Election Integrity in 2024 Is Absolutely Critical

With less than nine months before Election Day 2024, states have time to ensure that their electoral procedures are free and fair, safe and secure.
Election Integrity in 2024 Is Absolutely Critical
A voting center worker handles mail-in ballots, in this file photo. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Chris Talgo

For more than two centuries, aside from a few exceptions, U.S. presidential elections have been free and fair, safe and secure, with the results accepted as legitimate by the overwhelming majority of Americans. That could come to an end if mass mail-in voting, such as that which occurred in the 2020 election, becomes the new normal.

Americans must understand that the 2020 election was unlike any other election in U.S. history simply due to the sheer flood of mail-in ballots that were cast. In 2020, nearly half of all voters cast a vote by mail, 27 percent voted in person well before Election Day, and less than 30 percent actually showed up to vote in person on Election Day.
For comparison, in 1992, more than 90 percent of voters cast ballots in person on Election Day. More recently, in 2016, more than 60 percent of voters cast their ballots in person on Election Day.

It goes without saying that the 2020 election was unlike any other in U.S. history because several state officials used the COVID-19 pandemic to change voting rules with the specific intention of making mass mail-in voting as easy as possible. However, these hasty, wholesale changes, vis-à-vis how states conducted their 2020 elections, almost certainly resulted in a torrent of illegal mail-in ballots being cast and counted.

Whether intentional or not, it is much easier to cast an illegal mail-in ballot than it is to cast an illegal ballot in person. This isn’t speculation, it’s a proven fact. Such is why most developed nations have banned or severely limited mail-in voting.

In late 2023, The Heartland Institute conducted a survey with Rasmussen Reports to determine the degree of illegal voting that occurred, especially among those who voted by mail. Suffice it to say, we were astonished with the poll results.

According to the poll, at least 1 in 5 mail-in voters admitted to illegally casting a ballot in the 2020 election, whether wittingly or unwittingly. It is important to note that intent does not matter when it comes to illegal voting. All of the votes cast unlawfully in 2020 should have been discarded.
If this had occurred, and all of the illegal mail-in votes for both Joe Biden and Donald Trump were discarded, it almost certainly would have affected the outcome of the 2020 election. For more on this, read The Heartland Institute’s latest policy study, “Who Really Won the 2020 Election?

Essentially, our analysis shows that it is extremely likely that President Trump would have won the 2020 election had it not been for millions of illegal mail-in votes.

The simple arithmetic goes like this: In 2020, more than 65 million ballots were cast by mail. If 20 percent of those were cast illegally (which is the baseline according to the poll; the policy study found the rate to be 28.2 percent), that means that at least 13 million illegal votes were cast and counted in the 2020 election.

In other words, that means at least 13 million voters were potentially disenfranchised. Remember, every illegal vote cast and counted cancels one person’s legally cast vote.

That is a huge number of disenfranchised voters. It is also completely unacceptable.

Now, here’s the good news. State legislatures can save the day and prevent a repeat of the 2020 election debacle. According to the Constitution, only state legislatures can designate the “Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections.”

For starters, each and every state should encourage in-person voting as close to Election Day as possible. For in-person voting, states should require photo identification.

In terms of mail-in voting, all 50 states should require a valid excuse to vote by mail, while also shoring up signature verification procedures, mandating a notary or witness signature on mail-in ballots, eliminating unattended and unsecured ballot drop boxes, as well as outlawing ballot harvesting. Lastly, states should annually clean their voter registration rolls, which currently include deceased voters and voters who no longer live at the address on the woefully outdated and inaccurate voter rolls.

Indubitably, many on the left will disparage these commonsense measures to reduce illegal mail-in voting. They will label these efforts as voter suppression. They will play the race card, comparing it to Jim Crow.

But those arguments are warrantless. Real-world evidence shows the exact opposite is true. Since 2020, a few states, particularly Florida and Georgia, have instituted several of the reforms recommended above. What happened in those states? In the ensuing 2022 midterm elections, voter turnout increased, mainly among minority voters.

With less than nine months before Election Day 2024, states have time to ensure that their electoral procedures are free and fair, safe and secure. However, time is ticking.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Chris Talgo is an editor at The Heartland Institute. Talgo writes op-eds, articles for Health Care News and Environmental and Climate News, and hosts podcasts.
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