The Democrat War on Election Integrity Continues - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Democrat War on Election Integrity Continues

Until a couple of decades ago, voting in the United States was a straightforward exercise that required registered voters to appear at local polling places on Election Day and cast their ballots in person. A small number were permitted to vote absentee if they were stationed overseas in the military or could show that they were otherwise unable to get to the polls. This system, with minor variations, was used in all 50 states and revealed the winners of most elections with alacrity. Though not perfect, it was generally efficient, secure, and trusted by the vast majority of voters.

Nonetheless, in the late 1990s, the Democrats began pushing for a number of fundamental changes to this system. They insisted that it contained all manner of “flaws,” but the actual impetus for “reform” was their decreasing ability to win majorities in federal and state elections. From 1980 through 2004, for example, no Democratic presidential nominee received a majority of the popular vote. Not even Bill Clinton managed to reach 50 percent in either of his White House bids. Meanwhile, in 1994, the Democrats lost control of Congress, and they were losing control of state legislatures and governorships at alarming rates.

Consequently, the new millennium ushered in a big Democratic push for the least-secure alternative to the voting model described above: all-mail elections. Oregon was the first state to enact such a system in 2000. Now, eight states have all-mail elections — California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Washington. All but one have become Democratic fiefdoms in which Republican candidates for public office rarely win. Moreover, the inefficiency with which they manage their elections is shocking. California sets the standard for sloppiness, according to a report from the Public Interest Legal Foundation:

After accounting for polling place votes and rejected ballots in November 2022, there were more than 10 million ballots left outstanding, meaning [California] election officials do not know what happened to them. It is fair to assume that the bulk of these were ignored or ultimately thrown out by the intended recipients. But, under mass mail elections, we can only assume what happened. Mail voting practices have an insurmountable information gap. The public cannot know how many ballots were disregarded, delivered to wrong mailboxes, or even withheld from the proper recipient by someone at the same address.

Most of the all-mail election states are more efficient than California, but they all have systemic problems. According to a New York Times report, “Auditors in Washington State found that the mail ballots of Black voters were being rejected at four times the rate of white voters.” The Associated Press reveals that Oregon — more than 20 years after enacting all-mail elections — was still struggling to make the system work during the 2022 midterms. Colorado touts its all-mail election system as the “gold standard,” yet it has created disparities that mirror those produced in Washington state, according to an audit by CPR News.

If the Democrats had any interest in election integrity, the chaos created by all-mail elections would cause them to hesitate before meddling further with the election system. Instead, they are aggressively promoting yet another and even more chaotic “improvement” to the system: ranked-choice voting (RCV). Their reason for doing so was illustrated by the results of Alaska’s experiment with this convoluted process during the 2022 midterms — a state where Democrats constitute only 12 percent of registered voters and which Donald Trump won by 10 percent in 2020 somehow ended up electing a Democrat to the House of Representatives.

Seem perverse? That’s RCV: Voters rank every candidate in a given race from his first choice to his last. If no candidate wins a majority on the first ballot, the one with the fewest votes is eliminated, the ballots on which that candidate had been ranked first are changed to the second choice, and the votes are recounted. This process continues until one candidate achieves a majority. In the Alaska House race, this went on until Democrat Mary Peltola broke through the 50 percent mark 16 days after Election Day. This isn’t what Alaskans voted for in the ballot initiative that created RCV, writes the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel:

Two years ago, left-leaning outside groups quietly funded Alaska liberals (posing under the vanilla title Alaskans for Better Elections) backing a ballot initiative to do away with the state’s perfectly good election system. It was replaced with a “top four” primary and a ranked-choice general election. Most Alaskans didn’t know what they were voting for, since the initiative was a mind-numbing 25 pages of single type, and its boosters tucked the voting part into the garble. The initiative instead led with a provision claiming it would eliminate “dark money” (doubly offensive given its own cloaked funding).

Consequently, there is already a grassroots organization called “Alaskans for Honest Elections” gathering signatures for the purpose of adding an initiative on the 2024 ballot to repeal RCV. There are also multiple RCV repeal bills being prepared by Alaska legislators, according to a report in the Anchorage Daily News: “Republican Reps. Sarah Vance and George Rauscher have legislation ready in the House of Representatives to repeal those changes; Wasilla Republican Sen. Mike Shower is set to introduce the same legislation in the state Senate.” These lawmakers have heard from countless constituents confused by RCV.

Alaska’s experiment suggests that, for the Democrats, voter confusion on RCV is a feature rather than a bug. Either way, there is little doubt that they are pushing hard to get it implemented in as many states as possible. NBC News reports, “Just two weeks into 2023, lawmakers in 14 states have introduced, filed and prefiled 27 bills that propose various iterations of ranked-choice voting … ranked-choice voting is clearly on the rise.” Proposals are being put forward in California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Virginia, Vermont, and Wyoming.

All of which is very bad news for election integrity. The combination of all-mail voting and ranked-choice voting will make the election process less transparent while rendering it unnecessarily complicated and protracted. It will increase opportunities for fraud while coercing Americans to “rank” fringe candidates they would never support under normal circumstances. There is a reason the Democrats want to “reform” the traditional in-person voting system described in the first paragraph — they were losing. Republicans must recognize this and effectively respond. The survival of the republic may well depend on it.

David Catron
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David Catron is a recovering health care consultant and frequent contributor to The American Spectator. You can follow him on Twitter at @Catronicus.
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