Gutknecht: We must learn from this election

With millions of Americans dubious of the integrity of this election, the time to press this common-sense reform is now.

At this writing, regardless what the media is trying to shove down our throats, the final outcome of the presidential election is still in doubt. Counts, audits and perhaps recounts of only legitimate ballots can easily flip both Arizona and Georgia. The Pennsylvania Legislature or the Supreme Court (or both) could intervene and demand a full audit of Pennsylvania’s results. The legislature is vested with considerable power over these matters. Many millions believe that Donald Trump won the election and that corrupt election officials in a handful of states stole it from him.

That will get sorted out or covered up in the coming weeks.

But there are many things we can learn from this election and shame on us if we refuse to learn them.

First, we must never again put stock in the polls. They either employ fatally flawed methodology or they are intentionally designed to manipulate public attitudes. If the latter could be proven, several pollsters should be charged with illegal campaign contributions. Consider two Senate races which the pollsters described as very tight races, Iowa and South Carolina. Those polling predictions enabled Democrat challengers to raise a combined $200,000,000. However, when the actual polls closed, neither race was close. In reality, those early polls amounted to massive (and potentially illegal) in-kind contributions to the Democrat candidates.

Second, voter registration lists must be cleaned up. There is simply no excuse for utilizing lists containing millions of names of people who have moved or passed away. Mark Twain warned that politicians are America’s only native criminal class. Sloppy registration lists are an invitation to criminals who would commit fraud, especially in cities where there are no effective two-party checks on the process.

Third, mail-in ballots should be outlawed or at minimum be allowed only with very tight restrictions. They should never be mailed out unsolicited in bulk, particularly when mailing lists are so faulty. Ballots can easily fall into the hands of sinister characters. Illegal ballot harvesting was well documented by Project Veritas. Without an audit trail, we have no assurance which if any of these ballots are legitimate. Legislatures should require absentee or mail-in ballots to be counted before the in-person votes are. No more seeing how many votes are needed before the mailed ballots are tabulated. No more accepting ballots days after the election.

Which leads to the next point. All ballots should be watermarked and/or given a track-and-trace bar code. Fraudsters know only too well that if they can get illegal and counterfeit ballots into the pile, it is next to impossible to get them separated out later. We saw it here in Minnesota in 2008 when boxes of ballots were mysteriously found in the trunks of cars and then co-mingled and counted. Al Franken was ultimately declared the winner by 312 votes. If UPS can do it, we can develop methodologies to track and separate the suspect goats from the sheep.

Fifth, the Justice Department must be prepared to act swiftly to enforce transparency in the handling of ballots throughout the process. When a Justice of the Supreme Court orders opening up the counting process and is ignored, U.S. Marshalls must move quickly. Those counting rooms needed to be forced to allow the sunlight in. We will never know what nefarious things were happening behind those covered windows. There was obviously something they didn’t want Republicans to see.

Americans must demand voter ID. The Democrats offer up only feeble arguments that can easily be refuted. You need a photo ID to get a library card for crying out loud! It is patently obvious that their real objection to voter ID is that it will make voter fraud much more difficult. With millions of Americans dubious of the integrity of this election, the time to press this common-sense reform is now.

Finally, there must be accountability and consequences. Election fraud is a crime. We Americans have not just a right to vote; we have a right to know that all votes are cast legally and counted honestly. When people break election laws, they steal something very precious. If we fail to punish the criminals this time, we can be assured that they will be emboldened and things will only get worse next cycle.

Too many of our neighbors have lost faith in the process. Serious election reforms may win them back.

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Gil Gutknecht served six terms in both the Minnesota and the U.S. House of Representatives. This article was first published at Townhall and was reprinted here with permission. 

Gil Gutknecht

Gil Gutknecht is a former Republican congressman from Minnesota.