For the People was written in 2018 without consulting key stakeholders like election officials, which is -- for starters -- pretty dumb. Many of the mandates included in the legislation are either underfunded or temporarily funded, and significant changes to the system are either beyond states’ ability to implement or have deadlines so rushed they could make elections in the near future less secure as a result. A summary of the bill’s problems in The Daily Beast notes the legislation gives voters the ability to sue counties and states that don’t comply with the new rules, “leaving cash-strapped election officials fearing that they’ll be slapped with expensive lawsuits for their failure to leap over goalposts set unrealistically high.” The legislation also creates standards that current voting machines cannot meet.
Since Democratic lawmakers didn’t seem interested in addressing the bills’ problems all these years, it’s hard for them to argue now they really need to pass it. Election officials are afraid to speak out against the federal legislation, and even members and senators -- some of whom have acknowledged that it can’t pass -- have yet to criticize the bill as insufficient.
“The Democrats are just like Republicans: They’re afraid of their base,” one Democratic strategist told me. “They don’t want to speak out on this because they’re afraid of getting canceled.”