States Need To Restore Faith In America’s Elections. Here’s How To Make It Happen |
The Biden administration’s latest attempt to undermine election integrity by suing Arizona over the state’s newest election law reveals this administration’s total and utter incompetence.
House Bill 2492, a bill I sponsored, is common sense — it’s a data driven answer to the highly concerning trend of significant increases in the number of voters casting federal only ballots with no documentary proof of citizenship being verified. It is wholly reasonable and, more importantly, constitutional to enact laws preventing non-citizens from voting in our elections.
Arizona’s law simply requires “federal only voters,” those who are only eligible for casting a vote in federal elections, to provide documentary proof of citizenship to vote in Arizona elections.
Furthermore, the collection of materially important information such as place of birth during the voter registration process as recommended by the bipartisan Election Assistance Commission, will help Arizona obtain evidence of citizenship on an applicant’s behalf so they can, if eligible, vote in all elections — not just those for federal office.
HB 2492 is part of a larger package of election integrity measures Arizona adopted following the 2020 presidential election. Our state’s reforms are guided by the philosophy that it should be “easy to vote and hard to cheat.”
To restore integrity to our elections and voter faith in the outcomes, I propose the following reforms be adopted by every state.
Election Day, Not Election Month
This would go a long way toward ending the endless vote counting that we saw in states such as Pennsylvania, Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia two years ago. It would put an end to the practice of “ballot harvesting,” in which political operatives collect absentee ballots from voters’ homes and drop them off at a polling place or election office.
This would also help curtail ballot trafficking, in which individuals stuff ballot boxes under the cover of darkness and with no oversight or accountability.
Clean Up Voter Rolls
Voters see it as a key job of state leaders to maintain up-to-date accurate voter registration rolls. Eighty-two percent of Arizonian voters say that their state should be doing more in this regard. Recent polling from Rasmussen shows that 85% of national voters at least somewhat support requiring states to clean voter rolls by removing people who have died or moved from the voter registration lists. Sixty-eight percent strongly support this. That is the highest support for any of the election integrity proposals polled.
Further, a recent report from the Public Interest Legal Foundation raises concerns about dead people on the voting rolls. The group reports that 7,933 people were still registered to vote in 2020 in North Carolina “long after death.” One example involved a World War II veteran named Hoyle Helms who died in 1997.
“Following his death, he remained on the voter rolls for nearly 25 years,” according to the PILF report. “He is not an outlier. Mary Coleman died in 2003 and remained active on the state’s voter rolls for nearly two decades. These examples were not removed by officials until 2021, despite their deaths roughly 20 years ago.”
A 2021 Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey found that 75% of likely voters believe in showing a photo ID to obtain a ballot. Only 21% are opposed to such a requirement. In Arizona, that number is even higher, 83% think showing a photo ID is a reasonable requirement to protect election integrity.
President Joe Biden told Georgians last year that their newly adopted voter ID law was an attempt by Republicans “to suppress your vote, to subvert our elections.”
In May, Georgia held its first primary under its new election law and saw record turnout. Far from suppressing the vote, early voting came in at nearly triple Georgia’s 2018 level.
As a state lawmaker, I am proud of how states are stepping up to adopt reforms to protect their elections. As in so many other aspects fundamental to the preservation of our Republic, we must look to the states for leadership.
The foundation of trust in our system of representative democracy is the ability to conduct free and fair elections. If voters do not trust the outcomes, or feel that their vote doesn’t count or matter, then our entire system of government is at risk.
The time is now to restore citizens’ faith in elections. We believe the simple steps we outline above are an excellent start.
Jake Hoffman represents the 12th District in the Arizona House of Representatives where he serves as the vice chair of the House Committee on Government and Election, and was recognized as the 2021 National Legislator of the Year.
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