
Bill Walton (18:36):
And we can talk about how much that crisis has been overstated, but they certainly have got us in a box now. Now, the legislation, is there a single piece of legislation we need to be concerned about? And before we answer that question, what’s the gold standard for an election? I used to think it was paper ballots, and you put them in there. And then I hear somebody say, well, no paper ballots are very easily used for fraud. So what’s the gold standard that we ought to be telling people this has got to be the right way to do it?
Ken Blackwell (19:10):
I think we have to get back and this is where the young Mr. Ken Klukowski has been my guidance counselor.
Bill Walton (19:23):
That’s a big job.
Ken Klukowski (19:26):
He’s being modest. As if I could ever be his guidance counselor.
Bill Walton (19:31):
[crosstalk 00:19:31] After a few minutes, if you need an extra work as a lawyer, I’d be glad to hire you.
Ken Blackwell (19:37):
We need to get back to a premium being placed on voting on election day in the precinct.
Bill Walton (19:48):
Ken Blackwell (19:49):
That’s the gold standard. And I will just say this, that over a decade ago, a commission, a national commission led by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State Jim Baker basically underscored the impracticality and high risk to fraud that mail balloting would take. And I think that we need to go back to making sure that we have precinct workers at every precinct bi-partisan, eyeball to eyeball, voting at the precinct level on election day, you tighten the chain of custody of ballots, and you have an added verification system going back to the original, I’m Bob Smith. Yes, you’re Bob Smith because neighbors are verifying neighbors are who they say they are. Precinct level is so important. And we’ve had over hundreds of thousands of precincts uncovered by men and women of both parties. And that in fact has led to, I think, a lack of confidence in the results, particularly when you have this manipulation.
Bill Walton (21:16):
The gold standard is an election day, precinct by precinct verification of voters, poll watchers on both sides. Is there a fifth or sixth element?
Ken Klukowski (21:29):
And to answer your question on that. And everything Ken said was right with paper ballots. Now sure, there are people who can talk about how you can manipulate paper ballots? Yes, but you can manipulate electronic entries even more easily. Having a physical paper ballot with serial numbers or other unique identifiers so that they can’t be mass produced, they can’t be copied. Marks, there are marks in technologies, including embedded technologies that you can put into the paper itself to make sure that it’s the genuine article, that it can’t be replicated. Yes, no system is foolproof. It’s a matter of belt and suspenders and then another belt and another set of suspenders. It’s a matter of adding as many layers of protection as we can to protect from multiple angles so that we can ensure that the tally that we have corresponds to physical ballots, that can be tied ultimately, even though it’s a secret ballot, that can be matched up with who actually voted in the election and that putting all those components together, that’s where you can have confidence that the results that you certify accurately reflect the [crosstalk 00:22:51].
Bill Walton (22:51):
So what are the poll numbers and voter ID? Aren’t they like 70, 75% of Americans [crosstalk 00:22:56]
Ken Blackwell (22:56):
75, 80% believe. Because photo IDs are so common place in America, a library cards, you’re going to grocery store to buy a six pack of beer. I mean, it’s so commonplace to label it as one being unrealistic and a prohibitive requirement is crazy. And to make it tantamount to how many jelly beans are in this jar, it’s just crazy.
Bill Walton (23:30):
They are going to put that at the gate at Delta Airlines.
Ken Klukowski (23:36):
That’s right. [crosstalk 00:23:37] And for those who specifically try and say that voter ID is racist, if you break down those poll numbers, 61% of black voters support voter ID. So a solid majority of black voters support voter ID. 64% of Hispanic voters support voter ID. So not only is it overwhelmingly popular in the entire body of politics here in America, but the groups that the Nancy Pelosi’s of the world and the Joe Biden’s of the world and the Chuck Schumer’s of the world, the groups that they say, no, we have to oppose this because that hurts certain groups of Americans, if you look just at the numbers of those groups, it’s popular with them too.
