Election Reform? You Can Take It to the Banks

January 29, 2021

The coronavirus wasn't God's gift to the Left -- but it was a gift. And Democrats, after balloting chaos that handed them the keys to Congress and the White House, are hoping to make the mail-in process a little more permanent. Not on my watch, says new Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Banks (R-Ind.).

If there's one issue conservatives have to tackle right away, Banks insisted, it's restoring trust in our elections. "The public polling is astounding," he explained on "Washington Watch." Forty-eight percent of Americans don't think the election was free or fair. To help change that, Banks and his fellow Republicans have just introduced a bill called the Save Democracy Act. "There are three pillars [to it]," he said. "Voter ID is one of them. The second part of it is really important when it comes to why Americans distrust elections so much after last November..." Look, he pointed out, Americans had one result before they went to bed on election night, and a different result when they woke up. "They found out that some states in some areas started counting ballots, and then stopped... in the middle of the night. And then they had ballots show up for days or weeks after. So the second part of our bill says that once you start counting ballots on election night, you can't stop." Lastly, Banks said, he wants to ensure that at least two representatives of each presidential campaign are allowed to watch while the ballots are counted.

It's one way, he believes, to give people hope that when they're putting their ballot in a box, it's going to be counted. Right now, it's like a bucket with a hole in the bottom. Nobody has confidence in our system. But the good news is, that can change. Back in 1996, when I was in the Louisiana legislature, we had a U.S. Senate race, that I was involved in that was fraught with fraud. Over the next two years, the legislature overhauled our election system. And honestly, there haven't been any major irregularities since. For the states, the RSC's proposal is a great model.

And that's exactly what Banks's caucus is hoping -- that local leaders will pick up the ideas and run with them. "We've been reaching out to leaders at the state level, because you really get a sense... that this is what matters most to conservatives, to Republicans. They've lost trust in the election process, and they want to know that their vote is going to count when they vote again 2022." The reality is, Jim explained, the GOP was on the brink "of winning back the House majority... which I still believe we're going to do. But if Republicans are so disenfranchised because they feel like their vote didn't count and in November of 2020, they're less likely to show up and vote in 2022 and in 2024 when we win back to the White House. So that's why these measures are important."

As conservatives, they want to make it clear that, constitutionally, states have the authority over elections. So when Democrats push their radical election bill, Vote at Home Act or H.R. 1, what they're really trying to do is federalize the election process -- and take power away from the state so they can implement universal mail-in voting. We can't let that happen.

"H.R. 1 does a couple of other things that you should be aware of, too," Jim said. "It gives it grants statehood to Washington, D.C., which is clearly unconstitutional. That would give Democrats two more Democratic senators. And it also provides for public financing of elections, which means that you and I, as conservatives, would be financing the campaigns of socialist Democrats like Bernie Sanders..." That runs completely counter to the framework the RSC is proposing with the Save Democracy Act. It would lock in a system that is ripe for abuse and manipulation. And frankly, every American who cares about free and fair elections should be contacting their elected officials to oppose it.

In the meantime, conservatives like Banks could use your help to educate, inform, and push these reforms in the states. No matter where people fell on the election challenges earlier this year, Jim insisted, surely "most of us agree that we need to do something significant to restore the public's faith in free and fair elections."