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March 17, 2021 (Family Research Council) — Last week, an Illinois judge signed arrest warrants for five suspects on counts of forgery and perjury in the 2020 election. Such routine law enforcement of small-scale ballot fraudsters occur after every election. The warrants will therefore surprise nobody, least of all the proud pontificators who only months ago were loudly opining that election fraud never, ever happens.

But please move along; there's nothing to see here. Never mind that the Mayor Pro Tem of Crescent City, California pled guilty to election fraud charges. Never mind that a judge ordered a new election after 78 percent of mail-in ballots were invalidated in Aberdeen, Mississippi. If you bet the farm on election fraud never happening, you'll lose the farm.

The truth is, we have laws in America to govern the election process. They provide guardrails to ensure that no one gets to cast more than one vote. These guardrails include ID requirements, registration deadlines, and chain of custody provisions. When the laws are followed, it becomes possible to catch election fraudsters. That is, unless the laws are changed.

Enter H.R. 1, the House Democrats' top priority, which should be named “The Stick-it-to-the-People Act.” It narrowly passed the House by a vote of 220-210, with one Democrat and all the Republicans opposing it. Upending the Constitutional order of state-run elections, the Democrats' bill would override every state law establishing election guardrails, making it easier to cheat and harder to catch cheaters. Why is that their top legislative priority, instead of coronavirus, jobs, or China? Typically, the only reason to remove guardrails is because you want someone to run off the cliff – in this case, America. The Democrat majority in Congress is trying to make it impossible to hold free and fair elections in America. They must believe that election officials will be able to count ballots more easily if they're blindfolded: “Democrat, Democrat, Democrat.”

In New York's 22nd Congressional District, voters chose Republican Congresswoman Claudia Tenney to replace the Democratic incumbent. But the county election boards completely botched the counting process, forcing a judge to order a recanvass of all ballots before Rep. Tenney was finally declared the winner in early February by 109 votes. Bad oversight and lazy bookkeeping cost her a full month of her term, after the rest of Congress was seated. Removing all oversight and flippantly ignoring the potential for election fraud, as H.R. 1 will mandate, will only cause more such debacles in more places.

The legitimacy of America's system of government depends on the people's trust. The basis of that trust is transparent election laws and processes that require our ballots to be handled in the light of day – because fraud prospers in darkness. State legislators have lots to do if they want to shore up their state's election laws for the next big test in 2024. But the fact that we can still expose and prosecute fraud in even a handful of cases indicates there is still underlying health in the system that must not be surrendered to the Democrats' hare-brained proposal.

Published with permission from the Family Research Council.