10/27/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/27/2021 18:04
CLICK HERE to watch Lankford's Q&A on YouTube.
WASHINGTON, DC -Senator James Lankford (R-OK) participated in a hearing with the Senate Committee Indian Affairs as they reviewed a bill that reviewed voting rights for Native communities. Lankford has long been outspoken that Democrats' attempt to federalize elections comes with significant negative consequences on our nation's free and fair elections. Last week, he opposed Democrats third attempt to take over elections.
In June, Lankford strongly opposed the "For the People Act." Lankford sounded the alarm on Democrats' so-called "For the People Act" as it was being sold to the American people as necessary to protect election integrity, but is actually a massive federal takeover of state elections. Lankford joined Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to introduce the Don't Weaponize the IRS Act to prevent the IRS from being used as a political weapon against conservative nonprofits. S.1 would repeal and undermine a Trump Administration rule that prevented the IRS from targeting certain tax-exempt groups based on political beliefs.
Lankford and Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK) praised a letter from Oklahoma State Election Board Secretary Paul Ziriax regarding the dangers he sees posed by S.1 to Oklahoma's free and fair election process. Lankford spoke on the Senate floor for a second time on the announcement that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) planned to bring S.1 to the floor. Lankford also wrote an opinion piece to Oklahomans that Democrats' federal election takeover bill is not "For the People."
On his concerns with ballot harvesting and changing Oklahoma state voting laws
Some of the changes that are also in the bill as well on how it would handle some of the issues like the drop boxes, what that would look like in every part of my state. I have concerns with ballot harvesting, and if it would compel that or allow that-when it's not in our state law and has not been an issue in our state. It's something we've been very protective of and how we actually handle absentee ballots. We want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to vote early and everyone has the opportunity to vote in person, or we have a "no excuse" absentee as well, but this would change that structure for everyone in our state.
On the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021
The John Lewis bill, that this appears to be moving with, also has an uncertainty for pre-clearance. Currently Oklahoma is not a pre-clearance state. It was not historically a pre-clearance state, they did not have some of the same issues that other states did in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, so we were not included in that. It's still uncertain if we would be looped in to becoming a pre-clearance state because of the uncertainty of those definitions in the John Lewis Voting Rights bill… The federal observers-we don't know how that actually works and operates. To suddenly have federal observers that are coming into our state elections, and then the consent decrees or settlements that have been done in the past that appear to be something that suddenly a state in the future would be punished for… The John Lewis bill reaches back 25 years and looks back to see that anything done in the past that causes consequences for the future…
I have quite a few concerns that we're walking through on the days ahead on this. And some issues that do need to be resolved because of the uniqueness of where we are as a state, but also to be able to continue to make sure state and local areas are able to stay very, very engaged… As everyone on this group knows Alaska is different than Oklahoma, is different than New York state, is different than California…we want to make sure every person has opportunity to be able to vote.