Making it easier to vote does not threaten election integrity

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      Rhetorically, the integrity of elections can refer to a great many things. However, over the past many years, election integrity has become a code word for hyper vigilance over voter fraud. Despite mountains of evidence that fraud by voters is extremely rare, state legislators are pushing restrictive policies such as requiring proof of citizenship when registering to vote, requiring identification when voting and limiting absentee voting.

      After election officials successfully overcame the hurdles the pandemic threw at them — such as increasing drop-box locations for safe balloting or making absentee ballots readily available — many state Republican legislators claimed those modifications resulted in or risked election manipulation.

      However, some Republicans are bucking the trend in their party and are drawing on the lessons from the successful administration of elections in 2020. In Kentucky, bipartisan support in the Republican-controlled state House passed a bill that would implement three days of early voting and maintain an online system for requesting absentee ballots, although only for some voters, first used during the pandemic.

      Simply put, tightening rules to prevent astronomically rare events of fraud is likely to cause far more harm than good. The 2020 general election demonstrated that policies expanding access to the ballot — including ones targeted for elimination by some bills that states are considering this spring — can be implemented securely, even under highly stressful conditions.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

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