Wednesday, November 29, 2023

OPINION: Trust in election security essential

by EVAN KOCH/More Perfect Union
| December 14, 2022 1:00 AM

If you don’t like a certain law or policy, the first step toward changing it or eliminating it is to demonize it.

To end abortion care, call it baby killing. To destroy public education, paint public schools and teachers as “indoctrinators.”

Does this look familiar?

Nationally, the GOP does not like its election chances, so since 2000 it has been denigrating election security. Specific targets include drop boxes, mail-in ballots and voter ID.

If voters can be made to suspect that Canadians vote illegally in Kootenai County, and that “mules” collect large numbers of ballots and place them in drop boxes, or that the postal service selectively loses ballots, they will be less likely to trust the election result. This explains efforts to end drop boxes and voting by mail.

However, the Federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency maintains that the 2020 election was “the most secure in American history.”

Voting is especially secure in states (like Idaho) where a paper record confirms every vote.

To better understand why anyone would complain about election security, first consider a couple of factors: Which candidate won or lost, and by what margin?

Democrats’ confidence in elections declined in 2000 when the Supreme Court stopped counting votes in Florida and unilaterally handed the presidency to George W. Bush. Al Gore conceded “for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy.”

Republicans’ confidence fell in 2020 when Joe Biden beat Donald Trump. Trump’s supporters filed dozens of unsuccessful lawsuits to stop the transfer of power. But unlike Al Gore who conceded, Trump continued to claim without evidence that he was the rightful winner.

In states where Trump lost by a small margin, voter confidence is low. In states Trump won by a large margin, like Idaho, his voters remained confident in election security.

Across the country, there are fewer Republicans than Democrats, so smaller turnouts favor Republicans. That makes it easier for Democrats to turn out higher numbers of voters.

That explains why the GOP favors “reforms” like eliminating drop boxes and mail in voting. They reduce voter turnout.

As a result the desire to win elections, not the desire for greater security, is the only explanation that makes any sense for the GOP concern for election security.

Democrats believe every American citizen should have equal and unfettered access to voting. And Democrats believe that for the sake of our unity as a people and the strength of our democracy, we must maintain the peaceful transfer of power — win or lose.

• • •

Evan Koch is chairman of the Kootenai County Democrats.

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