There’s a lot of myths surrounding the recent presidential election and voting in general. Whichever way you lean politically, we should be able to agree a lack of transparency led to rampant distrust in a system already rife with suspicion.
Last minute law changes, mail-in voting, fake addresses, poll watcher suppression, etc. may not have happened everywhere and may not have had an outsized effect on the final outcome, but it certainly tainted the legitimacy of the process.
You can blame Trump or whoever, but what happened on Jan. 6 at the nation’s capital had a lot to do with our leaders not even attempting to address legitimate concerns with election integrity.
As vitriolic as Democrats have been since then, shoring up holes in the voting process should be priority one. Instead, the House of Representatives just passed a bill, the dubiously named “For the People Act” or HR1, that removes many election safeguards under the myth of voter suppression.
The popular argument goes that Republicans and special interest groups want to make polling harder for some people, i.e. suppress the vote, while the freedom loving, patriotic Democrats just want Americans to be able to freely and easily exercise their civic duty.
Heaven knows the government, with its miles of red tape, loves complicating what should otherwise be simple processes. Voting in an election shouldn’t be hard, but that doesn’t mean it should be easy.
I’ve voted in three states over my lifetime. Each time, it was as simple as showing my driver’s license. If you need it to be easier than that, then you probably should not be voting. If you have a legitimate reason to vote absentee, it should be easy to verify your address. The COVID pandemic may have made for some unique cases, but that can no longer be an excuse going forward.
But the bill does more than allegedly make it easier to vote. In a joint letter with 19 other state attorney generals, Alabama AG Steve Marshall condemned HR1 as a gross overreach by the federal government since it would allow Congress “unprecedented and unconstitutional power” to control federal elections including mandating mail-in voting, requiring states to accept late ballots, overriding state voter-identification laws, and mandating that states conduct redistricting through unelected commissions.
That’s to say nothing of the other ridiculous provisions in the bill, which includes granting statehood to Washington, D.C.
Every law-abiding American citizen has the right to vote. That’s been true for a long time now. But are you 100% sure your ballot is counted, gets to where it’s supposed to go, and isn’t canceled out by some other illegitimate vote?
In any hidden system with ample motive to cheat and low chance of getting caught, we should expect a not insignificant number of people to fudge the numbers.
So don’t be gaslit into believing the last election was free and fair or that election integrity is code for voter suppression.
Every election is important, and lately, each one has felt more so than the last. Neither party is above cheating where it can, but the Democrats, with the full power of Washington at their disposal, have doubled their efforts to rig things in their favor. With a chance at reclaiming Congress in 2022, the next election really is the most important one for Republicans and equally so for Democrats wanting to retain power. No matter which side wins, it’s easier to be a good loser if you know it was a fair fight, which is why we all should push for a more secure and transparent election process. The “For the People Act” ain’t it.
Daniel Tayloris a news editor for The Reporter. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.