States Have the Power to Restore Faith in Our Electoral System - Will They Use It?

February 03, 2022

By Hogan Gidley

By Hogan Gidley in Real Clear Politics

The faith, trust, and confidence in our election process has been in steep decline for decades. Concerns over hanging chads and dimpled ballots from 2000’s presidential election may now have been replaced with questions about photo ID and drop boxes – but the overall result is the same: The American people simply don’t trust the outcome of elections.

In fact, recent polls show only 57% of voters believe Joe Biden was legitimately elected in 2020. Similarly, just 61% of Americans believe Trump legitimately won in 2016.

This lack of confidence is completely unacceptable in America – and, completely fixable.

Currently, there are 40 state legislatures in session, with more convening in the coming days, and the United States Constitution has given each one the right and responsibility to decide the manner in which they will conduct elections in their states.

The radical left recently attempted to strip away that right with a law that would give the federal government control over your local elections. It failed in Congress in large part because the left tried to make you believe the lie that the same federal government that botched the Afghanistan withdrawal leaving Americans behind, that loses more than $60 billion a year in Medicare fraud, and that could not stop hackers from stealing $100 billion from COVID relief funds could somehow run your state elections. Additionally, the bill was basically a blank check to cheat. It banned photo ID requirements to vote, prevented states from cleaning up their voter rolls, and forced states to provide drop boxes for absentee ballots with no security protocols, just to name a few.

With their constitutional obligation still intact, it’s now up to the men and women of the state legislatures to analyze laws against meaningful election integrity policies that protect every single legally cast ballot and every single legal voter.

As someone who has worked in politics for decades, advising office holders and candidates at every level of government, it’s hard for me to remember a single policy this universally popular across political, racial, and gender lines. But election integrity measures are, and new polling data from Rasmussen shows just how popular:

85% of Americans support requiring photo ID to vote.

82% of Americans support ballots being returned to election officials by Election Day.

88% of Americans support cleaning up bad voter rolls.

81% of Americans support all voting machines being made in America.

As a political matter, it’s a no-brainer. From a policy standpoint, we simply cannot allow a vocal minority of people to force us into bad policy.

The American people in vast majorities are demanding an electoral system that makes it easy to vote but hard to cheat – and the good news is, many state leaders are taking notice.

In Virginia, Delegate Margaret Ransone has introduced a bill that would restore photo ID requirements to vote. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is looking into a new law enforcement office to investigate election crimes. In Georgia, state Senate President Pro Tempore Butch Miller proposed legislation banning ballot drop boxes.

Many other states are also trying to address the issue – there are about 750 election integrity measures currently in state legislatures for consideration. Yet, political realities exist on the ground that present real roadblocks to enacting voter protection laws.

For example, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina state legislatures are listening to the people, but other office holders are not. In Michigan, the legislature passed bills that gave free photo ID to voters and required them to be shown at the polls to vote, but Gov. Whitmer vetoed these. Pennsylvania’s state legislature passed a bill that included a group of election integrity measures including voter ID requirements, better protection for voters with disabilities, and accountability for the ballot mail-in system. Gov. Wolf vetoed it. North Carolina’s legislature tried to prevent outside private money, known as “Zuckerbucks,” from influencing local elections by passing a ban on it, but Gov. Cooper and an unelected partisan board of elections prevented this voter protection from becoming law.

The radical left’s opposition to measures like these is inexplicable when you consider how broadly Americans support them and how effective they would be at preventing cheating.

Even though America has a long history of illegalities, irregularities, anomalies, and yes, fraud in our elections – documented in all 50 states – the left argues, “Yes, but there aren’t enough ballots in question to change the outcome of an election.” That’s not the issue. First of all, how much fraud do they think is okay? A single illegal, fraudulent, or miscounted vote is one too many. That one illegal vote rips away a legal vote from someone else – it’s theft. You wouldn’t allow a single dollar to be stolen from your bank account. Why are so many elected officials okay with someone stealing your vote?

These are battles for the future of the republic and they are worth fighting.

Election Day 2022 is not until November 8, but now is the time for state legislatures to analyze their election laws. In America today, elected officials have no excuse to ignore good voter protection policies. It’s time to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat. The American people demand it – and Lord knows, they deserve it.

Hogan Gidley is director of the Center for Election Integrity at the America First Policy Institute.

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