On Sunday, just before the 2021 session adjournment, the Texas legislature passed Senate Bill 7 along ;arty lines. SB 7 is an election reform bill that cuts back on early voting hours, bans drive-thru voting, makes it a jail felony for local officials to send mail-in ballots to voters who didn’t request them, and expands access for poll watchers in the Lone Star state. It further adds new identification requirements for mail-in ballots.
SB 7 was aimed at Harris County (Houston), a Democratic stronghold, where during the 2020 general election 140,000 people voted from their cars at 24-hour polling places. Critics of Harris County’s practices said there was little effort to ensure those who voted were who they said they were. Proponents said the practices allowed many who had never voted before to cast a ballot. Governor Greg Abbott is expected to sign SB 7 when it reaches his desk. Similar election reform measures have passed in Iowa, Georgia and Florida’s state legislature. On Sunday, after it was passed, President Biden called SB 7 "wrong and un-American." Four observations:
First, it is past time Republicans took on election reform. In their 2008 ruling, the Supreme Court upheld the state of Indiana’s voter ID law by a 6-3 vote and said there were "flagrant examples of voter fraud throughout U.S. history," thus the need to ensure those who were voting were who they said they were. Democrats have consistently opposed voter ID laws. Why would anyone oppose such a common-sense idea as voter identification? The only logical answer is they couldn't care less about election integrity, only winning.
Second, early voting should be limited. Until the past decade, early voting was very limited. A person could vote by absentee ballot, but otherwise, he or she had to show up on election day and cast a ballot. To accommodate our "convenience/consumer driven" society, early voting was implemented. Initially, early voting was a couple of days before the actual election, but then some states expanded it to weeks before the election. There are two potential issues with early voting: First, there must be a foolproof way to ensure no one casts two ballots – one early and one on election day. And second, in many elections, something major happens late in the campaign that might change a voter’s mind, but he or she has already cast a ballot. Oklahoma’s three days before the actual election early voting system is convenient enough.
Third, voter fraud is real. On their website, the Heritage Foundation cites 11 examples, starting back in 1983 forward of election fraud. They list nine methods of voter fraud – from voter impersonation at the polls to fraudulent use of absentee ballots. In Harris County, Texas', unsolicited absentee ballots were sent out and then allowed to be sent back with no voter identification verification. SB 7 makes that a felony in Texas. That should be the case nationwide.
Fourth, Democrats are working on election reform as well. HB 1, proposed by President Biden, would implement Harris County’s 2020 "wink and nod" practices to every voting precinct in the country. That, Mr. President, is "wrong and unAmerican."
“In the 21st century, we should be making it easier, not harder, for every eligible voter to vote,” the president says. The two key words are "eligible voter." Just who determines who is eligible to vote? According to Democrats, it is anyone who votes straight Democrat.
The Heritage Foundation is right when it says: “Election integrity is essential and the security of the ballot box cannot be left to a simple honor system. It is incumbent upon state governments to safeguard the electoral process, and ensure that every voter’s right to cast a ballot is protected.”
Steve Fair is chairman of the 4th District of the Oklahoma Republican Party. His blog is stevefair.blogspot.com.