Report: States’ Primary The Elections Clause: Constitutional Authority Over Elections

The1 Constitution reserves to the States the primary authority to set election legislation and administer elections—the “times, places, and manner of holding of elections”—and Congress’ power in this space is purely secondary to the States’ power. Congress’ power is to be employed only in the direst of circumstances.2 Despite Democrats’ insistence that Congress’ power over elections is unfettered and permits Congress to enact sweeping legislation like H.R. 1, it is simply not true. History, precedent, the Framers’ words, debates concerning ratification, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution itself make this exceedingly clear.