Election voting booths

Putting proposed election reforms in perspective

Yuval Levin writes at National Review Online that we ought to avoid extremes when considering the future of American electoral systems.

[T]hese days, we are witnessing an increasingly intense debate about election reform that is focused instead on election administration — proposals about the modes, times, and circumstances of voting and the rules for voter eligibility that are basically about what kind of electorate to permit. Election administration is an inherently controversial subject. But it has become controversial now in a particularly unhealthy way, which has been driving each party to become more and more like the caricature the other paints of it, and undermining the public’s confidence in our elections.

A core challenge for election administration is balancing access and integrity: Allowing or encouraging eligible voters to exercise their right to vote while protecting the election system from fraud and abuse. This can be a difficult balance to maintain, but it is not as difficult as our political debates about it now suggest. The fact is that American election administration is in a good place at this point. It is in most respects easier than ever for eligible voters to vote today, and we have very little fraud in our elections. …

… [O]ur debates about election-administration reforms this year have not begun from the premise that our system is in strong shape but could be made stronger. They have begun from two mirror-image forms of hysterical panic that combine into a reckless and unfounded delegitimization of American democracy.

On the one hand, Donald Trump’s cynical campaign of lies about his election loss last year has left Republicans incapable of processing the election as anything but a disaster and a fraud. In reality, Republicans should see that election as at least a mixed bag. Losing the presidency is never pleasant, to be sure. But they gained seats in the House and defended a number of endangered Senate seats. …

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...