Can We Trust Our Elections? Grading Each State

There should be an area of agreement between all reasonable people in the United States.  For our country to survive we must be able to trust the integrity of our elections.  If elected officials are abusing their power like they are in places like California right now, we need to have the ability to vote those people out of office or else there is no check against tyranny.  When dishonest politicians are able to steal elections, they will. 

Both Democrats and Republicans say that they want honest and fair elections.  Both parties have complained about the integrity of our recent and upcoming elections.  Unfortunately, they have different ideas about what is taking away the trust in our elections.  We heard a lot from Democrats about Russian interference in the 2016 election.  In fact, they have spent much of the last 4 years investigating it over and over again.  Many of you may wonder how they allege that the Russians changed the outcome in 2016.  Did they somehow hack our voting systems and change the vote counts?  Did they fly in Russians to swing states where they cast illegal votes?  No.  The alleged Russian interference is that they said mean things about Hillary Clinton on Facebook.  While that may be frustrating to Hillary fans, it does not actually make it easier for anybody to cast fraudulent votes.  Plus, how many of you would change your vote because some stranger said something mean on Facebook?

Republicans ask a different question about voting that we should all agree is important.  Do we know who is casting the votes in our elections and that no shenanigans are happening with those votes?  If we don’t it opens the door to voter fraud, stolen elections, and the end of our government of the people, by the people, and for the people.  Do not fall for the media line that very few people get convicted of voter fraud so nobody does it.  That’s like saying a Las Vegas club that doesn’t check ID’s has no underage people inside because no underage people got caught. 

How can we be more confident about who is voting and that they are correctly counted?  The only way to be sure is to require in person voting, on Election Day, with matching photo ID to verify that the person is who they say they are.  It’s easy and it’s common sense.  Unfortunately, not everybody wants to have honest elections. 

Each state sets up their own election laws, so some are far more reliable than others.  Some are unwisely pushing for mail-in voting, with nobody there to verify that the person who filled out the ballot is the actual person that the ballot belongs to, and with no guarantee that the ballot will be delivered or counted.  In fact, there is already an investigation into military mail-in ballots that were apparently opened and thrown into the garbage in Pennsylvania.  The only time a mail-in ballot should be accepted is for overseas military personnel.  All 50 states now allow some form of mail-in voting, so nobody gets a perfect score on preventing voter fraud, but some states at least have a few precautions set up. 

Unfortunately, other states not only lack rules to prevent election shenanigans, but they come up with ideas to make cheating so easy that the Houston Astros wish they had thought of it.  “Ballot harvesting” is the shady practice of allowing a third party to collect ballots and deliver them to be counted.  This has all of the negatives of mail-in voting with the added problem of having partisan people targeting which ballots to bring in.  In California this practice caused congressional districts that had always voted one way to flip.  In many of the cases the returns had one candidate ahead at the end of election night only to swing wildly to the other side the next day.  Whenever the results from election night change like that it raises major red flags as to the integrity of those votes.

It’s pretty unbelievable, but some states do not even require you to show identification when you go to vote.  That means we have no idea who is casting votes in those states.  Here in California, if I walked into a polling place and said my name is Fred Johnson, then I’m Fred Johnson.  Apparently in Pennsylvania their Secretary of State said that they would not even throw out a ballot if the signature doesn’t match.

What we need is a report card to know which states have safe enough elections to trust the outcome.  Below you will find it, with a grade based on how many precautions are set up to make sure that each vote has been properly cast by the correct, legal voter. 

