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How States Are Leading on Election Integrity—And How More Can Join

Following the eyebrow-raising issues of the 2020 election, state legislatures across the country have passed legislation that’s made it easy to vote but hard to cheat. 

The American people overwhelmingly approve of these efforts. A recent survey by the Center for Excellence in Polling found that more than 90 percent of likely voters say that election integrity and security are important to them. 

Here are just a few recent election integrity reforms from across the nation that are helping to protect the security and integrity of the election process from start to finish…

Supporting Real Reform in the States

  1. Florida created an office to investigate election fraud: Governor Ron DeSantis signed Senate Bill 524 into law in April, which contains key provisions to clean up the voter rolls, make ballot harvesting a felony, and create a new Office of Election Crimes and Security to investigate election fraud. 
  2. South Carolina banned ballot harvesting: No state passed as many election integrity reforms at once as South Carolina did with Senate Bill 108, with nearly 20 different reforms, including new voter ID requirements, a ban on ballot harvesting, rigorous post-election audits, and a public hotline to report election crimes.
  3. Missouri banned pre-filled ballot applications: Governor Mike Parson signed a sweeping election reform law that bans pre-filled absentee applications, prohibits drop boxes, and requires notarization for absentee ballot applications. 
  4. The Wisconsin Supreme Court banned drop boxes: The Republican-controlled legislature passed a half dozen measures to close a voter ID loophole, crack down on ballot drop boxes, and end automatic mail-in ballot applications, among other reforms. Democratic Governor Tony Evers vetoed each bill. However, the Wisconsin Supreme Court recently ruled that under state law, drop boxes cannot be used and absentee ballots must be returned by mail or in person to a local election office. 

Blocking the Worst of the Worst

  1. Raising the red flag on Zuckerbucks:During the 2020 election, private dollars, including nearly $350 million from Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, were funneled into local election offices through the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL). These “Zuckerbucks” grants were disproportionally siphoned to left-leaning counties to boost Democrat turnout and influence the outcome of 2020 election in states like Wisconsin, FloridaMissouri, Georgia, and more. To date, 23 states around the country have enacted legislation to ban or restrict “Zuckerbucks” and keep billionaires out of local and state elections, including bipartisan action in states like Virginia and Pennsylvania.
  2. Stopping President Biden’s federal takeover: In his early days in office, President Biden signed Executive Order 14019 to force taxpayer-funded government agencies to increase voter registration and turnout. In response to the administration’s sparse detail on what this plan would entail, we alerted state attorneys general and secretaries of state with guidance on how states can fight back against Biden’s illegal get-out-the-vote push, and launched a wide-scale Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice. A number of states are also introducing their own legislation to stop federal interference. 

Looking Forward

Threats against election integrity are still out there, including what we like to call Zuckerbucks 2.0. The Center for Tech and Civic Life launched the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence, a front to provide millions of dollars in grants—yet again—and “coaching” to selected election offices. States must remain vigilant against this and other similar threats of federal, partisan influence in local elections. 

At its most basic level, protecting our elections is an overwhelmingly popular idea with the American people. Americans don’t want a federal takeover of elections (58 percent), they don’t want special interests involved (63 percent), and they insist upon ballot security (67 percent).

For those states not yet on the list of success stories, there’s still the opportunity to learn from what’s working—and fight back against what’s not.

Further Reading: 

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