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MARSHAL TRIGG: Here’s How To Actually Stop Election Fraud

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Marshal Trigg Contributor
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Turns out Bridgeport has learned its lesson the hard way: preventing election fraud is far better than catching election fraud after it happens.

A court has ordered that during the January re-do of the fraud-ridden Bridgeport, Connecticut mayoral democratic primary, absentee ballots must be heavily monitored. For example, the court sharply curtailed the length of time absentee ballots would be circulating.

In addition, new voters must register four days before the election, rather than the usual Election Day deadline. Absentee ballot applications will carry serial numbers when given to ballot harvesters. Finally, dropbox ballots must be specifically stamped “drop box” by a clerk. (RELATED: SNEAD: The Left Is Pushing To Reshape Voting Systems Across America — Here’s How)

The audacity! Are these not acts of racist voter suppression? Where are Marc Elias and his lefty agitators?

As a reminder of what happened, incumbent Mayor Joe Ganim narrowly “won” his primary last September, thanks to a suspiciously robust absentee ballot count. His opponent John Gomes challenged the result and subpoenaed surveillance footage which captured Ganim allies (and repeatedly) depositing ballots into unstaffed dropboxes.

Ultimately, the court ordered a new primary for Jan. 23 — an extraordinary, embarrassing and costly remedy.

At a surface level, there’s some good news here. The bad behavior was identified and a judge listened to the evidence and provided a remedy.

But we shouldn’t clap too quickly.

For one, the judge’s resolution only arrived after the damage to public trust had already been done. As a Bridgeport voter told the New York Times after the disastrous election, “I would like to think [my vote] makes a difference, but I don’t know.”

Moreover, it is unlikely the surveillance footage would have surfaced at all had it not been subpoenaed. While the disparity between in-person and absentee vote-shares flagged suspicions in Bridgeport, it was a legal challenge that exposed the videos. In other words, it was not safeguards that caught the misconduct, but luck.

As a nation, we have a choice. We can allow uncertainty and post-election lawsuits to become the new normal following close races. Or we can work to eliminate the opportunities which create uncertainty in the first place. Even deep-blue Bridgeport knows option two is the only real solution.

Here are a few places to start.

First, states must limit who can handle someone’s ballot. Connecticut limits ballot harvesters to specific designees of disabled people or family members of students, not Ganim’s buddies. While Connecticut did a poor job of enforcing that rule, things would be much worse without this rule forcing the court to toss out a rotten election.

Second, dropbox security. Surveillance cameras surrounding dropboxes were crucial in uncovering the misconduct.

Amazingly, Connecticut does not mandate the use of cameras — here, the City of Bridgeport acted on its own. While we can certainly appreciate that heads-up move, it’s not enough.

Video surveillance cannot stop election abuses in real time. If we are going to use dropboxes at all, they should be monitored by human beings, like in Georgia’s SB202, and their hours of operation should be limited. And video surveillance, as a back-up measure, should be mandated through law, not left to the whims of a city.

The Bridgeport saga casts a spotlight on preemptive election security in an era where mail-in voting has become increasingly prevalent. The Left loves to label any regulation on mail-in voting as voter suppression, but just like diet and exercise, proactive measures are clearly preferable to invasive surgery.

The future of our system of government depends on our collective commitment to upholding free and fair elections, in times of crisis and well before.

Marshal Trigg is a Junior Counsel for Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections (RITE) and a Daily Caller Election Law Contributor.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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