Let us get a few things clear, as 2022 is fast upon us. Election integrity is critical for the survival of the Republic. That is why the Wall Street Journal and ACLU oppose S.1 – a sham act aimed at unconstitutionally gaming elections. That is why so many states – the latest Florida – are protecting citizens’ votes with tailored, integrity-assuring, universally empowering legislation. Recent facts make the point – poignantly.
First, election fraud is real and is a felony. The law is clear. Dozens of types of election fraud exist. Recent years record more than 1,000 election fraud convictions, including from 2020. That is not partisan politics, just a fact. The flip side is those who deny potential election fraud endanger our Republic and raise the question – why? See, e.g., https://www.justice.gov/usao-nh/pr/federal-election-fraud-fact-sheet; https://www.heritage.org/voterfraud; https://chicago.suntimes.com/2021/3/9/22321960/election-fraud-charges-dupage-county; https://cnsnews.com/commentary/hans-von-spakovsky/heres-what-election-fraud-deniers-dont-want-you-know.
Second, the right to vote seems a small matter. It is not. It is the foundational right and foundational obligation of every citizen. The exercise of all rights depend on conscientious exercise – and full protection – of this right. Free and fair elections legitimize a Republic; votes cast freely and fairly by citizens legitimize elections. Citizens would rightly question the Republic absent free and fair elections; elections are properly questioned if votes are not freely and fairly cast and counted.
Third, preventing election fraud is not about encouraging citizens to vote but assuring that non-citizens, dead citizens, and other non-legal voting practices are disallowed while assuring all legal, eligible, interested citizens are able to vote. Minimizing illegality and maximizing access precede any push for participation. Civic participation must be legal; illegal participation is inherently wrong.
Fourth, a modern trope, or shallow partisan push-back against voter integrity laws, is a slur-like allegation that states seeking to protect against unconstitutional federal overreach, blunt abuses within the electoral process, assure only state citizens vote, minimize voter fraud, undue influence, and intimidation – are guilty of “voter suppression,” which is Democrat code for racism.
The irony, of course, is that the most profoundly racist “voter suppression” laws ever passed – upended by a Republican President, Republican Congresses, and Republicans on the federal bench – were pushed by Southern Democrats. To be crystal clear – as a matter of incontrovertible American history – Democrats controlled every state legislature in the “Solid South” from 1876 to the 1960s and passed all those repulsive, repressive, voter suppression laws. That was the doing of Democrats, not of Republicans. See, e.g., https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solid_South.
Despite modern rewrites, Republicans were first out of the box on Civil Rights, led by Eisenhower’s 1957 and 1960 Civil Rights Acts. Democrats, including then-Senator Lyndon Johnson, bitterly fought these advances. When the 1960 Act finally became law, 81 percent of Republicans voted for it, only 59 percent of Democrats. The chronology of Republican leadership is powerful, persuasive, undeniable. See https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/07/republicans_led_the_way_on_civil_rights.html; https://historynewsnetwork.org/blog/22526; and https://www.investmentwatchblog.com/a-list-of-accomplishments-by-republicans-that-democrats-have-tried-to-defeat-civil-rights-dont-fall-for-obama-lies/.
Moreover, these laws were nothing like the voter integrity laws being legitimately passed to prevent legal abuses and manipulate the modern electoral process. They were laws that pushed poll taxes, roadblocks, educational and literacy tests, grandfathering, and race-based gerrymandering.
So, just as the liberal media and anti-Republican left have mischaracterized other voter integrity laws, they have just done the same with Florida’s reaffirmation of election integrity. Perhaps the most poignant comeback was from the Wall Street Journal’s ever-laconic editors. Not knowing where to begin, they started with humor. “The fury at Florida’s new voting law calls to mind the old one-liner about déjà vu all over again. Didn’t we already do this outrage cycle in Georgia?” See, https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-facts-on-floridas-election-law-11621635890?st=9kusquuo3vnc6av&reflink=article_email_share.
They pivoted to the fact, a sound strategy when fighting fiction. “Florida’s new law says voters requesting a mail ballot must provide a state ID number or the last four digits of a Social Security number,” a move “hardly … insurmountable,” as met by anything from passports to “photo IDs from schools, retirement centers, government employers and public-assistance programs.” The idea is to know who is voting.
Then they note Floridians used to request ballots four years out, now have asked up to two years out – clearly a way of assuring voters are resident and alive. The left calls this “double the work,” suggesting a rather low work standard. The Journal dubs this “a hilariously low opinion of voters” – two phone calls over four years, not one.
The Florida bill also calls for drop boxes for absentee ballots, daily collection, assuring they are monitored (against fraud), and “geographically located” to give all voters an “equal opportunity to cast a ballot.” They note that – dare the left to be reminded – “the ultimate drop boxes are the blue ones labeled ‘United States Postal Service’ and there are 4,361 in Florida, the USPS says.”
The point, in short: Assuring election integrity is not about voter suppression, racism, left versus right, urban versus rural, or intimidation – as in the old Democrat days. It is not about gaming the electoral system, setting up a one-party Federal Election Commission, suspending voter identification, allowing 16-year-olds, state and federal felons, illegal aliens, out-of-precinct, duplicate, or dead voting. It is about a simple idea, one central to the Republic – election integrity.
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