by Ned Ryun
For those of us who are sane responsible citizens with some modicum of moral and ethical standards, it is time to admit that our electoral system is a complete and utter mess.
What has transpired since November 3 does not take place in serious, advanced societies. It’s what takes place in countries teetering on the edge of becoming banana republics, in which elections are more an opioid for the masses than they are a means to the end of self-government. Our elections now seem designed to give people the impression that their voices and votes matter when in fact nothing could be further from the truth.
We should understand that currently the United States is most assuredly outside the norm when it comes to election integrity. Canada, and for that matter, most of Europe and other developed nations around the world have put measures in place to ensure that their leaders are elected in free and fair elections. If we are smart and still a self-respecting people, we will take the next four years to do the same.
Most of the countries we should emulate—countries like France, Canada, and Germany—begin working from the premise that the more complex the voting system is, the easier it is to hack and manipulate. That is why so many modern nations around the world have outlawed electronic voting machines (EVMs) in favor of good, old-fashioned paper ballots.
In 2009, Germany’s Supreme Court ruled that voting through “EVMs was unconstitutional, holding that transparency is a constitutional right but efficiency is not a constitutionally protected value.” Germany is not the only country to take such measures: the Netherlands, Italy, and about 90 percent of the world don’t use EVMs. Why? Because many agree with the German court: EVMs do not live up to the “constitutional principle of transparency of elections, which requires that voting machines be safeguarded against potential manipulation or error through procedures that are understandable to the average citizen.”
Which leads us to why Canada only allows paper ballots. People in the 21st century may scoff at such a quaint notion that we would have a 19th-century approach to our national elections. Scoff away but guess what: low-tech methods of voting make elections very difficult to hack. Voting in person, on paper ballots, while requiring a voter ID, makes it virtually impossible for widespread fraud to take place.
Guess what else it also does? It makes it impossible for dead people to vote. Seriously. When was the last time you saw a dead person voting in person? But somehow in key states in 2020, thousands of dead people magically resurrected by that election trumpet sound did their civic duty and voted. Sarcasm aside, thoughtful countries of adults don’t let dead people vote.
We also must examine the foolish idea that universal mail-in voting isn’t rife with fraud. Most of the world has dismissed that delusion which is why it is strictly regulated around the world. France banned it in 1975 except for under severely limited circumstances. Why? Because authorities discovered, specifically in Corsica, that “postal ballots were stolen or bought and voters cast multiple votes. Mail-in ballots were used to cast the votes of dead people.”
France is not alone in doing this: In fact, of the 37 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 47 percent ban mail-in voting unless the individual is living abroad. Even then, 30 percent of the countries require a photo ID to obtain a ballot. Though some exceptions have been made this year due to the coronavirus, it still doesn’t change the fact that many of these countries have had these rules in place for decades.
In addition to all of these steps, we must be serious about enforcing annual cleaning of voter rolls in the states. The only reason dead people and “ghost voters” continue to vote by mail is that they’re still on the rolls. Dirty data leads to dirty elections. Time to clean up the very foundation from which come free, fair, and clean elections.
And while we’re at it, it’s time to perhaps fudge a bit on the principle of federalism when it comes to federal elections: having all 50 states willy nilly deciding how they’re going to approach federal and national elections doesn’t work for me anymore. If the individual states would like to screw up their own state and local elections, more power to them. But I’m done with letting corrupt morons in one state cancel out the perfectly good legal vote in another. Congress needs to look at national election standards.
Regardless of the eventual outcome of the 2020 elections, we would be utter fools to let this happen again in 2024, or even 2022. Republican leadership failed us miserably leading into 2020 by not immediately confronting Marc Elias and Mark Zuckerberg post-2018 and conducting aggressive lawfare against their efforts to enact universal mail-in ballots and “secure” ballot drop boxes. But one bright spot of 2020 is that Republicans gained multiple state legislative bodies and increased their majorities in others which gives us the legislative power to make positive change happen.
While we should have learned all of these lessons about electoral integrity decades ago, the next best time to learn them is now, immediately. And despite all that has happened, we absolutely have an opportunity.
Starting in the first quarter of 2021, regardless of what the corrupt incompetents at the RNC do—or more likely, don’t do—we should begin lawfare to dismantle the electoral systems the Left has put in place. We should write model legislation for the various states with Republican majorities to enact, among other things, outlawing EVMs, outlawing universal mail-in ballots, and forcing the cleaning of voter rolls.
We only have ourselves to blame for not putting into practice these methods that neighboring developed countries have used for years. Let’s not look back in four years and realize we compounded our mistakes by doing nothing.
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Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority. You can find him on Twitter @nedryun.
Photo “Voters” by Phil Roeder. CC BY 2.0.