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Four Reforms to Help States Curb Voter Apathy

According to recent polling from the Center for Excellence in Polling, a stunning 75 percent of likely voters have concerns about the security of our elections. How long voters will continue to engage in an electoral system they don’t trust is anyone’s guess, but states should act quickly to enact these four reforms to boost election security before we find out.

#1: Clean state voter rolls

Unchecked and uncleaned voter rolls can amass thousands of individuals who are no longer eligible to vote, giving fraudsters an easy opportunity to manipulate elections.

During the 2020 election, at least 41,000 ballots in Nevada were sent to registered voters who either hadn’t voted or updated their registration in more than a decade. Many of these individuals were likely deceased, but ballots were sent to their address anyway. Sadly, fraudulently filling out these ballots is not uncommon. During the 2020 election, deceased individuals cast votes in multiple states, including in several swing states.

#2: Ban ballot harvesting

During the 2020 presidential election, record numbers of voters voted by mail, and ballot harvesting—the practice of allowing third-party organizations to return voters’ mail-in ballots—grew in popularity. Adding a middleman to solicit ballots worked as well as you might think. Ballot harvesting opened the door for fraudsters to coerce voters to fill out their ballots a certain way, tamper with completed ballots, or destroy ballots they didn’t want counted. To make matters worse, these fraudsters often target vulnerable populations, like individuals who are elderly or individuals with disabilities, for exploitation.

This type of fraudulent activity was so prevalent in North Carolina during the 2018 election that an investigation led to the discovery of a ballot harvesting scheme so manipulative that the initial election results had to be thrown out and a new election took place.

#3: Secure ballot drop boxes

In 2020, reports of drop box raids and intentional fires brought into question the security of ballot drop boxes and left one too many voters wondering if their vote was even counted. Lawmakers should enact additional security protocols to ensure that ballots cast legally are counted, no matter what.

#4: Improve the accuracy and timeliness of tabulation

Voters can watch stock prices in real time, immediately transfer money, and instantly download digital content, yet are continually asked to wait inordinately long amounts of time for election results. It’s no wonder voters are suspicious about election security.

States must set reasonable mail-in ballot deadlines and increase the transparency and speed of ballot transportation and tabulation to increase voter confidence in the accuracy of election outcomes.

Between political prosecutions and presidential scandals, and reports of voter fraud, voters are looking for a signal from their elected officials that it is still worth their time and effort to vote. Lawmakers can send that signal now by securing their elections and assuring voters that, whatever the election outcome may be, their voices were heard.

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