On the June 22 edition of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s The National Desk, anchor Jan Jeffcoat failed to rebut lies her guest, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), asserted about the For the People Act, which is coming to a vote in the Senate today.
During the interview, Toomey described the bill as a “federal takeover of elections.” But Congress has always had the power, granted by the Constitution, to regulate federal elections.
Toomey also claimed the legislation “would effectively ban the use of voter ID.” But as FactCheck.org explained in March, the bill “wouldn’t ban state laws that ask voters to show identification at the polls.” Instead, the bill provides “an option for those who don’t have ID to offer a signed statement instead during federal elections,” which a law professor explained is accepted in many other contexts.
Next, Toomey said “taxpayers would have to kick in” funding to political campaigns. But the provision for matching federal campaign dollars is, as Newsweek explained in March, funded from fines paid by criminals, legal settlements, and tax violators. It’s designed to give congressional challengers a fairer chance against incumbents.
Toomey also claimed the For the People Act “forbids states under many circumstances from updating their voter registration rolls.” This is also a lie -- as FactCheck.org made clear, it bans only the common and unreliable GOP tactic of “voter caging,” or sending out mass mailings and then removing voters from the rolls if the mail couldn’t be delivered.
Lastly, Toomey complained that the bill would require states to permit the practice of collecting absentee ballots to be counted, which he refers to as “ballot harvesting.” As PolitiFact explained, this is already legal in many states and the bill would “permit a voter to designate any person” to return their completed and sealed mail-in ballot, as long as that person isn’t being paid based on the number of ballots they’re collecting.
Jeffcoat earlier this month also failed to rebut a Republican senator's similar lies about this legislation. But she's not alone -- in January, Sinclair national correspondent Kristine Frazao pushed GOP lies about voter fraud in her report on the For the People Act. And in March, Sinclair national correspondent Ahtra Elnashar whitewashed the GOP’s nationwide effort to suppress voting in her report on the bill, while also including false GOP talking points.