ELECTION INTEGRITY – Restoring Trust in Virginia’s Elections
Do you trust your vote counts? If a medical pulse was taken on America’s trust in our election processes, the results would be alarming— some would say fatal. One author1 quantified the problem this way: “After the last election cycle, confidence is waning: Less than 60%2 of all voters were confident that ballots would be accurately cast and counted.” The result of this mistrust is that fewer people show up at the polls to take part in the democratic process of governing and we lose representation of the rich diversity that makes us who we are.
However, as the populace has increasingly lost trust in elections, a large infusion of new energy and support for finding solutions has surfaced. Those who advocate for increased election integrity, also often called election security, believe it should be easy to vote and hard to cheat in the process for our citizenry to select public servants. Yet, current Virginia laws and regulations make it easy to vote and easy to cheat — similar problems are pervasive across the nation. Knowing that the laws are not robust enough to inhibit voter fraud only exacerbates the populace’s mistrust in elections. When election processes are vulnerable to being manipulated with only minimal energy and time required to do so, Virginians’ sacred right to vote is jeopardized.
How can we restore “liberty and justice for all” voters? Good election policy at the state level is the best place to start. To prevent even the temptation for a person to commit voter fraud, it is desirable to safeguard our elections by passing laws to make it difficult to vote more than once or otherwise unduly influence voting results and interfere with the will of “we the people.” Although dozens and dozens of bills that touched on aspects of election security were introduced during this past 2022 Virginia Legislative Session, only a few were passed by the legislature and sent to the Governor’s desk. Below you will find a roadmap of bills introduced this session and some of the strong ideas that lawmakers advanced to secure our elections.