As state legislatures consider changes to the way elections are run after a turbulent 2020 contest, a GOP political organization released a report that offers advice on “best practices for making it easier to vote and harder to cheat.”
The Commission on Election Integrity, created by the Republican State Leadership Committee, a group made up of Republican legislators and state secretaries of state, published an 18-page report on Tuesday.
“Rather than mandating a dangerous federal takeover of our elections system like the Democrats who control Washington are now pushing, our commission understands that action to restore confidence in our elections needs to be taken at the state level, as the Constitution grants the important responsibility of administering our elections to the states,” Alabama Secretary of State and commission Co-Chairman John Merrill said in a statement.
The debate on voting reform after the 2020 election is hitting a fevered pitch, thanks in large part to fraud claims pushed by former President Donald Trump and his allies, which have been dismissed by election officials and rejected by the courts. On the federal level, the Democrat-controlled House passed a massive election reform bill last month. The legislation is expected to face an uphill battle in the evenly split Senate.
Still, there is a lot of movement on the state level as Republicans cite a need to restore voter confidence after the 2020 election as a reason to change how elections work, frequently backing election policies including limiting voting by mail and strengthening voter ID laws.
The new report does not make demands of how the state should proceed but rather offers recommendations.
The commission discusses issues such as voter registration, ballot tabulation, voter ID, voter registration, early in-person voting, universal vote by mail, and post-Election Day topics such as recounts and audits. The report also has a long index of practices adopted by states across the country it recommends for consideration.
“This report will serve as a critical road map for policymakers in states that are looking for ideas on how to make their elections more free and fair,” Merrill added. “It’s our hope that each state can tailor these suggested practices to their specific needs so we can make it easier to vote and harder to cheat across the nation.”
As of March 24, legislators have introduced 361 bills with “restrictive provisions” in 47 states, an increase of 108 bills since Feb. 19, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, a liberal-leaning law and policy institute. Eight hundred and forty-three bills with “expansive provisions” have been introduced in a different set of 47 states and was a spike of 139 bills from Feb. 19 to March 24.
Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed an omnibus election reform bill that has garnered national headlines and prompted Georgia-based organizations to speak out against it. Major League Baseball even moved its All-Star Game out of Atlanta in protest of the GOP-backed changes. Other states, such as Texas and Iowa, have passed similar bills.
Democrats have also sought to pass election-altering legislation in states where they are in control, including in New Jersey. Those bills often seek to expand voting by mail, often by providing no-excuse absentee voting, automatic voter registration, and the expansion of early in-person voting.
Merrill said Democrats, not just Republicans, can use his commission’s report as a guide.
“We didn’t just put best practices in the commission on election integrity reform. We didn’t just put best practices from Republican states. We put best practices from Democrats’ states and from purple states because we want people that are doing things right. … So, we wanted to make sure that when people are doing a good job, they’re recognized for doing a good job,” Merrill said in a phone interview with the Washington Examiner.
“Our states are laboratories of democracy, and because they’re laboratories of democracy, the states are the ones that need to determine what is best for their state. You don’t need a group, an entity, certainly not the federal government telling us what to do related to your state,” Merrill said. ”What you do need is to know what are other states doing if the states are doing it well, what are the practices that they are using that separate them from other states in the union, and in doing that, is that the way that we need to do it in our state?”
- ^ Commission on Election Integrity (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
- ^ report (rslc.gop)
- ^ massive election reform bill (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
- ^ voter ID laws (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
- ^ MLB MOVES ALL-STAR GAME: WHAT DO COLORADO’S VOTING RIGHTS LOOK LIKE? (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
- ^ Brennan Center for Justice (www.brennancenter.org)
- ^ Gov. Brian Kemp (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
- ^ election reform bill (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
- ^ organizations (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
- ^ Texas (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
- ^ Iowa (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
- ^ early in-person voting (www.washingtonexaminer.com)
- ^ CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER (www.washingtonexaminer.com)