The Case Against Restricting Voting Access
The United States has endured the most contentious post-election period in modern history, as former President Donald Trump challenged the results of an election that President Joe Biden won by 7 million votes nationwide—albeit by slim majorities in several swing states (Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin) that propelled him to a 306-to-232 Electoral College victory.
The former president and his supporters filed no fewer than 61 lawsuits challenging various aspects of the vote, attempted to sway legislatures to discard certified electoral votes and even attempted to convince Congress (and the vice president) to refuse to certify some states’ electors. The Trump team succeeded only in one lawsuit involving a negligible number of Pennsylvania votes. Nevertheless, this sustained campaign to overturn the election results has had a notable and deleterious effect on public trust in the nation’s election system.
The latest polls found that more than three-quarters of Republican voters did not trust the final vote outcome. Trump’s allegations were wide-ranging and often farfetched. Despite the lack of evidence, some election skeptics seem to place more faith in unfounded social-media assertions than in the decisions made by state election officials, the courts and even the federal Department of Justice, which found no serious instances of election fraud. Now, numerous Republicans at the national and state levels are proposing a variety of post-election voting reforms, seemingly in response to former President Trump’s unsubstantiated postelection claims of rampant voter fraud. While some proposed reforms merit serious deliberation, efforts to repeal no-excuse absentee voting and ban ballot drop boxes will do little—if anything—to improve election integrity and deserve more scrutiny.
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