By Ned Ryan
People think the real problems with the integrity of our elections involve non-citizens voting, or lack of photo ID, or voter rolls needing to be cleaned, or ballot box stuffing. While those are all problems, people are missing the elephant quietly sitting in the corner of the room.
The real threat moving forward is the practice of ballot harvesting.
Observers of our elections know something fishy went on in Orange County, California and in Arizona last fall, and they know that there are strange happenings in North Carolina. For most, however, the details remain fuzzy. These happenings have to do with the practice of ballot harvesting: that is, the practice of having union members or partisan volunteers coordinate and go house to house to pick up absentee ballots that haven’t been returned and then drop those ballots off at a polling place or precinct board within the voter’s correct jurisdiction.
Mind you, these volunteers or activists don’t have to be election officials. They can be literally anyone. It feels like a complete understatement to ask, but what could possibly go wrong in this scenario? In a word, everything.
When you put millions of ballots into an un-secure environment, for days on end, in the hands of partisan activists, you’re begging for shenanigans and potential vote manipulation. Imagine for a second Granny Smith opening her door to find Teamsters or the Black Panthers standing there saying, “You’re on our list and we’re here to talk about your ballot. Why don’t you hand it over and we’ll take care of it for you.” Implausible? Nope, because ballot harvesting is basically the old-fashioned urban machine way of getting voters to the polls: you send hooligans out to stand over voters while they dutifully vote for Tammany Hall.
To be clear: anyone favoring ballot harvesting is automatically signaling that they are in favor of voter intimidation, harassment, and corrupting the system. Full stop, period.
One of the very basic fundamentals of our constitutional republic is the integrity of the vote: one person, one vote; having just the citizens of the country actually voting on who should represent them, that the entire process of voting and ballots should be above reproach. That, of course, would not satisfy many on the Left who have been working for decades to make the voting process in this country rife with opportunities for corruption, from “motor voter” laws to mail-in ballots and now legalized ballot harvesting.
Leftists argue they’re only trying to make the process of voting more accessible to everyone. Now getting registered to vote and the actual voting process is so convenient as to be almost an afterthought.
Well, maybe we shouldn’t make it so easy.
Perhaps we should actually make it so that people have to put some work into getting registered and getting to the polls. The practices of no-excuse early voting, absentee ballots on demand, mail-in ballots, motor voter laws, no photo ID, and ballot harvesting aren’t about celebrating the process of voting. Each one of these practices has hollowed out the sacredness of the vote.
Perhaps it’s time to make Election Day a national holiday. A day of celebrating the republic. A day of civics and understanding our history and where we came from and what it means as a citizen to have the sacred duty and right actually to vote for our representatives. Only in extreme, verifiable circumstances would anyone be allowed to vote early. People would have to be registered at least six months in advance of Election Day. They would actually have to vote on Election Day in their correct polling booth and only be given a ballot upon showing correct photo ID. No non-election official should ever be able to handle a ballot.
If it hasn’t occurred to you yet, it should: the Left is not concerned about preserving our constitutional republic. Oh sure, they will permit the illusion that they do, using all the right terms, but since the days of the early Progressives to the socialists of today, the Left has always been in pursuit of power to implement a worldview at odds with our Constitution and more in line with their statist hopes for a new America. They’ve always resented the Founders’ original vision for this republic, finding it inconvenient to their vision of progress. One of the ways they’ve been pursuing that vision is by chipping away at the voting process to make it easier for those who think like them to achieve power.
So we can either sit here like the frog in the pot of slowly boiling water, pretending like none of this is happening, or we can find it within ourselves to “stand athwart history” and say no more. No more to any of this nonsense of the Left annihilating who we were are as a people, annihilating the American dream. In the immortal words of Barry Goldwater, “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”