Is ensuring election integrity anti-democratic?

Of course not. Yet Democrats and their media allies insist that it is.

Take for example, the lead article in the Washington Post’s Sunday Outlook section. It’s by Sam Rosenfeld, an associate professor at Colgate University. Rosenfeld claims that democracy is “on the brink of disaster” in America. As evidence, he moans that “in 2021, Republican state legislatures passed new restrictions on voting access.”

But these restrictions tend to ensure election integrity, a sine qua non of a well-functioning democracy. Rosenfeld fails to show otherwise. He doesn’t even address the measures in question.

In an article for Imprimis, published by Hilldale College, John Lott shows what should be obvious — that ensuring election integrity is pro-democratic. He begins by noting that, until recently, this view was not controversial:

Sixteen years ago, in 2005, the Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform issued a report that proposed a uniform system of requiring a photo ID in order to vote in U.S. elections. The report also pointed out that widespread absentee voting makes vote fraud more likely. Voter files contain ineligible, duplicate, fictional, and deceased voters, a fact easily exploited using absentee ballots to commit fraud. Citizens who vote absentee are more susceptible to pressure and intimidation. And vote-buying schemes are far easier when citizens vote by mail.

The “Carter” on this commission was Jimmy, the former president. Others Democrats on the commission were former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and former Indiana Congressman Lee Hamilton.

Far from viewing photo ID requirements and concerns about absentee ballots as anti-democratic, these leading Democrats understood that they promote democracy and that it’s anti-democratic to hold elections without safeguards against fraud.

Jimmy Carter has since renounced the common sense views he held in 2005. And Joe Biden has gone so far as to suggest that requiring voter IDs would mean returning people to slavery.

But Lott points out that, according to a recent Rasmussen survey, 80 percent of Americans support a voter ID requirement. In a sense, it’s anti-democratic not to have a requirement for something as fundamental voting that 80 percent of the “democracy” favors.

Lott also looks at European voting requirements. He finds:

Of the 47 countries in Europe today, 46 of them currently require government-issued photo IDs to vote. The odd man out is the United Kingdom, in which Northern Ireland and many localities require voter IDs, but the requirement is not nationwide. The British Parliament, however, is considering a nationwide requirement, so very soon all 47 European countries will likely have adopted this common-sense policy.

Is all of Europe anti-democratic? Of course not.

Lott goes on to show that most of Europe does not permit absentee voting for citizens living in the country. England used to have absentee voting rules similar to ours, but changed them after uncovering massive fraud and ballot harvesting in 2004. At that point, it ended the practice of mailing out absentee ballots, and required voters to pick up their ballots in person with a photo ID.

Something very similar occurred in France, except that, as a result of the fraud uncovered there, it ended absentee voting altogether. My wife exercises her right to vote in French elections by appearing in person at polling stations in the U.S.

Canada also requires a photo ID to vote. According to Lott, if a voter shows up at the polls without an ID, he is allowed to vote only if he declares who he is in writing and if there is someone working at the polling station who can personally verify his identity.

Mexico too has adopted strict voter ID measures and banned absentee voting even for citizens living outside the country. It did so, says Lott, partly because its leaders were concerned about a drop in foreign investment due to the perception that, as a result of voting fraud, Mexico wasn’t a legitimate democracy. Voter participation in Mexico has increased since the nation adopted measures to combat election fraud.

Meanwhile, Democrats push in the opposite direction. In effect, they want America to trade places with Mexico as it was before it cracked down on corruption and fraud.

A key element in this anti-democratic agenda is mail-in voting. As Lott points out:

Mail-in voting. . .is even worse, in terms of vote fraud, than absentee voting. With absentee voting, a person at least has to request a ballot. With mail-in voting—as we saw in too many places in the 2020 election—ballots are simply mailed out to everyone.

With loose absentee voting rules, a country is making itself vulnerable to vote fraud. With mail-in voting, a country is almost begging for vote fraud.

(Emphasis added)

The U.S. isn’t bound by the voting practices of Europe and our two closest neighbors. But it’s ridiculous to claim that voting restrictions that prevail in nearly all of these countries are anti-democratic.

These common sense restrictions are intended to, and do, promote election integrity. Promoting election integrity can’t anti-democratic.

Therefore, Lott is spot on when he concludes:

Those opposing common sense measures to ensure integrity in U.S. elections—measures such as those recommended by the bipartisan Carter-Baker Commission in 2005—are not motivated by a concern for democracy, but by partisan interests.

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