The Daily Signal posted an article today explaining how the confusion about this years presidential election could have been avoided. The article cites the 2005 report of the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform, known informally as the Carter-Baker Commission.
The article lists seven areas of recommendations in the report that needed to be changed to prevent all of the charges and counter-charges we currently see.
This is the list:
1) Voter IDs
With the vast expansion of mail-in voting this year, voter ID requirements were less likely.
Today, states have a patchwork of voter ID laws, with 36 states either requiring or requesting voters to present identification at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The conference says only six states have “strict” photo ID requirements—Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
The Carter-Baker Commission called for voter ID standards nationwide in its 2005 report.
2) Mail-In and Absentee Voting Risks
In a brief filed supporting the Trump campaign’s Pennsylvania litigation over mail-in ballots, a group of Republican state attorneys general reference the Cater-Baker Commission report among other items regarding mail-in voting and ballot harvesting.
The 2020 election trends seemed to shift dramatically as mailed-in votes were counted. Further, many questions have emerged about the point of origin for ballots.
Specifically, the report called on states to prohibit third parties or political operatives from collecting ballots—a practice commonly known as “ballot harvesting.”
3) Avoiding Duplicate Registration Across State Lines
In Nevada, the Trump campaign asserts there were potentially thousands of out-of-state votes cast in one of the most closely contested states.
The Carter-Baker Commission report called for states to make it easier to track registered voters who move from one state to another to reduce duplication of registrations.
The report states, “Invalid voter files, which contain ineligible, duplicate, fictional, or deceased voters, are an invitation to fraud.”
“In order to assure that lists take account of citizens moving from one state to another, voter databases should be made interoperable between states,” the Carter-Baker report stated. “This would serve to eliminate duplicate registrations, which are a source of potential fraud.”
4) Election Observers for Integrity
In Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Nevada, Republicans have complained that qualified election observers have been prohibited from watching the counting.
The Carter-Baker Commission report stressed the need for election observers to maintain the integrity of the ballots.
5) Reliable Voting Machines
Voting machines have also been a significant issue in 2020, particularly in Michigan, as one county there flipped from Biden to Trump after a hand recount showed the machine count to be inaccurate.
The Carter-Baker Commission suggested that machines print out paper receipts for voters to verify their vote was accurately counted.
6) Media Calling Elections
On election night, Fox News Channel was the first to call the state of Arizona for Biden, prompting outrage in the Trump camp. Moreover, major media outlets have projected Biden to have won the election, even as vote counting and litigation continue.
The 2005 commission report also addressed problems with the media, suggesting news outlets voluntarily offer candidates free airtime and also show restraint in calling a state for one candidate or the other. The First Amendment would prevent any such rule from being mandatory.
7) Prosecuting Voter Fraud
The Carter-Baker Commission suggested that federal and state prosecutors should more aggressively monitor voter fraud.
“In July of even-numbered years, the U.S. Department of Justice should issue a public report on its investigations of election fraud,” the report says.
Think what a difference these ideas would make in securing the integrity of our elections. Obviously it is too late for this election, but we need to take a good look at instituting these reforms for future elections.