Guard Against False Solutions
by Kurt Hyde, Chairman of the Board
Many state legislatures are currently in session and are considering hundreds of election-related bills. Concerns about election integrity have fueled an upsurge of interest in this topic since the 2020 general election. Despite growing understanding that America’s elections have problems, though, the public and their legislators are woefully under-educated on the proper solutions. Many of the bills currently in the state legislatures testify to that.
JBS chapters and members should educate themselves on the proper solutions. Essential tools for this include the JBS slim jim “9 Ways to Restore America’s Elections” and the reprint of the February 15, 2021 TNA cover story “Restoring Election Integrity.”
One example of misfit legislation to correct an election-integrity problem can be found in H.B. 1877 in the Texas Legislature. This bill, if enacted, would authorize the Texas Secretary of State to appoint and direct state election marshals to ensure honest and accurate elections. However, an alternative solution can be found on the first page of the TNA reprint (“Reinstate voting and vote counting as public acts”) or the first item listed in the slim jim (“Let voters monitor their elections”). If the people were once again allowed to monitor their elections — and now with the modern technology of cameras in virtually every cell phone — the shenanigans and/or sloppiness in casting ballots, counting votes, and adding up the totals would be greatly diminished at little or no taxpayer cost and with no need for police-state tactics.
Also in Texas, H.B. 1792 would require preferential voting in special elections to fill vacancies. What is “preferential voting”? Don’t we vote for the candidates we prefer? Section 201.056 of the bill unravels the confusing wording:
(a) The secretary of state shall prescribe procedures to allow for an election for an office requiring a majority vote using a preferential voting system.
(b) The system must allow a voter to rank each candidate for an office through a numerical designation from the candidate the voter favors most to the candidate the vote favors least.
In other words, “preferential voting” is another term for ranked-choice voting.
In Missouri, S.B. 235, the “Missouri Elections Sovereignty Act,” would be a big step in the right direction, but its author should have considered The Federalist, No. 59. This bill would allow Missouri to separate its elections into multiple sections and conduct its state and local elections free of federal election laws.
The bill cites Article I, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, which says the states shall make election laws, but “Congress may … make or alter such Regulations.” This wording was challenged by the Anti-Federalists during the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. Alexander Hamilton explained the intent in The Federalist, No. 59. First, this was to be allowed only for extraordinary circumstances. Second, Hamilton stated: “Suppose an article had been introduced into the Constitution, empowering the United States to regulate the elections for the particular States, would any man have hesitated to condemn it, both as an unwarrantable transposition of power, and as a premeditated engine for the destruction of the State governments?”
Based on Hamilton’s explanation of the intent, federal laws including the Motor Voter Act, Help America Vote Act, and the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act are unconstitutional. Missouri should free itself from them by declaring them unconstitutional and nullifying them within its borders.
JBS members must be active in influencing state election-integrity legislation — starting with first being informed.