In 2020, the Republican National Committee decided to keep its platform from 2016. While our stances on the issues as Republicans have not changed so drastically, we should update our platform, especially when new issues arise. One example of this is the platform’s stance on “honest elections and the right to vote.”
Following the 2020 Presidential Election, President Donald Trump and a majority of Republicans claimed there were large amounts of voter fraud and that the election was stolen. 53 percent of Republicans still believe that Trump won the election.
While this has been proven false, it is troubling that so many voters have such little trust in our electoral system. There are measures Republicans have supported for years that would ensure greater confidence in our elections, including states requiring photo identification to vote and requiring that electronic voting systems have a voter-verified paper audit trail.
However, Congressional Democrats have seized the opportunity to claim all efforts to secure our elections are “voter suppression,” and introduce radical, unconstitutional legislation that would give control of elections to the federal government and make our elections less secure. As Republicans, we must oppose efforts and take a clear stance in our platform against them.
The controversial “For the People Act of 2021,” also known as H.R. 1 and S. 1, contains many provisions Republicans should oppose. It would require all states to count mail-in ballots received up to ten days after election day, allow ballot harvesting, ban states from requiring photo identification to vote, dictate how states redistrict, and make many donations to private organizations public. These are direct attacks on the Constitution, included but not limited to the First and Tenth Amendments. The Democrats may claim this is just a “voting rights” bill, but it is much more, and Republicans should stand against it.
In addition to these measures being unconstitutional, the mere introduction of this bill is adding more fuel to the fire of those who believe in widespread voter fraud. They already believe that Democrats are attempting to steal elections, and while this is an exaggerated and untrue claim, responding to this by attempting to pass such radical legislation does nothing to quell these rumors and help the polarization problem our country is facing.
We have already seen the implications of how distrust in our electoral system has impacted our elections. It is not far-fetched to claim that Republicans lost both Georgia Senate runoff elections in 2021 because of distrust in our elections. While Democrats may be grateful for this now, I fear for our country if so many people abstain from voting because they do not trust our elections. Highly partisan and harmful legislation will only increase polarization, which has already been so harmful.
Also, just because there may not have been enough fraud to change the results of the 2020 Presidential Election does not mean the problem of voter fraud is nonexistent, and we should be doing what we can to stop it where it exists. The Heritage Foundation’s Voter Fraud Database lists 1,333 instances of proven voter fraud that have ended with 1,146 criminal convictions. This is a problem, which is why we should stand against Democrats’ efforts to prevent states from enacting measures that would prevent fraud.
Vice President Mike Pence said it best in his Daily Signal op-ed; “The tragic events of Jan. 6—the most significant being the loss of life and violence at our nation’s Capitol—also deprived the American people of a substantive discussion in Congress about election integrity in America.”
Republicans should approach the issue of election security by not backing down in our support for measures that will further secure our elections and oppose radical legislation from Democrats that will create more room for fraud and violate the Constitution. We should expand upon our stance in our platform that we oppose the attempts to strip powers granted to states in the Constitution when it comes to elections and support measures to make our elections more secure.