Ken Blackwell (24:18):
And Bill, we have an early test in Virginia in a matter of weeks, that’s why it’s so important that folks are making sure that the there’s poll coverage at every precinct there is … They have created something called ballot harvesting and the reality is, the way that people protect their ballot in this age of ballot harvesting is to vote early as possible right now until we get-
Bill Walton (25:01):
Explain ballot harvesting.
Ken Blackwell (25:03):
Well ballot harvesting is, you can have groups that can collect ballots and turn them in as opposed to the individual voter. So you have a whole lot of [crosstalk 00:25:16]
Ken Klukowski (25:16):
Wouldn’t you think, because most states would have laws that say that if you can’t deliver your ballot in person, it specifies like a family member or your health care provider, that the law specifies if it’s anyone other than you, what few types of people can actually touch your ballot and say, I’m delivering a ballot for Bill Walton. He can’t be here, he’s in the hospital, or he’s in a nursing home or whatever, but I’m his son and here’s who I am and I am delivering the ballot for him. Ballot harvesting is when there’s no restrictions on that. And so all of a sudden you get people from political activist groups who say, I’ve got a whole bunch of ballots to deliver for-
Bill Walton (25:56):
How many states allow ballot harvesting now?
Ken Klukowski (26:00):
The number keeps changing.
Ken Blackwell (26:01):
It does keep changing, but I would say that it’s over, it’s approaching half of the states.
Bill Walton (26:07):
I’m trying to get this genie back in the bottle, because it all got blown up in 2020. How do we-
Ken Blackwell (26:14):
We have to work on making sure that we curtail or eliminate ballot harvesting, getting back to verification processes and individual responsibility. It’s a duty of citizenship that within the four squares of the law, the individual does it. But I want to underscore something I’m saying, right now, the rules of the game in Virginia allow for ballot harvesting. We cannot sit on the sideline. We have responsible groups, church groups, what have you, that can encourage folks to constructively use within the four corners of the established rules now, the ballot harvesting. Or if we sit on the sidelines, we’re going to watch a candidate in Virginia who is showing electoral superiority get his clock cleaned by this practice.
Bill Walton (27:11):
You mean the candidate who, if Bill and Hillary Clinton had had a boy, it would have been named Terry McAuliffe?
Ken Blackwell (27:17):
Is using ballot harvesting.
Bill Walton (27:19):
What do we do about it in Virginia? I know everybody’s watching this from all over, but this bears on the next elections in 2022. What do we need to actually do to stop this?
Ken Blackwell (27:30):
Well, one first, you make sure that every precinct and polling place is covered on election day. Two, you in fact, in a responsible manner within the four corners of the law actually use all of the organizations that we have in our deployment, church-based groups or faith-based groups, what have you, and political groups to make sure that we are gathering election ballots and legally casting them to make sure that we don’t get swamped.
Ken Klukowski (28:05):
We have to win our game.
Bill Walton (28:07):
You’re watching the Bill Walton Show. I’m here with Ken Klukowski and Ken Blackwell and we’re talking about it, what we can actually do to make sure we got a free and fair election initially in Virginia, but then in every state in the country. Ken, sorry.
Ken Klukowski (28:21):
Absolutely. It’s because the Democrats have shown what happens when you have a Democrat chief executive. In this case in Virginia, a governor in both the House and Senate, that’s where they made ballot harvesting legal. It is set by law, it can only be undone by law, but that means that once they have it in place, you’re going to have to beat, even by the rules that they’ve installed into the game, you’re going to have to play by their rules and overwhelm them and beat them. And then as soon as you have back majority, and in this case, the governor is mentioned, you need to fix those laws. And to take the high ground of the law here, just this summer, in the case Brnovich versus Democrat National Committee, the DNC had sued saying that Arizona was violating the Voting Rights Act, to go back what we’ve been saying, because they did not allow ballot harvesting. And the Supreme Court came down and said, resoundingly, that Arizona had a legal right to make that decision. Not that it had to be legal, not that it had to be illegal, but that it belongs to the states to decide that, it doesn’t violate any federal law to say no ballot harvesting.
