With many eyes focused on the 2024 presidential election, issues of election integrity are again coming to the forefront of the national conversation, as they should. Without fair, honest, and secure elections, we can’t sustain our democratic republic.
Because the Framers of our Constitution placed primary responsibility on the states to administer and set out the rules and procedures that apply in our elections, that’s where most battles over election integrity have been—and will continue to be—fought.
Fortunately, the citizens of many states, their legislators, and even judges who hear challenges to recent commonsense election reforms all are starting to understand the importance of safe and secure elections.
For instance, the citizens of Louisiana overwhelmingly voted Oct. 14, by a margin of 72.6% to 27.4%, to prohibit private or foreign funding to administer and conduct elections.
The voters’ decision bans the so-called Zuck Bucks that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg donated, via a pass-through nonprofit, to many local election officials during the 2020 cycle.
Of course, the entity charged with distributing these supposedly nonpartisan grants “consistently gave bigger grants and more money per capita to counties that voted for [Joe] Biden” that year, according to the Washington-based Capital Research Center.
In essence, this private funding moved the get-out-the-vote campaigns of the Democrat Party into official government offices to manipulate turnout and election results.
Among other actions, the bill provides additional safeguards for the absentee voting process. It will require any absentee ballots to arrive by the close of polling places on Election Day in order to be counted. It also will provide greater access for election observers to monitor what’s happening at local polls.
Cooper apparently also didn’t like the fact that the new North Carolina law makes local election boards bipartisan, which the governor termed a “threat” to democracy because it takes away the governor’s partisan control of local election administrators.
In Georgia, a federal judge declined to issue a preliminary injunction against or halt enforcement of, a law passed by the Legislature, which enacted several election integrity measures. The judge found that those bringing the challenge were not substantially likely to succeed in showing that the new Georgia law intentionally discriminated against black voters. According to Courthouse News Service:
… the groups sought to enjoin enforcement of five provisions of the law, which govern the use and availability of drop boxes, prohibit the distribution of food, drinks, and other gifts to voters waiting in line at polling places, set a deadline for submitting applications to vote absentee, prohibit out-of-precinct provisional voting before 5 p.m., and require absentee ballots to include the voter’s drivers license or state identification card number.
Despite Biden’s arguing that laws such as these are “Jim Crow 2.0,” voter turnout during the last election doesn’t support that claim. And thankfully, the judge recognized the legal infirmities of these claims, too, which included his labeling some statistical evidence presented by the challengers as “misleading.”
A review of similar laws passed by Florida’s Legislature around the same time also found no adverse impacts on blacks or other minorities.
Finally, in Tennessee, a law prohibiting third parties from passing out the state’s official form requesting an absentee ballot can remain on the books. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit rightly rejected a challenge to this law.
Several groups had argued that Tennessee’s prohibition on passing out the forms violated their First Amendment rights. But a majority of the panel of judges that heard the challenge noted that this wasn’t the case, since the distribution of forms qualifies only as conduct and not speech, and that the state had a legitimate interest in avoiding voter confusion.
Although all of this is good news, it’s important to remain vigilant. Last month, Pennsylvania’s governor, Democrat Josh Shapiro, said he “implemented automatic voter registration [to] save taxpayers money and streamline the voter registration process,” without any apparent legal authority to do so.
But despite the assurances of Shapiro and Pennsylvania election officials, past experiences with this type of registration shows, in the words of a Heritage Foundation report, that it “could result in the registration of large numbers of ineligible voters as well as multiple or duplicate registrations of the same individuals.” It also “presents a sure formula for registration and voter fraud that could damage the integrity of elections,” the report said.
Moreover, Pennsylvania is the same place where the secretary of state, Democrat Pedro Cortés, was forced to resign some years ago after his office admitted that a glitch in the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles system allowed illegal aliens to register to vote for decades. However, the state so far has successfully refused to disclose how many aliens registered and voted.
As time ticks away and the next presidential election quickly approaches, many more election integrity fights loom on the horizon.
Again, although there’s a lot of good news for now, Pennsylvania’s efforts show that it’s important to remain vigilant.
As we move through 2023 and into the next election cycle, The Prickly Pear will resume Take Action recommendations and information.