Secure and fair elections are foundational to the American system of government, but irregularities and last-minute changes by unelected bureaucrats erode public trust in elections. When voters have reason to question the integrity of the process, they will question the legitimacy of the outcome. If this happens, voters will lose faith in their public officials and disengage from the political process. Disengagement means that Americans do not believe their voices will be heard. This is a failure for our democratic system.
The 2020 election serves as an unfortunate example. The 2020 cycle was marked by partisan lawsuits, last-minute changes to existing procedures, slow reporting of results, and other election irregularities. Ballots were reportedly stolen from a drop box in Florida. In Georgia, a local jurisdiction discovered more than 2,500 uncounted ballots more than a week after the election. In Georgia and Nevada, local jurisdictions were processing and counting mail ballots several days after the election, increasing the time it takes for voters to get election results while simultaneously shrinking their trust in the outcome. As a result of these and other unmentioned examples, millions of Americans now question whether their vote was counted—and if it will count in future elections.
Fortunately, there is a path forward: A majority of voters say election reform would restore trust in democracy. Voters need to be confident that the election process is free and fair and that their vote will count.