Ken Blackwell (29:29):
I’ll tell you, as soon as we win using ballot harvesting, we will pick up advocates for doing away with it that are Democrats.
Ken Klukowski (29:42):
That’s right. They’ll lose interest if we win an election.
Ken Blackwell (29:45):
And let me tell you, I want to just make this clear. They have gaslighted the public into believing that Republicans are the minority party in this country. Republicans control more chambers of state legislatures, more governors, more county commission seats. We are not the minority, and therefore, if we use within the four corners of the law, this tool that they have created, and we win, they would then join us in correcting the process.
Bill Walton (30:19):
So we need to get into ballot harvesting. How do we do that in Virginia?
Ken Klukowski (30:25):
Bill Walton (30:27):
I love beating up in their own game.
Ken Klukowski (30:29):
I leave election day operations mainly to others, but an example would be people of faith like in Virginia are supporting Glenn Youngkin’s campaign. So it’s like saying, okay, then we’ll set up voting operations through your local church. And then the church can drop off a batch of ballots because if you don’t do it early, for the states that allow it, what we are seeing in state after state, where Democrats have enacted these laws, you have people showing up on election day who were told, wait, our records say you’ve already voted.
Bill Walton (31:04):
[crosstalk 00:31:04] focused on education. I mean, Terry McAuliffe has now told us that he does not believe parents should have any say in how their children are educated. He said that in a debate between Youngkin. It was a stunning moment.
Ken Klukowski (31:15):
Bill Walton (31:16):
And McAuliffe firmly believes that critical race theory belongs in the curriculum. And that’s one thing that’s got everybody very upset, at least people on our side. Is there a group that could be focused in education that could harvest ballots?
Ken Blackwell (31:33):
I just tell you, look, the Virginia Policy Institute is working with a number of national organizations, the Conservative Partnership Institute, Freedom Works, Family Research Council, all of these groups have to have a coordinated effort to make sure that these harvested ballots by McAuliffe’s forces are swamped by harvested ballots from our side. And then when we have control again, as Ken has indicated, I think we need to work back to a system that is less subjective to misuse. I don’t advocate the misuse of the system. There are ways and legal ways that you do ballot harvesting.
Bill Walton (32:32):
[crosstalk 00:32:32] If they made it legal, why not play by those rules? Otherwise it’s unilateral [crosstalk 00:32:37] So we got just a couple of minutes left because I got to let you guys go back onto the battlefield. Let’s come back to the federal issue, the John Rights Voting Act. Where does that stand? Is there any other bad stuff in Congress that is also related to that, or is that the main thing we need to be concerned about?
Ken Klukowski (32:58):
There are two statutes pending, one is that, and the other is when Joe Manchin, who by some measures could be called the most powerful man in Washington right now, when he indicated that he had concerns about HR1, the first big attempted total takeover, like 900 pages, a huge law, some of it elections clause, some of it 15th amendment, just everything, some of it campaign finance and first amendment, everything you could imagine, they tried cramming into a big federal takeover. When he became clear that he was not going to support that, they have written a light version of HR1. So the two bills currently are the John Lewis Act and then the watered down HR1, which took out the parts that Joe Manchin had publicly explained he was not comfortable with. So they just wrote a new bill, but took out those things hoping to get his vote.
Bill Walton (33:58):
My guess is that the bill John Rights Voting bill light is almost as bad as the first one.
