Amid rising cheating fears, House Republican seeks to make DC 'gold standard' for clean elections
The American Confidence in Elections Act would implement photo ID to vote and require post-election audits.
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With 60% of likely voters in a recent Rasmussen Reports poll saying that "cheating" likely affected the 2022 midterm elections, House Administration Committee Chairman Bryan Steil (R-Wisc.) is seeking to reform Washington, D.C.'s elections to make the nation's capital the "gold standard" for election integrity in the U.S.
Steil hopes to restore faith in American elections through the American Confidence in Elections (ACE) Act, which was first introduced in the House of Representatives last year.
Steil discussed his proposed election reforms Friday on the "Just the News, No Noise" TV show.
"We provide the states with the tools that they need," Steil said, "to be able to enhance voter integrity — things like giving them access to Social Security death databases so that they can clean their voter rolls, so the voter rolls in every one of our states has an opportunity to be accurate and to be ready to go for the upcoming elections.
"We also use Washington, D.C. — which has had some challenges in the past in their elections — let's make them the gold standard. Let's put in place things that are pretty obvious, like photo ID, so that states around the country can actually understand what good voter integrity practices are."
For Washington, D.C., elections, the bill "requires photo ID to vote in person or request absentee ballot, requires annual list maintenance, prohibits same-day registration & ballot harvesting, prohibits automatically mailed ballots, requires post-election audits," according to the bill's web page.
"[W]hen people have confidence in their elections, more people participate," Steil said, "and we saw that firsthand in Georgia."
Democrats angrily denounced Georgia's 2021 election reforms, Steil recalled, but ultimately "more people showed up to vote and people actually liked the process that they had."
The Georgia law included popular election integrity safeguards such as signature matching, voter ID, restrictions on drop boxes, a ban on the mass mailing of absentee ballot request forms to those who did not ask for them, and mandatory citizenship checks.
President Biden blasted the law as "Jim Crow in the 21st century," and many major companies, from Coca-Cola to Major League Baseball, echoed Democrats' criticism of the bill as a tool of voter suppression. Despite such claims, a record number of midterm ballots were cast in the 2022 general election in Georgia.
"[W]e're looking for states that are putting forward good voter integrity provisions — let's utilize those and share those across the country," Steil said. "Making sure that we have the [Election Assistance] Commission in place to share best practices is going to be a key piece of this."
Steil's Administration Committee held a hearing on Thursday to discuss the ACE Act, which was written with the help of "state and local election administrators and stakeholders across the country," according to Steil's opening statement.
The hearing featured "folks from Nevada, where they don't have photo ID law," Steil said, referring to former Clark County Registrar of Voters Joseph Gloria, who told the committee that signature verification is the primary mode of identification of voters in the county because they don't require photo ID.
"Ultimately, [the ACE Act] will provide states with tools to build voter confidence and enhance election integrity," Steil said at the hearing. "This bill has three main pillars; these include: providing states with voluntary tools and resources for running elections with the highest integrity that voters can have confidence in; implementing much-needed reforms in D.C. to clean up years of elections difficulties here and to clearly demonstrate the positive effects of strong election integrity policies; and protecting free speech."
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