[The horrid election season we just went through in America is by far the worst I have witnessed in my 50 plus years as a voter. Before I say another word, let me be clear about what I am not saying. I’m not saying that Joe Biden should not be President of the United States or that Donald Trump should be. And I’m not saying Democrats should not control the Senate and Republicans should. I am saying, as strongly as possible, that our electoral system is badly broken and our great democracy cannot continue to make our nation the envy of the world unless we come together very soon to make essential repairs so that we can believe that nearly all votes were honestly tendered and counted. I came across an article in Newsweek written by Senator Rick Scott on this very subject and want to pass it along to you.]
After the despicable acts of violence in our Capitol building, it is hard to imagine a worse moment to undermine hopes for political stability in our nation. Democrats, big tech and the media are doing exactly that, however, despite president-elect Biden’s call for unity. They are tarring the 74 million Americans who cast votes for Donald Trump as insurrectionists and silencing legitimate dissent. They are also pretending that Republicans who want to repair our broken election system incited the unforgivable violence in the people’s house on January 6th.
Unlike Democrats who justified the violence and rioting this summer by explaining that “a riot is the voice of the unheard,” Republicans in Washington and around the country expressed near-universal condemnation of the violence and mayhem at Capitol Hill—and they did so without hesitation. Several rioters and a police officer were killed. Dozens of law enforcement officers were beaten and injured. The lives of Democratic and Republican elected leaders were threatened. The shining symbol of American unity, the Capitol building where both parties come together to govern, was desecrated. It was a sad day for all Americans, not just those of us who work there.
Yet Democrats have decided to salt the ground on which they pledge to grow political stability. Though we should respect their resolve to prevent political violence, they are not stopping with that goal.
Big tech, the news media and the Democratic Party have come together to de-platform not just violent voices, but 10 million Parler users. They’ve kicked Republicans who called for stability out of the tech-monopolized public square, while providing a platform for Iran’s Ayatollah to spew anti-Semitism and hate. They’ve proposed adding two Republican U.S. senators to the no-fly list, as if they were terrorists. They are campaigning to get peaceful Americans who disagree with them fired. They propose to impeach the departing president—not to remove him from office, since he is already leaving, but to keep him around and in the news. They want America to stay divided. After all, Biden’s campaign was about Donald Trump, not the Democrats’ own agenda. They are even mobilizing corporate America to withdraw its support of Republicans who are working to stop socialism and ensure that our broken election process regains respect.
Partially due to the Covid-19 pandemic, much of our country rushed without preparation to universal mail-in voting last year. In the process, we blew away some long-standing laws, procedures and constitutional requirements that guarantee fair elections. The thrown-together process in Pennsylvania, for example, may have violated the state constitution. Since the 19th century, that constitution has required all votes to be cast in person, with narrowly defined exceptions. Nevertheless, for 2020, the Pennsylvania legislature voted to allow no-excuse mail-in ballots.
That same state extended election day voting deadlines, creating a two-tiered voting system where some citizens had opportunities to vote not enjoyed by others. The Democratic state auditor general concluded he was unable to confidently ensure that the system used to determine who could vote was secure. Democrats seem to have forgotten that the U.S. Supreme Court also said there was a “strong likelihood” that Pennsylvania’s actions violated the Constitution of the United States.
In elections past, when Democrats have objected to the presidential electoral process, they’ve been lauded as heroes safeguarding the right to vote, not insurrectionists subverting it. My vote objecting to Pennsylvania’s process wasn’t about the 2020 election. It would not have changed the outcome. My vote was about elections to come, in 2022, 2024 and beyond, and seeing that they are conducted fairly. We have to repair the mess at the polls in 2020 if we are to restore Americans’ trust in our elections process. How can either the House or Senate fix our electoral problems unless we are willing to examine them?
That is why I introduced an important piece of legislation last September, the VOTER Act, which would address systemic problems in voting systems across the country and rebuild trust in our electoral process. Over the last few months, I’ve made some changes to the bill and will be re-filing it shortly. The VOTER Act mandates Voter ID in every state, institutes measures to ensure timely results, including allowing every state to begin processing absentee ballots before Election Day, and creates uniform national standards for voting by mail.
De-platforming Republicans, censoring dissent, intimidating GOP supporters and promoting the myth that Republicans supported the violence in the Capitol is corrosive and dishonest. Suppressing speech is fundamentally un-American. It undermines the institutions we need at this critical moment to lend stability to the Republican Party and our country. When the party that controls both the legislative and executive branches abuses its power, it is more than a destabilizing influence on our political system. It is authoritarianism masquerading as the force that will keep America safe.