In the wake of an astonishing poll released last week revealing that roughly 20% percent of mail-in voters admitted to committing fraud in the 2020 election, deep concerns over election integrity continue to ripple across the country as the 2024 election approaches. Experts say that the passage of state legislation aimed at upholding the integrity of elections in Georgia and Texas in recent years should be replicated in other states.
In 2021, Georgia enacted legislation that, among other provisions, required government-issued ID to vote and tightened restrictions on mail-in ballots. The bill received immense pushback from the Left and the mainstream media, who slammed it as “Jim Crow 2.0” due to the view that it would discourage minorities from voting. However, election turnout in Georgia in the 2022 midterms proved to be an all-time record, and 0% of polled black voters reported a “poor” experience.
That same year, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) signed into law legislation that created uniform statewide voting hours, prohibited drive-through voting, authorized poll watchers, and tightened mail-in ballot regulations, among other provisions.
On Monday, Texas State Senator Bryan Hughes (R) joined “Washington Watch” to discuss how his state’s election integrity bill can be a model for other states to follow.
“We have to have elections where people can know the results and accept the results and move forward if our system is going to work,” he emphasized. “… [O]ur mantra is, ‘Easy to vote, hard to cheat.’ … We found that mail-in ballots can [have] the greatest potential for fraud — that was the case in Georgia and many states. And so we’ve cracked down on these ballot harvesters who are paid by political campaigns, and they go to the homes of vulnerable voters, mislead them, get their signatures, sometimes forge their signatures, and [are] paid by a campaign under the guise of helping the voters. … Now in Texas, we [also] have [a] 24-hour live stream of whenever those ballots are being counted, wherever they are.”
Hughes continued, “[In] many states … signature verification processes … were being shortcutted. … We also implemented voter ID for those mail-in ballots … [so] we can verify to make sure it was you, the voter, who requested that ballot and make sure you, the voter, are the one who cast that ballot — simple commonsense reforms like that. [F]or in-person voting, [we also] expanded the hours [to make] it easier for folks to vote. And one more thing we found was happening [at] polling places, we had these vote harvesters being paid by campaigns [to] come up alongside vulnerable voters — maybe first-time voters [or those] with limited English proficiency … They [would] come alongside these voters and say, ‘Oh, let me help you.’ … But then it’s a voter assistant who’s doing the voting and not the voter. We’re cracking down on that. If folks need help, they’re going to get help. But we cannot have paid political operatives in the voting booth influencing voters.”
Hughes concluded by encouraging voters across the nation to push their state lawmakers to enact laws that streamline in-person voting and to put proper safeguards in place to govern mail-in ballots.
“Mail-in ballots [are] an important tool for folks who are disabled [or] who are going to be out of the country,” he noted. “But as you know, states are pushing for universal mail-in ballots. … That is a recipe for fraud [and] for elections that we cannot trust. So we want to make the in-person voting process as smooth and easy and secure as we can. And for those folks who need to vote by mail, that’s important. Make sure we have those checks in place [by] making sure it’s the voter requesting the ballot, the voter casting the ballot, [and] mak[ing] sure we’re matching up those signatures and keep[ing] those paid political operatives out of the process. Our elections are not for sale. [We] want to keep it that way.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.
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