Submitted by Steve Hopkins and Andrew Roth
“Why are Republicans compromising with Democrats when the Republicans carry a supermajority in both chambers?”
House Republican lawmakers in Jackson, under the direction of Speaker Philip Gunn, have gutted the only election integrity bill (HB 1510) that is still alive this year.
Thankfully, there is an opportunity to save the bill and ensure the sanctity of our elections. Mississippians will go to the polls each of the next three years to decide the fate of the state and our country. Let’s review how things got to this precarious point on an issue that should be non-controversial for any Republican.
In its original form, HB 1510 empowered state officials to audit and analyze the voter rolls at the county level. Thankfully, Mississippi has a Secretary of State – Michael Watson – who believes in securing our elections and a State Auditor – Shad White – who isn’t afraid to go after election commissioners committing fraud. But do the Republican supermajorities in the state legislature believe in providing the necessary power to statewide elected officials to guarantee secure elections? That is becoming less apparent.
After Republican leadership in the House stripped HB 1510 down to the bone, even accepting a Democrat amendment, the rumor under the dome is that this was part of a back room deal with the Democrats in the legislature to ensure the passage of other bills. But why are Republicans compromising with Democrats when the Republicans carry a supermajority in both chambers? Republicans carry the necessary numbers in both chambers to pass anything they want, including tax relief for all Mississippians.
The process to audit all 82 counties and clear the rolls of ineligible voters to ensure the integrity of our elections isn’t an instant process and it isn’t something that can just wait until next year. If the state legislature doesn’t pass election reform this year, allowing the Secretary of State the power and time to secure our elections, Mississippi in for a long three years.
The 2022 congressional mid-term elections are quickly approaching, which will determine if Republicans can overtake the House in order to slow down the damaging policies implemented by the Biden Administration. The 2023 statewide elections will determine if Mississippians are finally fed up with the moderates that dominate the supermajority of Republicans in both legislative chambers. The outcome of the 2024 Presidential election could significantly alter the course of our country forever. There is no time to waste on appeasement of moderates or Democrats.
It’s time for Mississippians to demand that HB 1510’s reforms get put back in by the state senate and passed. The bill will then go back to the state house where Speaker Gunn and his underlings will have to face the music. Will they side with the Democrats and ruin Mississippi’s chance at true election integrity reform? Or will they side with principled Republicans like the Mississippi Freedom Caucus who want to have safe and secure elections well into the future? We’re all about to find out.
Submitted by State Rep. Steve Hopkins (R-07), chairman of the Mississippi Freedom Caucus, and Andrew Roth, president of the State Freedom Caucus Network.