Close to Home: Fraud fears and the impact on voting
Were you glued to your radios, cellphones or TVs watching an attack on our nation’s Capitol unfold on Jan. 6? One reason for the attack, given by participants, was concerns about a stolen presidential election due to voter fraud.
Do we have to worry about fraud and elections being “stolen” in the U.S.? More than 161 million voters cast ballots that were counted in 2020. According to a report by the Heritage Foundation on recent election fraud cases across the United States, out of 161 million ballots cast in the 2020 election there were only 1,340 verified cases of voter fraud. This number is certainly not sufficient to change the outcome of any presidential election. Yet we continue to hear about widespread fraud. Could this be an effort to make the American people lose trust in their free and fair elections?
Following the 2020 election, the federal Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council executive committee, including the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is the agency entrusted with making sure our elections are secure, stated: “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history.”
The council went on to say, “Right now, across the country, election officials are reviewing and double checking the entire election process prior to finalizing the result.
“When states have close elections, many will recount ballots. All of the states with close results in the 2020 presidential race have paper records of each vote, allowing the ability to go back and count each ballot if necessary. This is an added benefit for security and resilience. This process allows for the identification and correction of any mistakes or errors. There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.
“Other security measures like pre-election testing, state certification of voting equipment, and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission’s (EAC) certification of voting equipment help to build additional confidence in the voting systems used in 2020.
“While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections, we can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should too. When you have questions, turn to elections officials as trusted voices as they administer elections.”
We can have confidence that we had a free and fair election in 2020. But will that freedom continue? According to the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, 19 state legislatures passed 34 laws in 2021 restricting voting rights, with concern for preventing election fraud often stated as the reason.
Could there be other reasons for this new legislation? One wonders about the motivations when so many of these laws are unnecessary and unduly impact people of color and low-income communities.
We should be making it easier for citizens to vote, which is why the national League of Women Voters will be fighting many of these new laws suppressing voting in court. And the league, at all levels, is working hard to get the U.S. Senate to pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Extension Act. We encourage readers to get the facts about how safe our elections are and to urge their senators to pass the For the People Act, which would protect our elections, and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Extension Act, which would ensure all citizens their right to vote in free and fair elections. Please consider contacting your senator: cop.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm
Donna Roper is president of the Sonoma County chapter of the League of Women Voters. Debbie Mc Kay is immediate past president of the Sonoma County chapter.
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