Election Law Integrity
There isn’t a more serious and compelling issue right now in light of the 2020 Presidential election, than election integrity at the local, state, and national levels. Transparency, honesty, and confidence in our system of elections must be a priority for our U.S. citizenry. The following recommendations are taken from various subject matter experts around the country who are conservative Republicans along with some of my own concerns and/or additions. These recommendations are to be used as a basis of discussion as we move closer to securing our system of elections.
1. Purge every voter file of anyone who has died, moved out of the county, or who is not legally recognized as a citizen of the United States of America, annually.
2. Eliminate all computer voting machines regardless of brand type.
3. Eliminate early voting because the U.S. Constitution in Article 1, Section 4 gave Congress the right to set the election date for federal elections. That date is set by federal statute as “the Tuesday next after the first Monday in the month of November.”
4. Ballots by mail may only be issued on the basis of medical disability, military personnel or if the registered voter will be out of the county on election day.
5. Ballots by mail must be applied for by the individual registered voter with authenticated identification.
6. Applications for ballot by mail may not be sent to voters by any organization.
7. Applications for ballot by mail may only be sent by the county clerk to the voter if the voter requests it.
8. Ballots by mail must be mailed and arrive by election day.
9. If ballots by mail are not mailed, then they may be turned in on election day only at the county courthouse by the voter.
10. Each registered voter can only vote in their assigned precinct on election day.
11. Each precinct receives paper ballots corresponding to the number of registered voters in that precinct.
12. At the end of election day, the ballots will be returned under lock and key to the county courthouse where they are tabulated. The total number of voted and unvoted ballots in a precinct must balance with the number of ballots issued in that precinct.
13. The number of voted ballots in each precinct must equal to the number of registered voters who voted in person, corresponding to the election day voter sign in sheet, plus those who voted using ballot by mail.
14. Each sign in sheet, for those registered voters who voted in person, must be checked to ensure that there are no forgeries.
15. Each precinct’s ballots will then be preserved separately for future recount or legal challenges.
16. Alternate Election Judges and Poll Watchers of the various political parties on the ballot will be given full access at the precinct election location to verify that the election process is lawfully conducted.
17. Drive thru voting is strictly prohibited.
18. The Sheriff’s department of each county must be on duty to respond in real time to reports of voter fraud or violations of the South Carolina Election Code.
19. Each county will report the county’s election results (through rigorous chain of command fault tolerant procedures) to the Secretary of State after a bipartisan committee in each county has agreed to the election results of that county.
20. The Secretary of State certifies and reports the results through a bipartisan process.
21. Electioneering and harvesting of ballots by mail will be 2nd degree felony punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to 5 years in prison.
22. All other violations of the South Carolina Election Code will be 3rd degree felonies.
23. Voter's picture identification is required for every in-person voter on election day.
24. Provide a way to limit executive authority and power during crisis environments (relating to election laws) with language containing the effective “spirit” of the following document: “To amend the code of laws in XYZ state, by adding to section 1234-556 so as to provide that the General Assembly, either of its respective bodies, a standing committee, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate, or not less than 5 members of the General Assembly may review any Executive Order issued by the Governor of said state and/or the President of these United States of America. The constitutionality of these Executive Orders (if not affirmed by either the states’ legislatures or Congress, respectively), may seek the guidance of the Attorney General for additional scrutiny relating to constitutionality.”
25. All standing Freedom of Information Act channels to remain unabridged and in full force.
Palmetto Promise Institute (PPI) research may be distributed by any individual or organization with proper attribution. Distribution of Palmetto Promise research material does not represent an endorsement by Palmetto Promise Institute of any candidate or candidate’s committee. The following potential changes below are based on a communication by Palmetto Promise Institute and approved for distribution based on the disclosure in the aforementioned and highlighted sentence.
26. Require a voter’s DOB and last 4 digits of their SSN on absentee ballot applications and use this information along with signatures on file to verify voter’s identity before a ballot is sent.
Example(s): ID HB290, FL SB90 sect. 24
27. Strengthen witness ID requirements (require name, address, and phone number and verify witness’ identity and signature).
28. Crack down on ballot harvesting by limiting how many absentee ballots a single person may witness and who may deliver an absentee ballot to an election office.
Example(s): KS HB2183 sect. 2
29. Allow in-person no-excuse absentee voting up to 14 days prior to an election and expand the number of in-person absentee voting locations. Narrow reasons for mail-in absentee voting and ban absentee ballot drop boxes.
Example(s): SC H.4150, H.3372
30. Invest in technology required to barcode and track all absentee ballot envelopes and develop a companion online dashboard to allow for real-time public reporting of requests, transmittal, and receipt of absentee ballots.
Example(s): TX HB1382, UT HB70, IA SF568 sect. 42
31. Allow absentee ballot identity verification to begin at 8:30 AM the day before the election and tabulation to start at 7:00 AM on Election Day.
Example(s): SC H.4150, H.3372, AL HB538
32. Require and fund ongoing, continuous, and comprehensive accuracy updates, including merging duplicates & comparing with National Change of Address Registry.
Example(s): IA SB413 sect. 25, MT SB170
33. Require state election commission to collaborate with other states to keep database current and prevent voting in more than one state (interstate).
Example(s): OK SB710
34. Require all South Carolina counties to collaborate to account for deceased voters and voters moving across county lines (intrastate).
Example(s): TX SB1 sect. 1.02 and sect1.05
35. Require registrations to be compared with county tax records to ensure that the address on file is actually a residence.
Example(s): TX SB1111 sect. 2
36. Require poll books to include photographs of the voter from their driver’s license or other state-issued photo ID. Set deadline and security standards for shifting to electronic poll books (“e-polls”).
Example(s): See NY Election Statute sect. 1-104-38. No state has fully implemented this reform.
37. Reinforce in statute the right of election observers/watchers to see and hear all election activity at a polling place.
Example(s): TX SB1 sect. 3.03-3.06
38. Limit individuals allowed to provide assistance to a voter in casting his or her ballot, and require each individual doing so to take an oath of impartiality.
Example(s): AL HB575, TX SB1. sect. 5.03
39. Allow all parties to charge filing fees and require proof of membership or participation in primaries as a condition for filing as a candidate of that party.
Example(s): SC H.3372 sect. 5
40. Limit a candidate to appearing on the ballot for a particular office once, not as the nominee of multiple parties.
Example(s): SC H.3261, H.3206, S.559
41. Ensure that the General Assembly is a “necessary party” with standing to sue other state officials who make or attempt to make unauthorized changes in state election laws.
Example(s): SC S.499 sect. 2, H.3444 sect. 2, FL SB 90 sect. 1
42. Clarify in statute that a voter may seek a writ of mandamus compelling any state or local official to abide by or enforce state election laws.
43. Codify requirements for physical vote counting to begin immediately, be open to all observers, and continue without pauses until the tabulation is complete.
Example(s): SD HB1125
44. Standardize in statute procedures and responsibilities of local election commissions and their relationship with the state election commission.
Example(s): SC S.499, H.3444
45. Ban outside fund contributions toward election administration.
Example(s): SC H.3877, TN SB1315, GA SB202 sect. 9, FL SB90 sect. 2