In a recent speech in Michigan, Donald Trump irked liberals by asking his supporters to monitor and observe the electoral process to “make sure it’s on the up and up.” He explained:
You’ve been reading the same stories as I’ve been reading. So go to your [polling] place and vote, and then go pick some other place, and go sit there with your friends and make sure it’s on the up and up. Because know what? That’s a big, big problem in this country, and nobody wants to talk about it. Nobody has the guts to talk about it.
Wrong. In fact, their charges are hypocritical. While Democrats criticize Trump for wanting to bring some sorely needed sunshine to the electoral process, the Democratic party and its allies are planning to insert “election protection” teams in polling places across the country to purportedly protect voters.
The truth is that every candidate and campaign enjoys the same constitutional right to access the polling place and to have representatives monitor the integrity of our sacred electoral process. The First Amendment protects not only a voter’s right to speak but also his right to observe a polling place.
The good news is that the states are usually generous in allowing such access. In most states, laws and regulations lay out specific parameters to monitor vote counting. The purpose of these laws? To make sure everything is on the up and up.
Still, the Left remains obstinate. Indeed, for the past year, Democrats have filed endless lawsuits against voter-integrity laws and complained that measures to improve election security will burden or disenfranchise voters.
Here’s the truth. In the aftermath of the infamous 2000 election, a blue-ribbon commission was created. It was chaired by former Democratic president Jimmy Carter and former Republican secretary of state James Baker. The commission recommended a simple, serviceable, and straightforward solution: require voters to present a voter ID before they can vote.
For the past year, Democrats have filed endless lawsuits against voter-integrity laws and complained that measures to improve election security will burden or disenfranchise voters.
And yet, the Left fights measures like this every step of the way. It will tell you it’s oppressive to get an ID — even though the Supreme Court has ruled that a trip to an election office or the DMV does not place an undue burden on voters. Indeed, the Left opposes any real effort to keep the rolls accurate, even simply to remove the names of non-citizens, dead people, and those who have moved and registered in another state.
What do we get as a result of this mulishness, this refusal to recognize reality? Inaccurate registration information means that voters often stand in line for hours, only to learn they’re in the wrong polling place. If you want to point to one of the major causes of delays, confusion, and errors in our elections, you need only look to voter rolls that have been neglected for years by election officials.
Inaccurate voter rolls also exponentially increase the potential for fraud. Did you hear the one about the deceased World War II veterans who just registered to vote? How about the one where 40 days before the election, a thousand noncitizens were found on the voter rolls in Virginia? Or the dead dozen who cast their ballots in Colorado?
With disasters like these, it’s no wonder that citizens are eager to monitor our monitors. Our request: Do your job. Under federal law, election officials must keep voter rolls up to date.
As with any candidate, Donald Trump has a duty to his supporters — indeed, to the republic — to recruit and train citizens to make sure our electoral process and rules are transparent. How does monitoring and disclosure intimidate voters? It doesn’t — unless something or someone is not on the up and up.
A well-designed polling-place program prevents mischief and deters rule-breaking — by all sides. When it comes to exercising your right to vote, even the appearance of impropriety is unacceptable.
— Joanne W. Young, a managing partner at Kirstein & Young, a law firm in Washington, D.C., is a director of the Lawyers Democracy Fund and the vice president of finance of the Republican National Lawyers Association.