Republican lawmakers have recently introduced a bill called the American Confidence in Elections (ACE) Act, aimed at strengthening election integrity and boosting voter confidence in American elections. The bill includes several measures such as requiring voter ID in certain cases and ensuring that only U.S. citizens can vote in federal elections.
House Administration Committee Chairman Bryan Steil, a Republican from Wisconsin, introduced the ACE Act on Monday. According to the bill summary, the legislation represents the most significant effort in a generation to protect political speech, particularly in a climate where Democrats are allegedly attempting to control the narrative and suppress conservative voices.
One of the key provisions of the bill is the establishment of a felony offense for noncitizens who attempt to vote in federal elections. The bill calls on the Department of Homeland Security, the Social Security Administration, and other relevant federal agencies to provide voter data to states at no cost. The intention is to allow states to remove noncitizens and deceased voters from their voter rolls promptly. Additionally, states permitting noncitizens to vote in state and local elections would be required to keep separate ballots for such races in the event that they coincide with a federal election. These states would also receive 30 percent less federal funding for election expenses under the Help America Vote Act.
The ACE Act aims to modernize the first-time mail voter ID requirement in the Help America Vote Act. Under the proposed legislation, first-time voters who did not register in person at their local election office or through a state voter registration agency would be required to provide identification when voting. The bill also states that certain voters requesting a mail ballot would be required to provide ID. Additionally, it seeks to reform the REAL ID Act to ensure that U.S. citizenship is printed on all qualifying voters’ identification documents starting from January 1, 2026.
Another significant aspect of the ACE Act is the termination of the DHS Disinformation Governance Board and the prohibition of any future similar entities. The bill is based on three key findings: states have the primary role in establishing election law and administering elections, all eligible American voters should be able to vote and have their votes counted, and political speech is protected speech that must be safeguarded.
Not everyone is supportive of the ACE Act. Representative Joe Morelle, a Democrat from New York, criticized the bill, claiming that it is designed to appease extremist election deniers. Morelle argued that the legislation would restrict the right to vote, particularly for voters of color, and could jeopardize the security of elections. He also raised concerns about the potential influx of dark money into the electoral process.
However, there has been support for the ACE Act from those who advocate for election integrity. Representative Barry Loudermilk, a Republican from Georgia, praised the common-sense reforms proposed in the bill, which include maintaining updated voter rolls, ensuring only citizens vote, combating ballot harvesting, and preventing external interference in elections.
Additionally, election integrity nonprofit VoterGA, co-founded by Garland Favorito, announced its endorsement of the ACE Act. Favorito stated that once the bill becomes law, it will eliminate unverifiable elections and help restore American confidence in the electoral process.
The ACE Act also focuses on protecting political speech and ensuring election transparency. It repeals the requirement for disclosing certain donors’ identities and provides donor disclosure protection for certain tax-exempt organizations. The bill also prohibits the Securities and Exchange Commission from issuing regulations regarding the disclosure of political contributions.
Furthermore, the ACE Act designates the Election Assistance Commission as the sole agency authorized to issue certification standards for election and voting technology, equipment, and software, removing this authority from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The bill also mandates that election materials, including ballots and ballot envelopes, be preserved for 22 months to facilitate post-election audits.
Additionally, the ACE Act calls for a study by the Government Accountability Office to assess the feasibility of manufacturing and assembling all voting equipment used in federal elections in the United States.
Lastly, the bill repeals President Joe Biden’s Executive Order 14019, which prohibits federal agencies from engaging in voter mobilization or registration activities.
Overall, the ACE Act proposes a range of measures to ensure election integrity, protect political speech, and enhance transparency in the electoral process. While some critics argue that the bill restricts voting rights and may lead to corruption, supporters believe that the reforms will strengthen confidence in American elections.