Op-Ed: We must protect our sacred right to vote, freely and fairly

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By Bruce Poliquin | The Portland Press Herald | March 13, 2021

There’s nothing more sacred than our constitutional right to vote. Yet, Democrats in Washington and Augusta are pushing for major changes to how we vote and tally the results, which will confuse and discourage voters. The goal of the far left “voting reformers” is to secure an election advantage, not to improve the process.

Last week, the top-priority H.R.1 bill passed by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her liberal majority aims to nationalize the election chaos millions of Americans witnessed last November. The U.S. Constitution clearly authorizes the states to determine how elections are conducted within their borders, as long as they are free and fair. Even so, Democrats claim their reforms will make it easier for eligible people to vote. The changes, however, will actually lead to a less transparent, nationalized system that invites all sorts of shenanigans.

Before Election Day 2020, a number of states used their pandemic lockdowns as a reason to change the way residents were required to vote and how to count the ballots. Nevada politicians joined peers in other battleground states to blanket mail live ballots to reportedly inaccurate voter rolls even when residents did not request them. Political activists were allowed to go door-to-door to “harvest” those ballots and, presumably, turn them (or some of them) over to election officials. Swing states Michigan and Wisconsin used unmonitored ballot drop boxes. By passing H.R.1, Democrats in Congress want to allow, and encourage, every state to use this sloppy, unsecure process.

Last November, some states permitted ballots to be counted long after Election Day. Pennsylvania kept counting for three additional days. The election circus unfolded as stakeholders challenged the safekeeping of uncounted ballots days after the polls closed. H.R.1 allows for 10 extra days of counting.

Democrats are using this proposed legislation to force the government to fund political campaigns for federal offices. That means the government might pay for those nasty TV and radio ads that fill our cars and living rooms every two years. What a reckless way to add to the already horrific $28 trillion national debt.

Extreme liberal lawmakers in Augusta are not waiting to see if H.R.1 becomes a national mandate for all states to adopt. Like the far left Congress in Washington, right now, the Democrat majority in the Maine Legislature is crafting its own voting schemes for the Pine Tree State. Unsecure mail-in ballots, extended counting days, door-to-door ballot harvesting, no identification required at the polls, exposed ballot drop boxes, you name it. If you think ranked-choice voting is a mess, buckle up if the “voting reformers” get their way.

Common-sense Mainers of all political stripes can agree the most secure way to vote is to show up at the polls in person on Election Day. It’s time-tested, simple, fair and accurate. If that’s not possible, straightforward early or absentee voting, requiring signature verification, has worked well in Maine for many years.

The Constitution rightly gives states the responsibility to decide how their residents will vote and the ballots counted. State government is always closer to We The People than the far-away federal government.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi was joined by liberal Maine Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden in passing H.R. 1, taking away our ability to decide for ourselves how to vote. They did so for their own perceived political advantage. Let’s watch to see if the U.S. Senate also votes to take away this right to control our own voting destiny.

Bruce Poliquin, a Republican, represented Maine’s 2nd District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2014 to 2018.

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