Talking Points: Legitimate Elections

Principles

OUR MESSAGE: Americans are capable of coming together as a country, to hold free and fair elections based on democratic principles we all share. If we stand by these principles, our elections and our government will be legitimate.

Is this true? God, I hope so. But the more we say that it is true and the more we fight to uphold these principles, the truer it will be:

Voting is what makes us free.

For an election to be legitimate, it must reflect the will of the people.

Election laws should not suppress more legitimate votes than they prevent illegitimate votes.

The right to vote is self-evident and inalienable. Everyone who has the right to vote must be able to exercise that right by casting their vote.

Every vote must be counted, no matter how long it takes.

Go to Framing Memo

Democracy

Voting is what makes us free.

1. We obey the law because we want to live in a functional society but that doesn’t mean we give up our freedom. What makes us free is that we get to choose the people who make those laws.

2. Voting is our most fundamental right. If you take away our vote, you take away our freedom. There must be an extraordinarily high bar for the adoption of any law that makes it harder for people to vote.

3. Without democracy there is no freedom. Without majority rule there is no democracy. (Sorry @SenMikeLee. Mike says freedom is more important than democracy. It doesn’t work that way.)

Bonus Talking Point: Does America have democracy problem? Electoral College. Senate. Suppression. Filibuster. Gerrymandering. Judicial Seat Theft (appointment blocking). Why so much minority rule?

The Will of the People

For an election to be legitimate, it must reflect the will of the people.

1. Authority comes from the consent of the governed. The legitimacy of our government depends on elections accurately reflecting the will of the people.

2. It’s not about integrity, it’s about legitimacy. Elections can be 100% fraud free and still be illegitimate if they don’t reflect the will of the people due to voter suppression.

3. Should this ballot be counted? Is this election law wrong? The single most important question is always, “Will it help or hurt the ability of this election to accurately represent the will of the people?”

4. Engaging in voter suppression to defy the will of the people is subversion of democracy. Fraud may be bad, but subversion of democracy is worse.

Fraud and Suppression

Election laws should not suppress more legitimate votes than they prevent illegitimate votes.

We can’t just say there isn’t fraud. People may not know that fighting voter fraud causes suppression and the impact is so disproportionate.

The Cross Check program prevented 300 legit votes from being cast for every double vote it prevented. Read the study https://5harad.com/papers/1p1v.pdf

1. Fighting voter fraud comes at  a cost. It isn’t worth the price in lost legitimate votes. It’s not the raw amount that matters, it’s the relative amount.

2. (An analogy is worth 1000 words) Suppressing votes to prevent fraud is like amputating a limb to cure a hangnail! Would you put 300 innocent people in jail to prevent one guilty person going free? Add your own analogy!

3. If you block 300 legit votes to prevent one case of fraud, you don’t care about election integrity.

Voting Rights

Our right to vote is not spelled out in the constitution (unless deprived due to race, sex or age). It shouldn’t have to be. This is a democracy. The right to vote is self-evident and inalienable.

1. This is a democracy. If you can’t legislate or judge in a way that respects the right to vote as fundamental, self-evident and inalienable, you have no business being in office or on the bench.

2. People have the right to vote. If you take away someone’s ABILITY to vote, you violate their RIGHT to vote. Barriers violate people’s right to vote.

It’s not about partisanship.
It’s not a “he-said-she-said” or “both sides want to win.”

If you fight to make it easier to vote, you are pro-democracy.
If you fight to make it harder to vote, you are anti-democracy.

4. We fight voter suppression and sometimes lose in court. But, political norms have power. We can fight in the court of public opinion. Anti-democracy election officials and legislators deserve to lose their jobs.

BONUS: Curbside voting is for the elderly, disabled, sick and vulnerable. The Supreme Court can give AL Secretary of State John Merrill the right to stop it, but we have the right to give him 17 kinds of bloody hell.

Count Every Vote

Every vote must be counted, no matter how long it takes.

1. The legitimacy of our government is at stake. We have to do whatever it takes, as long as it takes, for the public to agree that the results are valid.

2. We have to count every vote. Delay is a price worth paying for accuracy. Living through months of uncertainty might be stressful, but living under a government whose legitimacy is in doubt could destroy the country.

3. If a person is eligible to vote, their vote should count. It doesn’t matter if there are minor mistakes. It’s not okay to deprive someone of their right to vote over paperwork. We must cure every ballot.

4. Election judges should rule by the “intent of the voter” standard. If you can tell who the voter intended to vote for, you must count the vote. It’s not okay to deprive someone of their right to vote for bad handwriting.

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