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MARSHAL TRIGG: Key Election Integrity Wins Are Being Notched Across America

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Marshal Trigg Contributor
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“Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”

Well, here is at least one way: our elections are more secure. (RELATED: CHRIS FARRELL: Clean Voter Rolls Matter)

At its core, most election integrity litigation asks courts to answer one of two questions: Do laws designed to shield our voting process from fraud and other irregularities strip away any individual’s right to vote? And must election officials strictly comply with those laws?

In litigation surrounding the 2020 election, unfortunately, too many courts either botched these questions or ducked them entirely. The reasons ran the gamut, from poorly drafted legislation and low-quality lawyering to COVID-induced fear and politically motivated judging. But now we’re fighting back and winning.

Legislation has been tightened, highly skilled lawyers have taken over cases, COVID hysteria is gone and there are far fewer legal justifications for evading the core issues in the courtroom.

We are already scoring wins that outpace the 2020 baseline. States like OhioNew Hampshire and North Carolina have beefed up voter-ID laws and steamrolled their opponents in court. In other states, litigants have secured the integrity of mail-in voting — take Pennsylvania, where officials will finally be enforcing longstanding state law that requires voters to both sign and date their mail-in ballots.

Pennsylvania is also cracking down on double-dipping voters who cast both mail and in-person ballots. Wisconsin courts have upheld requirements for witness certification on absentee ballots, and an Arizona court has confirmed that voters must rectify unsigned early ballots by 7:00 pm on Election Day. Further, several states have ended the influx of private funding into election administration (“Zuckbucks”).

Yet, the fight isn’t over. Left-leaning lawyers have challenged several aspects of Georgia’s comprehensive election-integrity package. Initial results have been promising, but the battle is ongoing.

The challenged provisions include much-needed election reform such as ballot harvesting and drop box restrictions, and a requirement that absentee ballots be requested no later than eleven days before the election. Courts in Florida and Georgia will decide whether those states can mandate original signatures on absentee ballot applications.

And, in Arizona, the usual suspects filed a lawsuit challenging a recently enacted state law authorizing the removal of voters if they skip consecutive elections without confirming their continued interest in early ballots.

In fact, that is just a sample. There are even more looming legal issues at stake, some of which may reach resolution before the election.

Wisconsin is currently considering whether voters should be allowed to retrieve and re-cast their ballots after changing their minds. In Montana, Democrat election lawyer Marc Elias is seriously arguing that voters should be allowed to stay registered in multiple jurisdictions.

Georgia is defending its law that absentee ballot applications be received eleven days before the election. And, in Michigan, the question will be decided whether failing to remove 26,000 dead voters from the rolls constitutes reasonable list maintenance efforts.

As with anything, there have been setbacks. In Montana, paid ballot harvesting is enshrined as a “fundamental right” as well. Over in New York, the legislature sidestepped both the state constitution and a direct voter referendum to push through universal mail voting—and the courts have so far agreed with them.

For some of these matters, there is still time for appellate courts, state supreme courts, and the United States Supreme Court to step in and fix the errors of lower courts. In others, however, it will be important for people to realize that courts do not have the final say over whether they will have safe and secure elections. In the end, as it should be in democratic governments, it will be up to them.

Today, our electoral system stands stronger than it did four years ago, but the journey is far from finished. While we celebrate recent victories, we must remain alert. That means advocating for and implementing reforms that not only rectify past oversights but also preempt potential future vulnerabilities.

Let us continue to foster an electoral environment where every American can trust in the fairness and accuracy of our elections.

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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