WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, Feb. 27, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) sent a letter to Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) urging him to adopt national reforms. Raffensperger opens his letter with a set of contradictory statements: He asks McCarthy to “remain steadfast in [his] opposition to a federal takeover of elections,” referencing a pro-voting bill introduced last session, and them immediately asks for “support for a set of reforms to current national election law.”
Raffensperger specifically requests five reforms:
- First, Raffensperger wants to update and modernize the National Voter Registration Act, citing “more consistent list maintenance.”
- Second, Raffensperger requests photo identification requirements to vote. Photo ID laws to vote are the most restrictive version of voter identification rules, requiring more documentation than is necessary to prove one’s identity at the polls. These laws are also a relatively recent phenomenon, proliferating since the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder (2013).
- Third, Raffensperger uses the pejorative term “ballot harvesting” to call for an end to the practice of third-party ballot collection. In many states, designated individuals or family members may collect a voter’s signed and sealed ballot and deliver the ballot to election officials on the voter’s behalf. There are safeguards in place governing this legitimate practice, one that is incredibly important to certain communities, such as Native American voters in rural areas with poor mail service. The propaganda movie “2000 Mules” reignited conspiracy theories around third-party ballot collection.
- Fourth, citing that “the integrity of election results may differ state by state,” Raffensperger argues for risk-limiting audits in every state. Risk-limiting audits use statistics to decrease the number of ballots audited while increasing confidence in the accuracy. Six states conduct this type of audit with others currently implementing pilot programs.
- Fifth, Raffensperger calls for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that only U.S. citizens can vote in any election. Federal law already requires citizenship as a prerequisite to vote in federal elections, but a handful of cities and towns have proactively extended the right to vote in local elections to certain noncitizens.