A gunfight for election integrity is raging in a few state legislatures, with our political future hanging in the balance. Whoever controls election procedures will control the outcome, and then be able to pass any laws they like.
According to the AP VoteCast survey of more than 110,000 voters across the nation, 67 percent of ballots submitted by mail were marked for Joe Biden, while 65 percent of citizens who voted in person on Election Day voted for Donald Trump.
Earlier this year, the liberal media breathlessly warned that hundreds of bills to improve election security had been introduced in 47 state legislatures. But as sessions are winding down in many states, not enough has been achieved yet.
The Texas legislature adjourns in six weeks and does not meet next year, but so far has accomplished nothing on this issue. In contrast with Georgia, which at least requires a weak form of voter ID for mail-in voting, the pending Texas legislation falls short of even that.
The Lone Star State has mottos like “Remember the Alamo!” and “Come and Take It” (aside an image of a cannon), but its lack of safeguards against fraud enabled Democrats to improve their presidential results by 3.4% in 2020 compared with 2016. This ballot-harvesting trend, if not reversed, puts the state on track for a Democrat takeover in presidential elections later this decade.
Without winning Texas, no Republican can win the White House. Yet the margin of victory by Trump in Texas in 2020 was among his narrowest anywhere, less than 6 points, amid increasing ballot stuffing there that even included drive-through voting by Democrats who never left their car while casting ballots.
Only Georgia and Iowa have passed election integrity laws since the fiasco of the last election, and their laws merely nibble at the margins of the vast fraud of ballot harvesting to stuff ballot boxes by mail and drop boxes. The Iowa law shortens the early voting period from 29 to 20 days, requires most (not all) mailed-in ballots to be received by Election Day, and prohibits mailing unrequested absentee ballot forms.
That is a far cry from the essential reforms outlined by Trump in his speech on February 28th. But some Texas Republican leaders mistakenly think that insignificant changes like those enacted in Iowa will be enough to mollify Trump supporters who are outraged by voting shenanigans.
In the last election nearly 70% of voters cast their ballots prior to Election Day, many prior to the final debate when Joe Biden vowed to shut down the traditional energy industry on which millions of jobs rely. When Biden terminated the Keystone pipeline shortly after he took office, some early voters were surprised but of course there is no practical way for millions of early voters to change their votes.
Last week a large group of conservatives sent a coalition letter to Governor Greg Abbott, complaining that both Texas election bills (HB6 and SB7) fail to stop the obvious means by which elections are stolen: mail-in voting. The Texas bills do not require meaningful identification for mail-in ballots, despite how Georgia recently plugged that gap in part.
Georgia required inclusion of a voter’s driver’s license number on mail-in ballots. It is unclear how much this will reduce ballot harvesting, because well-funded liberal groups may be able to obtain lists of driver’s license numbers to pre-fill ballots and then vote improperly for others anyway.
Strict signature verification was once required in states that allow mail-in voting, but Georgia, Pennsylvania, and other states dropped those requirements through judicial activism or collusive settlements with liberal election officials. Democrats argue that some elderly people have irregular signatures, but banks require signatures on checks and voting is just as important.
Anyone who dislikes extra requirements for mail-in voting has the option to vote in person, as was customary. The notion that verification of mail-in ballots is unfair should be flatly rejected.
Nearly 10% of the ballots cast in Texas were by mail in the last election, an increase of five times over the last decade. That far exceeds the diminishing margin in Texas separating Republican and Democrat presidential candidates.
Without verifying the authenticity of mail-in ballots, more elections will be stolen. The best approach, as Trump stated, is to prohibit nearly all mail-in voting, and if allowed then there must be strict verification of identification and signatures.
Texas Governor Abbott can expect a challenge from both his right and his left next year, including a possible campaign by the popular Oscar-winning Matthew McConaughey, who led Abbott in a recent poll. Supporting ineffective election integrity legislation which does nothing to halt election fraud could doom Abbott’s political future.
John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.