  StateVoting Only on Election DayVoting In Person OnlyID Required to Verify Who Is VotingBallot Harvesting and Other Notable Rules  Grade
    Alabama    YesNo, but an excuse is required    YesAbsentee ballots require witnesses and must be received before the close of polling    A
  Alaska  No  No  Yes, but non-photo ID acceptedA special needs voter can have a representative return a ballot  C  
    Arizona    No    No  Yes, but non-photo ID acceptedFamily member, household member, or caregiver can return ballots    C
  Arkansas  NoNo, but an excuse is required  YesBallot harvesting allowed, but limit two ballots per authorized agent  B
California  NoNo, and everyone receives a mailed ballot  NoBallot harvesting allowed  F
Colorado NoNo, all mail-in election NoBallot harvesting allowed F
  Connecticut  YesNo, but an excuse is required  Yes, but non-photo ID acceptedOthers can return votes for disabled voters, with restrictions   B
  DelawareYes, but early voting passed for 2022  NoID is requested, but voters can sign an affidavit to avoid showing IDUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed   D
  Florida  No  No  YesOthers can return votes for disabled voters, with restrictions  C
  Georgia   No  No  YesOthers can return votes for disabled voters, with restrictions  C
    Hawaii    NoNo, all mail-in electionID is requested, but voters can recite their date of birth and address insteadUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed    F
  Idaho  No  NoID is requested, but voters can sign an affidavit to avoid showing IDUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed  F
Illinois No No NoBallot harvesting allowed F
    Indiana    NoNo, but an excuse is required, and coronavirus is not a valid excuse    YesMail ballots must be received before the close of polling    B
  Iowa  No  NoYes, or another voter can vouch for their identityBallot harvesting allowed  D
Kansas No No YesBallot harvesting allowed D
  Kentucky  YesNo, but an excuse is required  YesOthers can return votes for disabled voter, with restrictions   A
    Louisiana    NoNo, but an excuse is required, and coronavirus is not a valid excuse ID is requested, but voters can sign an affidavit to avoid showing IDMail ballots require a witness signature and must be received before the close of polling    B
  Maine  No  No  NoBallot harvesting allowed, but limited to five at a time  F
Maryland No No NoBallot harvesting allowed F
    Massachusetts    No    No    NoBallots may be delivered by a family member or from a healthcare facility    F
      Michigan      No      NoID is requested, but voters can sign an affidavit to avoid showing IDFamily member or certified election assistant can deliver ballots.  Ballots must be received by 6 pm on Election Day    D
  Minnesota  No  No   NoDesignated agent can return up to three ballots  F
   Mississippi    YesNo, but an excuse is required      YesUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed.  Mail ballots require witnesses and must be received before the close of polling    B
    Missouri     Yes      No    Yes, but non-photo is acceptedBallots can be returned by a family member or a team of election authorities and require witness signatures    B
    Montana    No    No    Yes, but non-photo is acceptedLaw limited who could return ballots and only six per person, but a judge has held up the law    D
    Nebraska  No  No  NoOthers can return up to two ballots except for campaign workers   D
  Nevada  NoNo, and everyone receives a mailed ballot  NoBallots may be returned by a family member  F
New Hampshire    YesNo, but an excuse is requiredIf ID is not presented, the voter signs a challenged voter affidavit and votes a regular ballot. After the election a mailing is sent and the voter must sign and return it; if it is not returned, the voter will be investigated for voter fraud.Family members, nursing home staff, and residential care staff can return up to four ballots which must be received before the close of polling    B   
  New Jersey  NoNo, and everyone receives a mailed ballot  NoAn authorized messenger can return up to three ballots  F
  New Mexico  No  No  NoA caregiver or immediate family member can return ballots F
  New York  NoNo, but an excuse is required  NoUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed   F
North Carolina    No    NoNo, although a voter ID law was passed by voters, it was blocked by an Obama appointed judge. Ballots require witness signature and may be returned by a near relative or legal guardian    F
 North Dakota    No    No    YesOthers can deliver up to four ballots, cannot be a candidate or be compensated    C
  Ohio  No  NoYes, but non-photo is acceptedBallots can be returned by a family member   D
 Oklahoma    No    No  Yes, but non-photo is acceptedCopy of ID, notarized ballot, or two witness signatures required    C
Oregon NoNo, all mail-in election NoBallot harvesting allowed F
      Pennsylvania      No      No      NoIf voter becomes too sick to vote a representative, deputy sheriff or constable can deliver an emergency absentee ballot    F
  Rhode Island  No  No  YesUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed  D
South Carolina    YesNo, but an excuse is required, and coronavirus is not a valid excuse      YesBallots may be returned by others except candidates or paid campaign workers and require witness signatures    A
 South Dakota     No       NoID is requested, but voters can sign an affidavit to avoid showing IDPhoto ID required for a mail ballot.  An authorized messenger may deliver ballots, but if more than one they must notify the person in charge of the election   D      
  Tennessee      NoNo, and a judge ordered them to allow no-excuse absentee voting      YesUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed    D
    Texas     NoNo, but an excuse is requiredPhoto ID requested. Voters who do not possess an acceptable form of photo ID and cannot obtain one, may present a supporting form of ID and execute a Reasonable Impediment DeclarationPhoto ID required for a mail ballot.  A household member, relative or person lawfully assisting a voter who is disabled or cannot read the ballot may return the mail ballot    C
  Utah  NoNo, all mail-in election  NoUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed  F
  Vermont  NoNo, and everyone receives a mailed ballot  NoUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed  F
    Virginia    No        No    Yes, but non-photo acceptedWitness signature required for mail ballots.  A designated representative can return ballot for a voter who is incapacitated or hospitalized    C
  Washington  NoNo, all mail-in election  NoUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed   F
 West Virginia  NoNo, but an excuse is requiredYes, or be identified by a poll workerAnyone can return up to two ballots  B
  Wisconsin      No      No      YesUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed. Photo ID required for a mail ballot and witness signature required    C
  Wyoming  No  No  NoUnspecified if ballot harvesting is allowed  F

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