Issues & Insights

Using COVID-19 Crisis, Democrats Seek Radical Changes In How U.S. Votes

Once again letting no good crisis go to waste, Democrats in Congress recently tried to use the coronavirus stimulus bill to achieve one of their longtime objectives: Mail-in ballots for everyone, opening the possibility for massive voting fraud, abuse and stolen elections. President Donald Trump is right to oppose this awful idea.

To hear Democrats tell it, you’d think it’s a pro-voter initiative meant to foster participation by those who don’t vote or can’t during the pandemic. It’s no such thing.

Mass mail-in votes are the easiest way to run a fraudulent election and deprive legitimate voters of their actual right to vote. Democrats seem determined not just to “extend the franchise,” but to make it easier to cheat.

Just last week, Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear vetoed a law that would have required Kentuckians to show some ID before they vote. We require an ID for everything from buying a six-pack of beer to cashing a check. But somehow, the reasoning goes, requiring an ID for voting infringes on people’s voting rights.

Mail-In Voting For All?

Last Friday, at his coronavirus update, Trump was asked if he would support the push for a mail-in election. Trump was his usual blunt self: “No, because I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting. I think people should vote with ID, voter ID. I think voter ID is very important, and the reason they don’t want voter ID is because they intend to cheat.”

Democrats say because of coronavirus lockdowns, the 2020 presidential election should be by mail. Don’t worry, email will be next.

It’s a fact that mail-in votes are already part of many states’ election law. The National Conference of State Legislatures recently noted that five states states have moved to holding elections entirely by mail. They include Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah. Twenty-one other states allow it under specific circumstances or for small, local elections.

The mechanics are simple: If you’re a registered voter, you receive a ballot in the mail. You fill it out. You put it in a secure envelope. You send it back in and it gets counted. Simple.

Except there are major problems with this “simple” idea.

For one thing, mail-in votes are rejected at roughly twice the rate of typical ballots due to irregularities. Even the New York Times recognized this as far back as 2012, citing “error and fraud” as problems associated with voting by mail.

“There is a bipartisan consensus that voting by mail, whatever its impact, is more easily abused than other forms,” the Times wrote.

Indeed, a 2005 report by the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform, headed by former President Jimmy Carter and James A. Baker III, President George H.W. Bush’s secretary of state, determined that “Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.”

Hijacking Votes And ‘Grannie Farming’

These concerns aren’t merely hypothetical. A number of recent elections, including those in North Carolina and Texas, were subverted by political operatives hijacking mail-in votes.

As an example of this, the Times piece cited above noted the foul practice of “grannie farming.”

“Voters in nursing homes can be subjected to subtle pressure, outright intimidation or fraud,” the Times report said. “The secrecy of their voting is easily compromised. And their ballots can be intercepted both coming and going.”

Other forms of possible vote farming are equally odious. Perhaps the most infamous instance of suspected vote farming was in the 2008 senatorial race in Minnesota, pitting Republican Sen. Norm Coleman against neophyte Democratic politician and former comedian Al Franken.

Minnesota’s Franken Farce

The vote was close: Coleman held a slim 729 vote lead out of more than 2.9 million cast as the next day dawned, making him the winner.

Byron York of the Washington Examiner, writing in 2012, describes what happened next:

“Franken and his Democratic allies dispatched an army of lawyers to challenge the results,” York wrote. “After the first canvass, Coleman’s lead was down to 206 votes. That was followed by months of wrangling and litigation. In the end, Franken was declared the winner by 312 votes. He was sworn into office in July 2009, eight months after the election.”

Not only did the Dems keep “finding” more votes, some 1,099 felons were identified as having voted as well. That’s far more than the margin of victory. Imagine an all mail-in vote, rife with opportunities to cheat.

And Franken’s win proved to have huge consequences: Minnesota’s new senator was the 60th vote needed to pass ObamaCare, making it filibuster-proof. All Americans are still living with that.

With national mail-in voting and its vastly increased potential for fraud, such stunning and frankly questionable come-from-behind election wins will soon become routine. That will further erode Americans’ confidence in their electoral system, if that’s even possible.

What’s strange today is that while Democrats claim mass mail-in voting will extend the franchise to more voters, they oppose reasonable ideas such as removing ineligible voters from the rolls and and requiring voters to show an ID.

Using Stimulus To Rock The Vote

Indeed, in the recent stimulus bill, the Speaker Nancy Pelosi-led Democrats sought radical voting reforms that would have cheapened Americans’ votes and made fraud more likely than ever.

Pelosi suggested she needs $4 billion to “really democratize our whole system.” That’s a scary thought.

The Pelosi plan would in fact lead to a hopelessly corrupt system, ultimately establishing a de facto one-party rule. It’s already happened in California, where “progressive” voting rules are so lax virtually anyone can cast a vote and have it counted. The big joke in California political circles is that no Republican can win a close race because of recounts where more votes for Democrats are always “discovered” at the last minute.

As for the Democrats’ proposed changes, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell summed it up best: “General changes would usurp states’ Article I rights to determine election procedures, remove voter ID requirements, and provide vote harvesters with the ability to collect and deliver as many absentee ballots as they could fit in a moving truck.”

That’s quite a list.

Worse, Pelosi’s plan would end the current practice of sending ballots to registered U.S. military troops with their names on them and their states of residence. Instead, those serving overseas would get blank ballots, a recipe for fraud and voter theft and the further disenfranchising of America’s service men and women.

So much for bolstering the right to vote. But then again, remember, in 2016, veterans voted 61% for Trump, 34% for Hillary Clinton, exit polls show.

No, we’re not saying there should be no mail-in voting at all. There are some cases where mail-in votes can’t be avoided. But it has no place in any kind of radical reshaping of our electoral system, as Democrats have proposed.

Real reform should begin with requiring voters to show up at the ballot box already registered to vote and with a valid ID That’s the most secure form of voting, and the most fair. Indeed, it’s the only real way we can guarantee the integrity of our elections and our basic right to vote.

Don’t let politicians hijack our voting system. Mail-in voting for all, as put forth by Pelosi & Co., would be the beginning of the end for our republic.

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Issues & Insights is a new site formed by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

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