Hans von Spakovsky / February 6, 2021

How to Restore Faith in Our Federal Elections

Here are five best practices state lawmakers should adopt for elections.

True democracy hinges on the integrity of the election process. Without the assurance that all legal votes are counted — and all illegal votes are weeded out — trust in our government dissipates.

Unfortunately, Americans’ faith in the integrity of our electoral process is eroding — and with good reason. Election fraud is all too real, as proved by the more than 1,300 cases cited in The Heritage Foundation’s Election Fraud Database.

Moreover, errors and omissions by election officials, shoddy election procedures and inadequate training have undermined the process as well.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are five things states can do — and two things they should stop doing — to restore faith in the accuracy of our elections.

States should stop allowing same-day registration for voting and make automatic voter registration a thing of the past.

Same-day registration doesn’t give election officials enough time to verify the information on a registration form and confirm the registrant’s eligibility to vote. And no one should be automatically registered without being asked if they want to do so. Registering people without their consent or knowledge can lead to multiple registrations by the same individual, as well as the registration of noncitizens and others ineligible to vote.

As for what states should be doing, here are five best practices state lawmakers should adopt for elections:

Clean up the voter rolls. Computerized statewide voter registration lists should be interoperable, allowing them to communicate seamlessly with other state record databases, exchanging and comparing information frequently.

For example, when someone changes the residence address on his or her driver’s license, that updated information should be sent to state elections officials so that the individual’s voter registration address reflects the move.

Verify citizenship. By law, only U.S. citizens can vote in our federal elections. States should, therefore, require proof of citizenship to register to vote. Elections officials should also verify citizenship against the records of the Department of Homeland Security, using the E-Verify system.

Require voter ID. Whether voting in-person or by absentee ballot, those wishing to cast a ballot should be required to present a government-issued photo ID to show they are who they say they are. States such as Alabama, Kansas and Wisconsin already do so. Of course, states should issue suitable IDs for free to those who are eligible to vote and do not have a driver’s license or some other suitable form of identification.

Limit mail-in ballots. Mail-in ballots are vulnerable to being altered, stolen or forged. Last year, a New Jersey judge had to invalidate an all-by-mail city council election due to “procedural violations.”

Mail-in ballots also are far more likely to be tossed out than are votes cast in person. In the Paterson, New Jersey, case, elections officials rejected 1 in 5 ballots for everything from signatures on the ballots not matching voters’ signatures on file to ballots not complying with technical rules that apply to absentee ballots.

New York, which took more than a month to count ballots from last year’s primary elections, reported a similar rejection rate. This should be considered unacceptable by anyone believing in fair and accurate elections.

Ban vote harvesting. Vote harvesting (aka vote trafficking) allows third parties to collect and deliver completed ballots. It’s a risky business, and has led unscrupulous political operatives to pick up and “lose” or change absentee ballots. Others have been known to coerce at-home voters into voting “their way” or to simply fill out the ballots for them. These kinds of abuses are made possible by the fact that elections officials have no way to supervise who’s doing what with mail-in ballots.

For democracy to survive and thrive, it’s crucial that every legitimate vote be counted and not diluted by election fraud and other problems. It’s time for states to implement these reforms to shore up the people’s trust in our elections.

Republished from The Heritage Foundation.

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2021 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.