Opinion

If You Can Go to the Grocery Store, You Can Go to the Polls

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Posted: Jun 05, 2020 10:00 AM
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
If You Can Go to the Grocery Store, You Can Go to the Polls

Source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

There is a coordinated movement to abandon in-person voting for mail-in ballots. Some on the left are taking advantage of the pandemic to force a solution for a problem that does not exist and create conditions ripe for vote fraud. 

Democrats across the country are using COVID-19 as an excuse to send ballots to people who have not requested absentee ballots—both active and inactive voters on voting rolls that often have not been updated by removing relocated or deceased voters. 

New voting procedures pushed by Speaker Pelosi and some state leaders are clearly unnecessary from a public health perspective. If we can go to the grocery store, we can vote in person. 

Last-minute insertions into the Senate’s coronavirus relief bill by House Democrats would have imposed permanent changes to election protocols that would enable vote fraud. 

Demands by Democrats included making absentee voting universal, prohibiting “identification to obtain an absentee ballot,” allowing “another person” to drop off unlimited absentee ballots, ensuring provisional ballots are always counted (rendering them no longer “provisional”), and providing “blank” (no printed name) absentee ballots to citizens and military overseas. These changes would destroy the nation’s ability to maintain voting security and individual preferences of voters. 

Unsuccessful in achieving these changes through Congress, the left simply moved their efforts to states where they are quickly moving to change the security of American elections forever. Some misguided or weak Republicans are going along. 

While many insist election fraud is non-existent, ACRU and ACRU Action have been tracking and fighting election fraud for many years. ACRU has sued many counties that refuse to clean up voter rolls.

Mail-in ballots should be tightly controlled and have extremely limited use. They have been shown time and again to be difficult for officials to manage—and convenient vehicles for vote fraud. Recent examples, such as in Harris County, Texas and the recent indictment of a U.S. Postal worker in West Virginia for tampering with mail-in ballots are just the tip of the iceberg. 

Mail-in voting also makes vote fraud via double voting much easier. ACRU Senior Fellow and Heritage Foundation Senior Legal Fellow Hans von Spakovsky recently exposed incidents of double voting in an editorial: 

“Charles Eugene Cartier Jr. of New Hampshire just pled guilty to double voting in the 2016 general election, voting first in New Hampshire and then again in neighboring Massachusetts. He was the fourth person found guilty of duplicate voting in New Hampshire just in the last year…Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has referred 18 cases of duplicate voting in his state to appropriate prosecutors—all discovered through the state’s participation in the Electronic Registration Information Center.”

ACRU was so concerned about fraudulent ballot harvesting in our nation’s senior residential facilities that we started a new initiative, Protect Elderly Votes, to protect vulnerable citizens from those who wish to defraud them of their votes by filling out their absentee ballots with the activist’s choice and not the senior’s choice.

The left maintains we can go to Walmart and Home Depot, but cannot make it to the polls because of coronavirus. This is absurd. The U.S. handled voting during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic and other countries, with far fewer resources, have handled even greater threats while maintaining in-person voting.

ACRU Action board member Ambassador J. Kenneth Blackwell is also a board member of the bipartisan International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). While IFES is not involved in domestic elections, it is recognized internationally as a thought leader in election administration.

As Amb. Blackwell recently recounted, “In 2014, as Ebola virus raged in West Africa, the country of Liberia was slated to hold a crucial election. Some argued that in-person voting should be suspended, but that could have thrown the legitimacy of the results into question due to the mere possibility of widespread fraud. Instead, IFES helped develop protocols for voters and poll workers that kept them safe while allowing Liberians to participate in a free, fair, and in-person election.”

“Maintaining electoral continuity is important to protecting voting integrity. If the rules of the game change at the last minute — especially in a way that even seems to benefit one political party over its opposition — democracy itself is cheapened and delegitimized.”

“If Liberia was able to safely hold an in-person election amid an Ebola outbreak, there is no reason we cannot do so here in the United States in the wake of this pandemic. It will take planning, resources, and carefully developed protocols, but adhering to our existing set of electoral rules is well worth the effort.”

America has resources and institutional knowledge to make in-person voting work. There is no reason for American legislators to run scared. It is time to renew our commitment to free, fair, and secure in-person elections. 

Lori Roman is president of the American Constitutional Rights Union, a non-partisan, non-profit public policy organization dedicated to protecting the constitutionally-protected civil rights of all Americans.