Abolish ‘Voting Season’ and Bring Back Election Day

“Election Night no longer exists,” writes Victor Davis Hanson at American Greatness, continuing:

Returns are not counted for days. It is intolerable for a modern democracy to wait and wait for all sorts of ballots both cast and counted under radically different and sometimes dubious conditions.

The Democrats – with overwhelming media and money advantages – have mastered these arts of massive and unprecedented early, mail-in, and absentee voting. Old-fashioned Republicans count on riling up their voters to show up on Election Day.  But it is far easier to finesse and control the mail-in ballots than to ‘get out the vote.’

Until recently, mail-in ballots were largely limited to absentees, such as citizens living abroad (as remains the standard in most of the EU), or the rare instances where citizens were otherwise unable to cast a vote at the polls on Election Day.  And Democrats, just like Republicans, relied mainly on “get out the vote” efforts back in those days.

Sometimes Democrats riled their older voters with imagery about Republicans pushing granny off the cliff, meant to symbolize their false claim that Republicans would end Social Security benefits.  Sometimes they used peer pressure along with such fear to urge younger urban voters (whose voting proclivities are a mystery to no one) to the polls, having the trendiest rappers coax them to “Vote or Die.”  And when none of that worked, they would do everything possible to rouse lazier and more disinterested would-be Democrat voters from the couch with well-orchestrated busing campaigns to tote unlikely voters to the polls.

Simply put, no one could doubt that, for a long time, Democrats have owned the dishonest ground game in politics.  But on that last point, Democrats have taken it a step further.  On April 7, 2020, Elizabeth Warren called for new “badly needed vote-by-mail reforms,” for example, expressing a goal to “allow as many Americans as possible to vote from home.”

Though vote-by-mail introduces countless risks to election integrity, Democrats have embraced it for reasons that should be obvious.  There is no need to present yourself at the polling location, so there is no need for buses and paid operatives to canvas your neighborhood and talk you into voting.  And if grandma is senile and has no idea what the issues are or who to vote for, and your live-in college student daughter claims to love the Democrat candidate but can’t be bothered to go to the polls and vote, why not fill out and mail in their ballots?  That way, your one vote against whatever Republican fascist is on the ballot becomes three votes, lickety-split.  Yay, democracy is saved!

This is just the first and most practical example of the myriad potential problems with mail-in voting that comes to mind.  Prior to the end of the last decade, skepticism about the practice was widespread and bipartisan for similar reasons.  The Commission on Federal Election Reform, “chaired by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker III,” a Democrat and a Republican, suggested in a 2005 report that “Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.”  The report continued:

Citizens who vote at home, at nursing homes, at the workplace, or in church are more susceptible to pressure, overt and subtle, and to intimidation.  Vote buying schemes are more difficult to detect when citizens vote by mail.

But individual household voter fraud, vote buying, and voter intimidation are just the tip of the iceberg.

“Voters usually have to show identification to vote” in person, writes Mollie Hemingway, noting that it’s “more difficult to catch fraudulent mail-in voting because of the lack of oversight and ballot custody.”

Hemingway reports that in 2019, 234,000 names were included on the voter rolls in Wisconsin who had moved out of state or to new addresses in Wisconsin.  If they didn’t respond to a notice sent to them, they were, by law, to be “flagged by election officials as ineligible” for 2020.

The Election Board ignored that law, refusing to clear the voter rolls before a special election for Wisconsin’s 7th District in April of 2020, between Democrat Tricia Zunker and the heavily favored Tom Tiffany.  Despite being sued by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, the 234,000 unverified voters’ names stayed on the Wisconsin voter rolls.

According to Hemingway, “one election protection Wisconsin had maintained after refusing to clean up the rolls” was that voters were supposed to show identification the first time when voting by mail.  But there was a legal exception to that requirement for those “indefinitely confined.”  Furthermore, the “highly partisan clerks” of Dane and Milwaukee counties, Wisconsin’s two most populous and heavily Democrat counties in the state, “instructed their residents to claim that they were ‘indefinitely confined’ even if they weren’t[.]”  And once the voter is registered in that manner, the state would continue sending absentee ballots without the state requiring ID in the future.

Early results from mail-in efforts scared Tom Tiffany and the Republicans.  Trump had carried the district by 20 points in 2016, and early counts suggested only a single digit lead, which could have emboldened Democrats going into the presidential election later that year.  He ended up winning by 15 points after election day votes were tallied.  But the lesson was learned – Democrats are “more likely to vote absentee, early, and by mail, while Republicans are more likely to vote on election day,” writes Hemingway.

This wasn’t lost on Democrats.  According to The New York Times, Wisconsin Democrats worked to “export their template for success – intense digital outreach and a well-coordinated vote-by-mail operation – to other states in the hope that it will improve the party’s chances… to unseat President Trump in November.”

And export that template they did, and with it, they were able to unseat the president and replace him with a vegetable.  But you don’t have to cast your gaze away from Wisconsin to see the strategy at work.  As Hemingway observes, “up to a quarter of a million votes were cast in Wisconsin’s [2020] presidential election without any identification check at all.”

That’s nearly 250,000 votes by phantoms, for all we know, as they were never authenticated.  For the record, Trump lost the battleground state of Wisconsin by just over 20,000 votes in that year.

It should simply go without saying, as it used to, that ensuring future election integrity requires that mail-in voting should be limited to extreme circumstances.  It is unquestionable that vote-by-mail, for months prior to an election, “remains the largest source for potential voter fraud.”

Perhaps that’s why vote-by-mail in France, for example, has been banned since 1975, and voting must be achieved (with few exceptions) by presenting yourself, in person, on Election Day, providing a photo ID along with signature, then casting a paper ballot which is hand-counted.   And while that may seem an antiquated process to American progressives, France doesn’t have to wait for days to find out who wins their elections like we do here in America.

Victor Davis Hanson is right.  Our inability to know the results of elections on Election Night should be intolerable. And the Democrats’ and media’s expectation that we are to suddenly believe that the mass proliferation of mail-in voting, long known by both political parties to be the most dangerous avenue toward concealable electoral fraud, is suddenly the safest way an election can be conducted?  That should not only be insulting, but infuriating.

The only way to restore faith in American elections is to cast “vote-by-mail” into the dustbin of failed American experiments, and to once again make the collective civic engagement of Election Day the national norm.

Image: Twitter video screen grab.

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