Restoring Faith In Elections By Fining, Imprisoning Officials Who Violate The Civil Rights Act’s Paperwork Requirements
John R. Lott, Jr. the president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, and Steve Smith the chief of staff at the America First Policy Institute have a way to begin restoring faith in America’s elections.
It turns out the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1960 requires record-keeping that isn’t being done.
And election officials aren’t being held accountable for violating it.
Unfortunately, election officials across the country are not keeping the most basic data to monitor election outcomes. Even when they say they do, the numbers do not come close to matching up.
It was a simple goal: match the number of voters with the number of ballots cast. After the last general election there were concerns that ballots were counted multiple times (so that there could be more ballots cast than voters who voted) and that ballots were destroyed (so that there could be more voters who voted than ballots cast). But, through our examination, we learned that it cannot be determined if these discrepancies exist, because most states and counties simply do not keep timestamped records of who voted as required by law.
They cited Montana as a bad example of record keeping during the 2020 election.
A recount done in Missoula, Montana found 4,592 fewer envelopes than the County Election Office’s tally of 72,491 votes.
Missoula, Montana’s entirely mail-in election shows why record-keeping is crucial. A January 4, 2021, recount of the 2020 election found 4,592 fewer envelopes than the County Election Office’s tally of 72,491 votes. That is a 6.33 percent difference in votes counted. A second March 28, 2022, recount found only 71 fewer envelopes than votes. During that recount, two more boxes of envelopes were discovered. Questions were raised about whether the two missing boxes were accidentally mislaid or fraud was committed. Again, the lack of good records and transparency builds mistrust.
The Federal Civil Rights Act of 1960 requires “all records and papers” pertaining to elections for federal offices be kept for 22 months.
Every officer of election shall retain and preserve, for a period of twenty-two months from the date of any general, special, or primary election of which candidates for the office of President, Vice President, presidential elector, Member of the Senate, Member of the House of Representatives, or Resident Commissioner from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico are voted for, all records and papers which come into his possession relating to any application, registration, payment of poll tax, or other act requisite to voting in such election, except that, when required by law, such records and papers may be delivered to another officer of election and except that, if a State or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico designates a custodian to retain and preserve these records and papers at a specified place, then such records and papers may be deposited with such custodian, and the duty to retain and preserve any record or paper so deposited shall devolve upon such custodian. Any officer of election or custodian who willfully fails to comply with this section shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
Why isn’t the Department of Justice prosecuting election officials violating this law?