Politicians like to hide things. When there’s a particularly ugly or unpopular measure they want to pass into law, they don’t write up a bill and try to get it passed.
Instead, they try to surreptitiously hide the dastardly law as a small provision in a bigger bill that everyone else in Congress is anxious to pass, hoping that either it will be willfully ignored because the main provisions are too important to hold up over a debate about the merits of a teensy little amendment or that in the haste to pass the bill nobody notices this little section here.
(You don’t think they actually read those bills all the way through, do you? The Republican tax and health care bills should have abused you of that notion.)
The Boston Globe today highlighted a stealth provision hidden in the bowels of a bill to reauthorize the Department of Homeland Security that would allow President Trump to send Secret Service agents to polls across the country during a federal election.
The addition of this new and dangerously expanded presidential power to what should have been a routine renewal of the existing legislation authorizing the department has election officials around the country outraged.
The Democratic Massachusetts Secretary of State, William F. Galvins, is concerned that the new power could be used as a method to intimidate voters and convince certain demographics to stay away from the polling stations rather than exercise their legal right to participate in the electoral process. Galvin says that there is “no basis” for handing Trump this new authority.
“This is worthy of a Third World country,” Galvin told The Boston Globe in an interview. “I’m not going to tolerate people showing up to our polling places. I would not want to have federal agents showing up in largely Hispanic areas. The potential for mischief here is enormous.”
Galvin isn’t the only state official concerned about the legislation. A group of 19 bipartisan secretaries of state and elections commissioners drafted a letter opposing the unprecedented provision.
“There is no discernible need for federal secret service agents to intrude, at the direction of the president, who may also be a candidate in that election, into thousands of citadels where democracy is enshrined,” the letter declares.
“This is an alarming proposal which raises the possibility that armed federal agents will be patrolling neighborhood precincts and vote centers,” it continues.
Trump may be seeking this new authority to send in the feds to local voting centers because of his delusional belief that he only lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton because of nearly five million fraudulent ballots cast, a belief that only Trump and Kris Kobach, the head of the president’s discredited and now disbanded voter fraud commision, have taken seriously
While the Homeland Security reauthorization bill with the provision passed the House with bipartisan support, the Senate version of the bill that made it through committee hearings did not include the provision. If the Senate bill is passed, the legislation goes to a conference committee to synchronize a final version of the bill to be voted on by both chambers of Congress.
That means that there is still a little bit of time for you to call your representatives in both houses of Congress and make them promise not to vote in favor of a version of the bill that does include this new and frightening expansion of a police state-like authority for Trump. If they won’t agree, tell them that millions of real voters will help them make the decision for them.