As the Republican Party inches ever so painfully close to a House majority, it’s time to learn from the masters going forward. The Republican Party needs to stop reading The Art of the Deal and pick up a copy of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, because make no mistake, it is not a cliché to say we are in the fight for the very heart and soul of our country. But to win this battle calls for patience, realism, and the absolute conviction that the Republican Party can make a difference for the average American family. Realism will be key, and the Republican Party needs to begin right now.
One of Sun Tzu’s best sayings is:
He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious
The Republican Party needs to quit trying to fight mail-in ballots. Yes, it needs to be said. They are here to stay, and complaining about it is a waste of time. Everyone knows that limiting voting to Election Day, in-person, with a photo ID is the best way to minimize fraud and ensure accurate, timely vote counts. Florida clearly showed that. The national embarrassment of Arizona should be a wake-up call on the perils to the perception of a fair and honest election when it takes a week to count all the ballots. But alas, it will make no difference, too many voters like the convenience of mailing their ballot or voting early.
Instead, Republicans should embrace all of these tools of “increasing voter participation” as the Democrats like to cry, but with a catch. Republicans should hop on the bandwagon of making voting as easy as possible, but with rigorous safeguards to ensure election integrity. After all, doesn’t everyone want confidence that our elections are the most secure and accurate they can be? Using the debacle that this was Arizona, Republicans should instead be pushing a program of voting easier AND more securely to ensure that indeed all the VALID votes are counted.
What does this practically mean? First, every mail-in ballot should be tracked so voters know exactly where their ballot is. Many states already do this, and it should be, dare I say, mandatory for all mail-in ballots. If Amazon can track millions of packages to your front door, states should be able to track the millions of mail-in ballots they send out. This means that EACH of these ballots should have a unique identifier to decrease the ability to duplicate and dump ballots in ballot drop boxes. Republicans should be able to easily make the ONE person, ONE ballot argument.
Second, Republicans should continue to push scrubbing voter rolls at least every four years. Democrats howl at this, but it is fundamentally fair and in the voter’s best interest. People move and Republicans should be able to make the case that if people are going to receive their mail-in ballot in a timely manner, they need to be registered in the proper precinct, district, or whatever. This is again part of the ONE person, ONE ballot argument.
Finally, Republicans need to PUSH PUSH PUSH their faithful to vote however it’s easiest for them. Ballot harvesting is a questionable practice, but there are a lot of ways Republicans can help their voters get their ballot submitted on time. Same for early voting. Get your voters to the poll.
Now, the question of how long mail-in ballots can be counted is tricky, and states have a variety of laws, including Arizona’s ridiculous law that ballots postmarked by election day can be counted days after the election. It would be fair to say that with these many HIGHLY CONVENIENT ways to vote, all ballots should be received BY election day. After all, if you forget to mail your ballot, there are drop boxes AT the polling place. This is the most suspicious act of vote counting- LATE votes showing up that magically support Democrats. There should be NOT late arrivals-if voting is that important, you can get your ballot sent in on time.
Unfortunately, this genie is not going back into the bottle nationwide, and trying to pass some federal law mandating in-person voting would likely be Constitutionally challenged just like a federal law mandating mail-in voting would be. Each state runs elections in their own manner and Republicans better start adapting to the various state laws or they will continue to lose close races. Sun Tzu shows the way.