Ken Klukowski (34:04):
Well, one is like a carpet-bombing and the other is like a guided missile that takes out the center of town. So because it’s the carpet-
Bill Walton (34:18):
The hope is it’s not an over the horizon-
Ken Klukowski (34:22):
When it comes to election laws, do you see that they don’t really believe that over the horizon works. They want to be right there in your grill and in your ballot box and having friends come to your house to help you fill out your ballot and then help collect it for you. So those are the two bills that are pending right now, when it will all turn on, is that Chuck Schumer is trying to say this can be done through reconciliation on a 50-50 vote. So long as Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema and other people of goodwill, regardless of their party affiliation, say, I’m not going to blow up the Senate rules. This is still subject to [crosstalk 00:35:02]
Bill Walton (35:01):
So this is yet another bad thing being rolled into the reconciliation bill? Along with climate change-
Ken Klukowski (35:08):
Right. They’re trying to.
Ken Blackwell (35:09):
Right. And look, Joe Manchin has to decide if he’s going to be a puppet of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, or if he’s going to vote the interests, not only of the nation, but of West Virginians.
Bill Walton (35:26):
West Virginia went 70% for Donald Trump, maybe 75. What are the people of West Virginia doing now?
Ken Blackwell (35:33):
Well, all of the polling that I see is that Joe Manchin is underwater. He in fact is losing popularity every time he looks as if he’s shoulder to shoulder with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. Look, I know that we’re near the end. One of the things-
Bill Walton (35:53):
Take us out of this.
Ken Blackwell (35:53):
One of the great things about being the senior Ken is that I can let him talk and then I can say, well said, son. I would just leave you with a comment from the great abolitionist, Frederick Douglas. Frederick Douglas said, those who are whooped easiest or whooped most often, my message is simple, fight and fight now.
Bill Walton (36:31):
Okay. I’m with you, Ken Blackwell, Ken Klukowski, thanks for joining the Bill Walton Show.
Ken Blackwell (36:37):
Bill Walton (36:37):
We’ll have you back with, hopefully take a couple of victory laps soon. And thanks for fighting this fight and I’m glad to be part of it with you. So anyway, thanks you all for watching the Bill Walton Show, and you can find us on all the major podcast platforms, including YouTube, some of the time, unless they’ve pulled us. I don’t think they will for this one. But anyway, this was a great conversation, and we’ll be back to tell you more as we make progress in this front. Thanks.
Bill Walton (37:06):
I hope you enjoyed the conversation. Want more? Click the subscribe button or head over to the billwaltonshow.com to choose from over a hundred episodes. You can also learn more about our guests on our interesting people page. And send us your comments, we read every one and your thoughts help us guide the show. If it’s easier for you to listen, check out our podcast page and subscribe there. In return, we’ll keep you informed about what’s true, what’s right, and what’s next. Thanks for joining.
Episode 154 Highlight 1: Going against the grain. The Founders set up a system in which states largely controlled election law unless they were found to have been doing so unfairly. Yet, Democrats’ legislation amounts to a power grab for Washington rather than dispersing power to the states.
Episode 154 Highlight 2: Voter ID is not a Jim Crow law. It is crazy to think that being required to prove your identity to vote is the same as forcing voters to guess the number of jellybeans in a jar to be allowed to cast their ballots.
Episode 154 Highlight 3: Courts must rule before Congress can act on voting rights. If judges don’t rule provisions of state election laws are unconstitutional, then Congress has no power to change them.
Episode 154 Highlight 4: No country had used mail-in ballots to the extent the US did in 2020. Chain of custody and ballot integrity can’t be assured. Yet, Congress wants to make this the law of the land.
Episode 154 Highlight 5: The gold standard for safe elections: Vote in your precinct on Election Day. A return to the past would tighten the chain of custody, better verify who votes and give Americans confidence in their elections again.
Episode 154 Highlight 6: Yes, paper ballots have vulnerabilities, but they’re still preferable to electronic. With paper, we can ensure the tally we get corresponds to physical ballots and can be matched up to who voted in the election.
Episode 154 Highlight 7: Republicans must learn to beat Democrats at their own game. As soon as Republicans show they can use ballot harvesting to win an election, Democrats will lose interest in it and may even go for outlawing it.
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