GOP Launches Election Integrity Push to Make it ‘Easier to Vote and Harder to Cheat’

A voter arrives at a polling place in Minneapolis, Minn.  on March 3, 2020. (Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), an umbrella group for GOP state lawmakers and secretaries of state, launched an effort Wednesday to shore up election integrity.

The RSLC wrote in a Feb. 17 statement that the measure is meant to “restore the American people’s confidence in the integrity of their free and fair elections by convening leading policymakers to share and discuss voter-centric current laws and future reforms that make it easier to vote and harder to cheat.”

John Merrill, RSLC co-chair and Alabama’s Secretary of State, said that reforms are needed if Americans are to have confidence in their elections.

“While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to anything, every state in the nation should be working to assess and improve their respective election laws,” Merrill said.

Michigan state Senator and commission co-chair Ruth Johnson added, “The COVID-19 pandemic created unprecedented challenges and exposed that our election processes are far from perfect.”

“The good news is that states are truly the laboratories of democracy, and we can all learn from what others do well as we try to provide assistance to the leaders across the country that are spearheading the effort to reform our elections,” she said.

Key reform principles that will guide the commission’s work include ensuring voter roll accuracy and securing absentee and mail-in voting.

“Every eligible United States citizen who is a legal resident of their state and has properly registered, should be able to vote without any encumbrance and absentee and mail-in voting options should be encouraged,” the RSLC said. “States should, however, look to strengthen these methods through proper signature verification (matching signatures against voter registration records, not ballot applications), photo ID submission, and timely ballot return requirements.”

Some of the controversies that swirled around the 2020 election include claims that state officials and judges made changes that weakened security around mail-in balloting in violation of state election laws, which are the domain of state legislatures.

Epoch Times Photo
Voters line up for the first day of early voting outside of the High Museum polling station in Atlanta, Georgia on Dec. 14, 2020. (Jessica McGowan/Getty Images)

Other principles that the commission will use in its work on shoring up elections integrity include increasing transparency for in-person voting and streamlining the canvassing process.

“In-person voting should be an orderly and transparent process that provides citizens a recourse when they think the law is not being followed,” the RSLC said. “Giving Americans the tools to better scrutinize their elections will strengthen trust in the system and lead to more voter participation.”

A number of the contest-of-election lawsuits filed by former President Donald Trump and his allies in the wake of the Nov. 3 vote contained allegations that Republican poll watchers were denied meaningful access to observe various stages of vote tabulation.

But some moves to strengthen election integrity have been denounced as covert attempts at voter suppression, with The Washington Post running a recent editorial  that argued, “nothing in the 2020 election experience suggests that wide-scale use of mail-in ballots, the provision of drop boxes or the rollout of automatic voter registration pose major risks to voting integrity.”

The Wall Street Journal ran an editorial on the RSLC initiative on Feb. 16, countering the view presented by The Post.

“As states reconsider their election rules in the wake of the pandemic, Democrats have begun shouting that voter suppression is on the march,” the editorial board wrote. “They stress ballot access but not ballot integrity. Both are important, as the Jimmy Carter-James Baker commission on federal election reform explained in 2005.”

“If the RSLC can deliver best practices, drawing from red and blue states and covering hot-button issues and mundane details like ballot preprocessing, it could give state lawmakers a good push in the right direction,” they argued.

Following the historic turnout and increased mail voting in 2020, Republican and Democrat lawmakers across the country have been pulling in opposite directions by introducing legislation that either reduces barriers—and guardrails—to voting or seeks to strengthen election integrity, which can also make casting a vote more effortful or burdensome.

The Brennan Center for Justice, an advocacy group that pushes for progressive policies, counted 106 bills in 28 states designed to tighten voting standards so far this year, a significant jump from last year. At the same time, 35 states introduced a total of 406 bills to make voting less restrictive, also up from last year.

Source: GOP Launches Election Integrity Push to Make it ‘Easier to Vote and Harder to Cheat’

2020 Election Fiasco Favored Dems, So Congress Is Trying To Make Sloppiness Permanent

2020 Election Fiasco Favored Democrats, So Now Congress Is Working To Make Sloppiness Permanent

A new congressional bill seeks to grant Democrats the power to overhaul state election processes and impose new regulations on political advertisements and donors, granting Congress “ultimate supervisory power over federal elections.”

https://www.scribd.com/document/494081104/117th-CONGRESS-1st-Session-H-R-1-as-Introduced

Democrats introduced the new 800-page “For The People Act of 2021” in early January with the hopes that their control in the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate would allow for swift passage of the bill. The legislation is packaged as an anti-corruption reform bill, marketed by its sponsors, corporate media outlets, and other activist institutions as a way to “expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, strengthen ethics rules for public servants.”

Some of the measures in the bill, however, include eliminating the opportunity for states to protect themselves against the modifications weaponized in the 2020 election, such as preventing restrictions on vote-by-mail and imposing voter ID laws.  Those measures also give the federal government control over political speech online by expanding the definition of electioneering communications and expose political and nonprofit donors’ information to the public in connection to the causes they support.

Critics of the legislation are cautioning against the bill’s attempts to overhaul election processes, saying it hurts Americans’ trust in the voting systems created by their states and infringes on their privacy as political donors.

One month after Democrat Rep. John Sarbanes of Maryland introduced the bill, a group of nine former Federal Elections Commission officials wrote a letter to congressional leadership urging them to consider the ramifications of the potential law on the bipartisan elections agency, including removing a member from the six-person body to gain “partisan control.”

“Proponents claim this radical change is necessary to prevent ‘deadlock’ on the Commission and assure efficient operations. This perception of perpetual deadlock is incorrect. … Political actors who violate campaign finance laws, and their partisans, are often quick to denounce enforcement as a ‘partisan witch hunt,’” the letter states. “The FEC’s bipartisan makeup is a direct response to this claim and is fundamental to public confidence in the system.”

A coalition letter led by People United For Privacy and signed by 130 organizations also expressed concerns with the bill’s provisions requiring federal record and public exposure of citizens’ private donations to nonprofits and other organizations, expanding the definition of “electioneering communications” to police online ads, and forcing the disclosure of past donations from political appointments.

“Our elections will not be more honest, more informed, or more secure from foreign interference if we sacrifice the privacy of American citizens. But our democracy will be weakened if voices are eliminated from public debate through intimidation and overregulation,” the letter states.

Not only would the various acts included in the legislation provide opportunities for harassment and bullying, some warn, but it would also impose “excessive” burdens on organizations that want to run political advertisements.

“It puts excessive regulation on these nonprofit organizations that they don’t currently have in terms of running ads and for smaller organizations, especially that have limited resources. This really just could kill their ability to advocate on the causes that they care about,” Heather Lauer, executive director for People United for Privacy, told The Federalist. “So those are kind of the things that we’re focused on, the things that impact an individual’s First Amendment rights as a donor as well as the things that impact the ability of nonprofit organizations to speak on behalf of donors on issues of importance.”

Source: 2020 Election Fiasco Favored Dems, So Congress Is Trying To Make Sloppiness Permanent