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Election and legal officials have been clear that there was no widespread fraud in the Nov. 3 election.
This reality, however, isn’t stopping Republican lawmakers in several states from continuing to push for unnecessary election law changes in the name of “security.” Such changes aren’t needed and, worse, in some cases, are an attempt to suppress voter turnout.
In Georgia, one of five states that were won by President-elect Joe Biden this year and President Donald Trump in 2016, lawmakers are considering a ban on drop boxes for ballots and requiring a reason, such as illness, to request absentee ballots. Georgia was among many states that eased restrictions on absentee balloting because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Republicans lawmakers in Pennsylvania and Michigan, states that were also won by Biden in 2020 after going to Trump in 2016, are also considering reinstating restrictions on voting.
Overall, voters support absentee and early voting, suggesting those changes could be made permanent.
Easing voting restrictions increased voter turnout in every state and nearly every county in America. More than 157 million people voted for president in November, the most ever.
This would be an impressive turnout in any election, but especially this year when the pandemic raised fears of COVID-19 transmission in polling places. Early in the year, as COVID cases were on the rise, state lawmakers, including in Maine, changed laws to make it easier to vote. Use of absentee ballots and early voting was held in every state in November.
Because of the widespread use of absentee ballots, vote counting in many states took longer than usual. The opened the door to claims by the president that the election was rigged.
Trump has been relentlessly touting voter fraud, perpetuating the idea that the election was “stolen” from him. He’s filed dozens of legal challenges, most of which have been dismissed because his legal team has presented no evidence of fraud.
“There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was in any way compromised,” the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, a panel of government and industry officials, said on Nov. 12.
The agency called the Nov. 3 election “the most secure in American history.”
In an interview with the Associated Press, then-Attorney General William Barr said “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election.” Barr has since resigned as attorney general.
Oddly, while claiming absentee voting led to fraud in the presidential election, Republicans are not challenging results of the same election that saw Republicans gain seats in the U.S. House, maintain control of the U.S. Senate (pending the results of two Georgia runoff elections) and expand their numbers in many state legislatures, including in Maine where Republicans gained 11 seats in the House.
Despite Trump’s claims to the contrary, there was no widespread fraud in the November election, thanks in large part to the hard work of state and local election officials, who kept polling places safe and accessible during the pandemic while also handling a record number of early and absentee votes.
These efforts — and their results — should translate into a vote of confidence in our election systems, not politically motivated efforts to change them and to make it harder to cast a ballot.