A citizen's list of 'common core' actions for election integrity

This article offers a list of seven suggested "common core" actions deemed essential for election integrity. These actions need to be accomplished by state legislatures prior to the upcoming November 2022 congressional elections.  Most, if not all, of the suggested actions could possibly be included in a single, comprehensive regulation or item of legislation, etc.  (It is recognized that some legislatures most likely will not favorably consider many of the suggested "common core" actions, but concerned citizens should try to convince them!)

Various news reports and conversations between the author and numerous Americans of differing backgrounds, professions, ages, etc. indicate a strong, urgent demand for fair and honest elections, especially national elections.  Americans want their votes to be correctly counted, and they want to trust that ballot tabulations are honest without fraud, cheating, or manipulation by foreign entities.

Fair and honest elections are essential for the ongoing survival of the American constitutional republic.  Without such elections, the American republic will be in serious jeopardy, most likely resulting in continual one-party rule and, as history shows, eventual totalitarianism.

Most Americans realize that the United States Constitution assigns the fifty state legislatures the responsibility to determine and manage voting procedures and regulations for national elections.  If citizens are dissatisfied with how voting and vote tabulation are accomplished in their state, they should strongly and effectively voice their grievances to their state legislators along with a list of corrective actions for the legislators to take.

The following seven actions are suggested as a "common core" for election integrity in national elections.  As such, citizens need to effectively press (lobby) their state legislators to accomplish the actions prior to the 2022 elections:

1. Require and provide for voting and vote tabulation to be accomplished by paper ballots that will be manually hand-counted (no use of electronic voting and vote-tabulating capability).*

2. Require that in order to be counted as a legal ballot, a ballot must be cast and received by close of business on Election Day.

3. Require that absentee ballots, requested by registered voters, are the only mail-in ballots allowed.

4. Require that with the exception of absentee ballots, all voting must be accomplished in person at prescribed polling stations.  Declare the practice of "ballot-harvesting" illegal.

5. Require that early in-person voting be allowed at prescribed polling stations up to 14 days prior to Election Day.

6. Prescribe substantial criminal and/or financial penalties for people committing voter fraud, cheating, or otherwise acting illegally prior to, during, and after an election, including actions by state or local officials that effectively modify election law independent of the state legislature.

7. Require a government-issued photo ID in order to vote in person.

* Future use of electronic voting and tabulation is dependent on adequate, comprehensive testing and security certifications of the intended machines and software. 

Four additional action items to help ensure election integrity are 1) verify a person's U.S. citizenship, 2) verify the accuracy of voter registration lists, 3) prohibit early vote-counting; and 4) prohibit private donations to local election officials such as the reported $350 million recently donated to election officials in several states by an organization funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

In conclusion, state legislators throughout America need to be effectively lobbied to accomplish and implement, at a minimum, the above seven "common core" actions for election integrity.  The four additional action items also should be accomplished.  A single, comprehensive regulation or item of legislation might include most, if not all, of the above actions.  Finally, actions need to be completed and implemented prior to the November 2022 elections.

Americans need to trust that their votes are correctly counted and honestly tabulated without fraud, cheating, or manipulation by foreign entities.  The actions listed herein will substantially help to accomplish this goal.   

Paul S. Gardiner is a retired Army officer, Vietnam veteran, and avid lover of America.  He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Alabama, and the United States Army War College.

Image: tom.arthur via Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

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