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‘Make Voting Great Again’: GOP Warns Against Government Election Meddling

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By Fred Lucas, The Daily Signal | March 14, 2024

The Biden administration appears poised to put the government’s thumb on the scale in the 2024 election, House Republicans say. 

The administration’s lack of transparency about implementing President Joe Biden’s executive order for federal agencies to help get out the vote—combined with a warning from Attorney General Merrick Garland—has sparked some concern among lawmakers. 

“You just saw Merrick Garland saying voter ID is disenfranchising people,” Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., co-chairman of the House Election Integrity Caucus, told The Daily Signal. “The statistics don’t bear that out. It’s like 85% of people across all demographics support voter ID.”

Earlier this month, Garland criticized voter ID laws and other election security measures as “discriminatory, burdensome, and unnecessary.”

“One of the first things I did as attorney general was to double the number of lawyers in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division,” Garland said in a March 3 speech in Selma, Alabama. “That is why we are challenging efforts by states and jurisdictions to implement discriminatory, burdensome, and unnecessary restrictions on access to the ballot, including those related to mail-in voting, the use of drop boxes, and voter ID requirements.”

As explained in my book “The Myth of Voter Suppression,” several studies have shown that voter ID laws don’t suppress voting. 

A 2019 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, based on turnout data from 2008 to 2018, said voter ID laws “have no negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any group defined by race, gender, age, or party affiliation.” 

A 2023 study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that voter ID laws actually “produced a Democratic advantage, which weakened to near zero after 2012.” It added that voter ID laws have “negligible average effects.”

Garland’s recent comments seemed aimed at intimidation during the 2024 election cycle, where it looks like Biden again will face Donald Trump, Tenney said.  

“We’ve had just an unprecedented amount of changes in laws in terms of election integrity,” Tenney said, referring to New York and other Democrat-controlled states. She added: “I’m trying to make voting great again. I’m trying to make it sacred.”

Americans should be able to trust elections, said Rep. Mary Miller, R-Ill. 

“It’s interesting we think we are so sophisticated around the world and we are faltering in this area,” Miller told The Daily Signal. “People need to feel that their vote matters. We need to have voter ID. You cannot even pay cash for a hotel room without coming up with … ID. This is ridiculous.” 

Voter ID laws are commonplace in almost every European country, while mail-in voting is far more restricted than in the United States. 

“You want legitimate voters to make sure that everybody has a vote that legally should have a vote,” Rep. Beth Van Duyne, R-Texas, told The Daily Signal. “Otherwise, you are diluting the voice of your constituency.” 

Van Duyne said she does worry about Biden’s Executive Order 14019, which requires federal agencies to establish plans and partner with nonprofit organizations to boost voting. 

“The Constitution clearly defines states as maintaining control of their election laws,” Van Duyne said. “Trying to stick the camel’s nose under the tent is a mistake. I do not want D.C. coming in and telling Texas how to conduct its elections.” 

Although Biden administration agencies have been slow to release information voluntarily, responses to requests for public records have shown agencies are partnering with transparently liberal organizations such as Demos, the Brennan Center for Justice, the American Civil Liberties Union, and similar groups. 

“I don’t have a problem with voters having access to vote. That’s the American way. I do have a problem with agencies being involved in the political process,” Rep. Carlos Giménez, R-Fla., said.

“That should be left up to the parties and volunteer groups for voter registration. Certainly, the agencies shouldn’t put impediments to voter registration [in place],”  Giménez told The Daily Signal. “But that’s a very slippery slope for federal agencies to be in charge of voter registration, because there are always going to be charges of ‘Are you registering one particular group over another?’ I’d rather not see the federal government involved in that.” 

The most frequent source of election fraud comes from mail-in or absentee voting, based on a compilation of cases from The Heritage Foundation’s Election Fraud Database. 

If Biden cared about election security, he would address the problem of absentee ballots, said Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wis.

“If you have an absentee ballot, you never know for sure who filled it out. You never know for sure if somebody is being coached,” Grothman told The Daily Signal. 

“If [Russian President] Vladimir Putin got elected with 80% of the ballots being absentee, we’d just roll our eyes and say that’s not a fair election,” he said. “But there are many states in which 80% of the ballots are going to be absentee, which will always cause American elections to be viewed jadedly.”

Fred Lucas is chief news correspondent and manager of the Investigative Reporting Project for The Daily Signal. He is the author of "The Myth of Voter Suppression: The Left's Assault on Clean Elections."

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