One year after disputed 2020 election, many practices that riled conservatives still in effect

With states in various stages of reforming election laws, the Heritage Foundation has published an Election Integrity Scorecard of all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
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Ballot counting in Georgia
Ballot counting in Georgia
(Megan Varner/Getty)

Just a year after the disputed 2020 election, states are in various stages of reforming election laws. Many of the same practices that angered conservatives are still in effect. 

The Heritage Foundation published an Election Integrity Scorecard of all 50 states and the District of Columbia on their election laws. The scorecard examines voter ID implementation, the accuracy of voter registration lists, absentee ballot management, vote harvesting/trafficking restrictions, access of election observers, verification of citizenship, identification for voter assistance, vote counting practices, election litigation procedures, restriction of same-day registration, restriction of automatic registration, restriction of private funding of election officials or government agencies. 

During a Just the News Special Report with Heritage Action for America and Real America's Voice, HAFA Executive Director Jessica Anderson praised Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, and Texas for their efforts on election integrity reform this past year. Those states currently rank at no. 19 (tied with Mississippi and Pennsylvania), 4 (tied with Arkansas), 1, 11 (tied with Kentucky), and 6, respectively. 

Anderson said she was thankful "that governors stood up and said, 'No, I'm going to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat. These are the reforms I want to see on my desk by the end of state legislative sessions.'

"Doing that ensured that enough pressure was here in Washington that the Pelosi, Schumer, S. 1, H.R. 1 — you know, complete disaster of a federal overtake of a bill — never passed, it never made its way through Congress because the states took care of election integrity and said 'No' to the federal government."

While Georgia is currently ranked no. 1 on the scorecard and enacted an election integrity reform bill in March, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told the John Solomon Reports podcast on Tuesday that there's still room for improvement. 

Raffensperger mentioned, for example, that the Georgia constitution just says "you can be a citizen" to vote, "but doesn't preclude non-citizens." To close that loophole, he has requested the state "General Assembly to go ahead and put a constitutional amendment on the ballot for November 2022."

According to the scorecard, Georgia has yet to establish election litigation procedures, end automatic voter registration, and can improve on the accuracy of voter registration lists. Republican state Sen. Butch Miller pre-filed a bill last month that would eliminate drop boxes for absentee ballots, which Georgia first instituted near the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In Texas, while a comprehensive election integrity reform bill was passed during a special session and multiple election bills were passed during the regular session, Democrats are suing to prevent the laws from taking effect, and Republicans downgraded illegal voting from a felony to a misdemeanor, the Texas Scorecard reported

Even though the Arizona state Senate audited the 2020 election in Maricopa County, the state still has significant room for improvement regarding voter ID implementation and the accuracy of voter registration lists. 

GOP lawmakers in Michigan passed election integrity laws, but Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed them. The state currently ranks no. 28 on the scorecard. 

The two states that rank the lowest among those controlled by Republicans are Nebraska and Utah. Nebraska is tied for 43rd with Massachusetts, and Utah ranks 41st. 

Election integrity reform became popular following the disputed 2020 presidential election. 

State officials, including many in GOP-run states, have said they have found no evidence of widespread fraud in the November 2020 election on a scale that could have altered the outcome. However, several states have acknowledged serious irregularities or unlawful changes to election rules occurred in 2020. 

For instance, Wisconsin's Supreme Court has ruled election regulators unlawfully allowed tens of thousands of absentee voters to skip voter ID checks by claiming they were "indefinitely confined" by the pandemic without suffering from a disability. And Wisconsin's legislative audit bureau found numerous other rule changes were made that were not approved by the state legislature.

In Arizona, an audit called into question more than 50,000 ballots cast in the November 2020 election, while in Georgia state election officials have uncovered such widespread mismanagement in vote counting in Fulton County that they have begun a process to have the state run future elections in the county, the state's largest and home to the city of Atlanta.