For some who may be wondering, why talk about US Election integrity now. It started with a Federal Election Reform,Dubbed the Carter-Baker commission, it was co-chaired by former President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, and former Secretary of State James Baker, a Republican. It addressed issues such as ballot harvesting and removing the names of dead voters from the registration rolls.
The Carter-Baker commission completed its report in 2005 with 87 recommendations for how to ensure election integrity. The report determined that mail-in votes “remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.”
The survival of the nation’s democratic republic depends upon “Americans’ belief that their vote counts and their continued faith in the fairness and security of our electoral process,” said Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation who oversees the think tank’s Election Law Reform Initiative.
Introducing SAFE Votes Act
Aim: Securing America’s Federal Elections Act or the SAFE Act
This bill addresses election security through grant programs and requirements for voting systems and paper ballots.
The bill establishes requirements for voting systems, including that systems (1) use individual, durable, voter-verified paper ballots; (2) make a voter’s marked ballot available for inspection and verification by the voter before the vote is cast; (3) ensure that individuals with disabilities are given an equivalent opportunity to vote, including with privacy and independence, in a manner that produces a voter-verified paper ballot; (4) be manufactured in the United States; and (5) meet specified cybersecurity requirements, including the prohibition of the connection of a voting system to the internet.
Introduced in May 14, 2019 by Rep. Lofgren, Zoe [D-CA-19]; Passed by the House on June 27, 2019. Received in the Senate on June 28, 2019 and Read twice then referred to the Committee on Rules and Administration.
The SAFE Votes Act would require Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to appoint nine of the commission’s members, one of whom would serve as chairperson. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., would appoint the other nine, including a co-chair.
Appointed members must be “geographically balanced and shall include representatives of federal, state, and local governments and of the legal, cybersecurity, and election administration and technology communities,” according to the legislation.
If the bill is passed and signed into law, McConnell and Pelosi would have 90 days to make their appointments.
The 18 commission members would have a little less than a year to produce recommendations and a list of best election practices “to improve the security, integrity, and administration of federal elections,” the bill states.
The panel also would be tasked with making best-practices recommendations for state and local elections, specifically how to ensure free and fair elections amid the coronavirus pandemic or other national emergencies.
The introduction of the SAFE Votes Act comes amid widespread concerns over the integrity of the 2020 election and increased mail-in voting imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Proposing Bipartisan Commission To Review 2020 Election
On November 12, 2020 U.S. Senators Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) introduced the Securing America’s Future Elections and Votes (SAFE Votes) Act to create a bipartisan commission to review the 2020 election and report to Congress with recommendations to strengthen election integrity going forward.
It is called Securing America’s Future Election and Votes Act
It would create a bipartisan commission to review the 2020 election and report to Congress recommendations to strengthen election integrity for the future.Nine Republicans and nine Democrats would be appointed to the commission if the bill passes.
The commission would investigate:
- The effects of national emergencies like the coronavirus on our election system,
- The security risks facing mail-in ballots, and
- The extent of voter fraud in our election system.
The commission would also develop best practices for mitigating fraud and increasing election security at the local, state, and federal levels.
“Americans should have total confidence that every legal vote is counted,” Loeffler said. “What is clear from the 2020 presidential election is that serious oversight of the administering of our nation’s elections is long overdue. I am proud to join Senator Perdue in proposing an in-depth review in order to protect the integrity of future elections.”
“Our democracy depends on the integrity of our elections. Every legal vote must be counted, and any illegal vote must not be counted,” Perdue said. “Many Americans have serious questions about how the 2020 election was administered, and they deserve answers. We need a clear picture of where things went wrong and how we can fix it going forward. The SAFE Votes Act will create a bipartisan commission to review the recent election and identify ways to mitigate fraud, improve transparency, and strengthen election integrity.”
U.S. Senators Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) introduce (SAFE Votes) Act to create a bipartisan commission to review 2020 election
A Look At Electoral Count Act of 1887
The Electoral Count Act, or the Electoral Count Act of 1887, Pub.L. 49–90, 24 Stat. 373 is a United States federal law establishing procedures for the counting of electoral votes by Congress following a presidential election. The law has subsequently been codified, with some modifications, into positive law in Title 3, Chapter 1 of the United States Code, which also contains other provisions related to presidential elections and vacancies. The law was enacted in the aftermath of the disputed 1876 presidential election, in which several states submitted competing slates of electors and a divided Congress was unable to resolve the deadlock.
The central provisions of the law have not been seriously tested in a disputed election, the closest approach being in the 2000 election, which was ultimately resolved before the electors cast their votes.
Looking at the unprecedented 2020 election irregularities and allegations that have led to litigation, questions remain will the time frame for stipulated results declaration exceed the constitutional timing, all things been equal? or with the impact of the pandemic give room for an extension.