The Big Lie isn’t working out so well for former President Donald Trump. That isn’t stopping those who expect to benefit from sowing doubt about the integrity of American elections.
Ten months ago, Arizona’s Legislature gave Maricopa County’s ballots to Trump supporters to re-examine. The months-long “audit” not only validated Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election, it cost Trump a couple hundred votes.
Unbowed, Arizona Republican state chair Kelli Ward wants something she calls “a full signature audit.” Cyber Ninjas, the company that conducted the hand recount, littered its report with “errors & faulty conclusions about how Maricopa County conducted the 2020 General Election,” according to a Maricopa County official tweet.
Republican legislators in other states press on as well. Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, which Trump won handily, wants audits. Pennsylvania’s Legislature has taken the farce a horrifying step further.
In the name of election-fraud prevention, lawmakers want to turn over identifying personal information about each registered voter to random non-government examiners, a la Cyber Ninjas.
Voters give their names, addresses, driver’s license number or part of a social security number to voter registrars. Those officials promise to keep that information secure. Voters trust that it will not be used to tie back to them the ballot they receive in the mail or at a polling place.
Pennsylvania Republicans want to violate those promises. Putting registration data into the hands of a random private group that may have no data-security experience would put every registered voter in Pennsylvania at significant risk of identity theft.
None of the supposed reviews of a nearly-year-old election will change the results or expose significant problems with the process. However, they will erode American trust in election integrity.
The honest, non-partisan, dedicated officials who run elections are facing subpoenas, emails, threats, questioning and constant stress as they are hounded to either acquiesce to fraud fantasies or get out of the business. Many are choosing the latter.
The U.S. Constitution makes Congress the ultimate authority over federal election regulations. Congress must use that power to pass the sweeping Freedom to Vote Act hammered out by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, and a bipartisan group of colleagues.
Those who benefit from the election fraud scam will squeal about federal overreach. The rest of us will be able to trust that we live in a democracy where every vote counts, fair and square.
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