Sean Hannity lies about H.R. 1: “What are we going to have, 15-year-olds voting next?”

Voting rights bill would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to register in advance — but not actually vote until they turn 18

Sean Hannity lies about H.R. 1: “What are we going to have, 15-year-olds voting next?”

Sean Hannity - radio image
Audio file

Citation From the March 8, 2021, edition of iHeartRadio’s The Sean Hannity Show

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): This is the bill that would allow felons to vote, that would allow automatic registration to vote, that would allow and institutionalize mail-in ballots in perpetuity. This is the one that would unconstitutionally usurp the authority written into our Constitution for state legislatures to determine the time and manner of elections in their individual states, so I don't think it's going to be constitution[al].

Requires registration for those under 18, and states to carry out a plan to increase, you know — people, what are we going to have, 15-year-olds voting next? What's the legal drinking age?

Prohibits the publication of “misleading information about elections” a federal crime to communicate or cause to be communicated information that is knowingly false. Well, that could affect them — because every two years they say that Republicans are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, now transphobic, and want dirty air and water and want to kill grandma. That might apply to them.

While the U.S. Constitution gives initial authority to states to determine the “times, places and manner of holding elections” for Congress, that same exact section then adds: “but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations.” For example: This is how the national Election Day is set in federal law, rather than every state voting on different days.

The actual text of H.R. 1, which would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to register to vote, is meant to ensure that they will be registered by the time they are 18 years old and in time for Election Day. The bill also makes clear that this language has “no effect on state voting age requirements” and does not require a state to permit a person to actually vote while still under 18.

In addition, the House had specifically defeated a proposal to lower the voting age to 16, thus preserving the threshold at 18 years old.

Hannity's other charge, saying that bill's language criminalizing “misleading information about elections” could be used against campaign rhetoric about one's opponents, is also false. The bill's relevant language deals with forbidding misinformation that would “impede or prevent another person from exercising the right to vote,” such as false information having to do with “the time or place of holding any election,” or “the qualifications for or restrictions on voter eligibility.”

In short, that section is meant to stop voter intimidation — not to criminalize protected speech against a political opponent.

In addition, the bill would set a nationwide standard of restoring voting rights for felons once they are no longer in prison — which is already the law in 18 states, including red states such as Indiana and Utah.