Protecting Election Integrity in November 2020
WASHINGTON – The Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) joined The Hill's Editor-at-Large Steve Clemons to discuss protecting the integrity of our elections during a pandemic. During the interview, Davis explains the difference between states that mail every single voter a live ballot verses mail-in by request, the issues with ballot harvesting, and his legislation to increase election security.
Davis discusses the difference between every voter being automatically sent a mail-in ballot verses a voter requesting a mail-in ballot be sent to them. He also
We saw with H.R.1 the new Democratic majority decided they wanted to push election reforms. Part of those election reforms were reforms to mail-in balloting, nationalizing ballot harvesting – a process it's already been corrupted and caused us to have to have a special election in North Carolina. These things are not part of COVID-19 pandemic. This has been part of their agenda and when you look at mail-in balloting, we first have to understand what they mean. Many Democrats mean that they want to mail a live ballot to every single registered voter and at the same time, as I've been in hearings throughout this country, many of my Democratic colleagues don't want our local election officials to be able to follow the law and remove voters from those voter rolls that aren't registered there or don't live there anymore. That would mean millions more ballots being put out into the street, into mailboxes – that's something that I am against and most Americans would be against. It’s ok if you want to request a vote by mail, I encourage that. That happens in my home state of Illinois, but we can't nationalize a process that even Secretary of State Kim Wyman from Washington State, whose state has only vote by mail, she said it would take upwards of 10 years to effectively implement her system again. So things have to take time. We don't want to have to wait for election results and if Democrats are successful by mailing ballots to every single registered voter even though they might not be legally registered there at that address anymore or legal to vote, that's a problem.
The risk of fraud increases when states fail to update their voter rolls, but mail a live ballot to every registered voter.
We, as Republicans, and I know the White House agrees, we don't want to see live ballots mailed to people who should never be eligible to vote at that address. And Democrats will say, well that's not a problem. Well, you know what? It is. I have another member of my house admin committee, Barry Loudermilk, Congressman from Georgia. One of his staffers lives in Maryland he was he requested a ballot to vote in Georgia, as he should and can do, he got that one, but then got two ballots mailed to him in the most recent Maryland election made out to some other names because they're still on the voter rolls at that address that he now lives at and he did the right thing and destroyed them, but that's a problem.
Davis has introduced two bills to protect the integrity of our elections: the Election Fraud Prevention Act and the Protect American Voters Act. Additionally, the CARES Act included funding to help states administer elections during the pandemic. Davis has since urged Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) to work with him to pass bipartisan measures to further help states administer elections in November.
Well we've crafted numerous pieces of legislation regarding mail-in balloting – outlawing the corrupt process of ballot harvesting that is still ravaging in states like California. We did a ballot harvesting report where I sent observers from the House Administration Committee out to California and we saw numerous instances of ballots just being thrown outside, an outside collection box with no one watching them, they could have been stolen, corrupted, added to, who knows. We saw them laying around the election’s office where anybody walking in could grab them. That's not maintaining the chain of custody to make sure someone's vote can get counted. Those things, we've introduced bills to address, but unfortunately Steve, not everybody wants to talk about elections, not everybody wants to talk about the details of election reforms. It’s folks like you that allow us to do that, but to answer your original question: we've laid it out on our social media pages and in media interviews before, but also we're just trying to build that case that there are a majority of areas that we in Washington – Republicans and Democrats – have agreed on immensely. We have provided over a billion dollars to our local election officials to address cybersecurity issues and other election issues and you know what none of us talk enough about: the success in the cybersecurity side when it comes to elections, that 2018 showed us we didn't have one instance of foreign interference and that's a good thing. That shows we have been working together, investing billions to help this process.