Mike Burton

Union County Republicans

Preserving the great American experiment of a constitutional republic is dependent upon free and fair elections by its citizens. The right to vote in a free and fair election is a basic civil right of American citizens and many other rights depend on it.

Congress and states should guarantee that every eligible citizen is able to vote and that it is counted.

Election integrity is essential and cannot be left to the honor system. The ballot box must similarly be protected so that lawfully completed ballots are fairly tallied. Both of these steps are critical for the American people to trust the process, because the democratic system itself breaks down when trust is violated.

Unfortunately, voter fraud is as old as the country itself. The US Supreme Court noted this when it upheld Indiana’s voter identification law saying voter fraud has “been documented throughout this Nation’s history by respected historians and journalists.”

Election fraud includes: impersonation of a legitimate voter, making false registrations, registering in multiple locations, fraudulent use of absentee (or mail in) ballots, buying votes, illegal “assistance” at the polls, voting by non-citizens, convicted felons, or others who are ineligible. Fraud also occurs by altering the vote count or by forging signatures of registered voters on petitions for the ballot (The Heritage Foundation, 2018).

While liberal and progressive groups claim that the level of voter fraud is inconsequential, both the National Commission on Federal Election Reform and the US Supreme Court have said that the level of voter fraud “demonstrates that not only is the risk of voter fraud real but that it could affect the outcome of a close election.” A 2012 PEW study found that nearly 1 out of every 8 voter registrations were inaccurate.

The same study found 1.8 million dead people still on the roles and that nearly 3 million people were registered in more than one state. The Heritage Foundation has developed a database of known voter fraud for cases all over the US that have resulted in criminal convictions or overturned elections. The facts are clear — voter fraud is real and it is documented.

That is why 34 states have enacted some form of voter identification requiring government issued identification and proof of citizenship to vote. Some states (notably Kansas) have started an interstate crosscheck system to verify that voters are not voting in other states. There are 30 other states participating in this effort and hundreds of thousands of potential duplicate registrations and duplicate voting have been found.

Despite the clear documentation of many incidents of voter fraud and the efforts of many states to combat this crime, liberal, activist judges persist in trying to thwart the will of the people.

One such case has just been overturned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals when it ruled to uphold Texas’s revised voter-ID law, SB 5.

This case started when Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, an Obama appointee, ruled in favor of the claim that the law, established in 2011, was having a discriminatory impact on African American and Latino voters. However, they failed to identify a single person who was unable to obtain an ID to vote, and a study conducted by Spakovsky, showed that turnout for state elections actually went up after the law went into effect.

In writing for the majority, Judge Edith Jones, rightly dismissed Judge Ramos’s argument as, “wholly speculative” and that “Ramos’s order constituted an abuse of discretion.”

Similar voter ID laws have been upheld by the Supreme Court in Indiana and by the federal court in the District of Columbia in South Carolina.

While election fraud can affect elections, it is equally disturbing that Oregon’s lowest voter turnout since 1970 means that less than one third of the registered voters determined the election results for us all. That, my friends, hurts us all and threatens the stability of our republic.