TIPP Insights: Restore voter integrity – save American democracy

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By TIPPINSIGHTS EDITORIAL BOARD, TIPP Insights

As the J6 Committee drags on with the liberal media in tow, Americans who wonder what led to the events of that horrible day have been marginalized to their living rooms. The Left’s mantra (a Sanskrit word that stresses repetition as a technique to memorize), has perfected the chant: There was no widespread evidence of voter fraud in 2020.

We will never know for certain, because the partisan J6 Committee deliberately rejected investigating fraud claims to keep the chant alive. It does not mean, however, that massive irregularities did not happen.

Unlike most other democracies, America doesn’t have a centralized Election Commission to conduct elections. A country that strongly hews to the idea of state’s rights, America depends upon the 50 states to run every aspect of a federal election.

More than 150 million Americans voted in 2020. Each vote fell into one of three buckets – early votes, mail-in ballots, and Election Day ballots. President Biden led in the first two buckets. President Trump dominated the third.

In-person early voting and Election-Day voting systems in America are secure and world-class. After voters authenticate themselves via a photo-ID that matches their name and address with voter rolls, they are directed to an Electronic Voting Machine (EVM). The EVM prints out a paper copy that the voter takes to a separate computer system where the paper copy is scanned. If the primary EVM system fails, the backup system still has the vote electronically captured. If the backup system also fails, election officials can always retrieve the paper copy, securely stored, and complete the count by hand.

It was this confidence that led the Obama administration, which launched a series of interagency investigations into the Trump-Russia collusion hoax, all of which later proved untrue, to say of the 2016 election three weeks after that vote: The results “accurately reflect the will of the American people.”

Before 2020, even the mail-in ballot processes were secure. Issues were rare given the small proportion of total votes cast by mail that would be unlikely to tip an election’s outcome. Who could vote by mail was also well defined: military service  personnel, those who are abroad to further American commerce, voters who would be away at a vacation home, or those who are in a hospital or hospice, unable to travel to the voting booth.

In some states with low population densities, such as Washington, Colorado, and Oregon, voters have onlycast their ballots by mail. Operating polling stations in vast rural areas is inefficient and ineffective. These states have invested in state-of-the-art equipment and staff training to safely conduct elections by mail. They keep voter rolls well updated by linking it with other government agencies. When a voter moves or dies, the county will automatically send an update to the state’s Secretary of State to delete the voter from the rolls.

What changed in 2020 was the number of people who voted absentee in states that had little experience with no-excuse mail-in balloting. In the heat of the Covid pandemic, nationwide riots protesting George Floyd, and the Left’s entrenched desire to defeat President Trump, Democrat operatives pushed through unprecedented changes for increasing mail-in balloting and drop boxes.

But advocating for open changes in policy – so that the average voter was aware – was one thing. Pushing through changes in the middle of the night, without adequate media coverage or public scrutiny, was another.  The J6 Committee should have looked into irregularities caused by these changes.

In states they controlled (like New Jersey), Democrats had the laws changed to send absentee ballots to every registered voter. In Nevada, the regulations to allow universal mail-in ballots were changed just 80 days before the election. In states where the Left had no legislative control (Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wisconsin), they filed over 145 lawsuits alleging that Covid shutdowns would disproportionately disenfranchise minorities and other communities of color. The list of remedies they sought were relaxed rules to accept late mail-in ballots and eliminating restrictions to verify ballot signatures against voter rolls.

Governments are generally slow, understaffed, and unable to handle significant changes especially when pushed through in short time frames. Even the IRS, one of the best-funded federal agencies, has admitted that it is experiencing an 18-month backlog in handling paper tax returns. Then, how can we expect a state to authenticate millions of paper ballots when systems and training are not yet in place? Especially when Covid caused many state employees to work from home? The J6 Committee owed it to Americans to look into these questions.

President Trump was wrong to insist that the 2020 election was stolen from him. President Trump was right to suggest that too many last-minute changes crippled the election infrastructure in numerous states, leading to questionable results. Even some Democrats and Independents would have been open to this line.

Restoring voter integrity in our elections should have been one of the mandates of the J6 Committee, although elections are a matter for the states. In the absence of Congressional action, kudos are due to numerous states, such as Georgia and Texas, that have correctly stepped in to fix election laws. And contrary to the Left’s claims that these reforms were worse than Jim Crow 2.0, primary elections this season, in these states, were nearly flawless. Missouri became the latest state to pass common-sense voter laws that the public supports. Require voter ID; no drop boxes; two weeks of no-excuse in-person absentee balloting, but ballots must be submitted to the local election officials; and outlawing Zuck Bucks.

Following guidance memos from the state elections commission, at least 528 ballot drop boxes were set up in Wisconsin in 2020. The Wisconsin Supreme Court recently ruled 4-3 that such drop boxes are illegal.

Fraud may or may not have occurred in 2020. We will never know. But states are correct to return to the robust pre-2020 election infrastructure further updated to strengthen systems and improve access. Nothing is more critical to protecting the principles of liberal democracy.

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