(Nov. 14)  Congress can and should take some actions that would rein in the worst of the problems causing the absurdly slow ballot counting in six western states.

Most directly, Congress could insist that “Election Day” really means (with limited exceptions) a single day, not two or three months, of voting. Congress has the constitutional authority to do so, while the cause of good government demands it.

As longtime conservative columnist and author John Fund explains in his new book, Our Broken Elections , the growing use of widespread early voting, especially by mail, is an invitation both to electoral shenanigans and to sheer inefficiency. “We shouldn’t have ‘election-more-than-a-month’ before Election Day and ‘election month’ after the election as well,” Fund told me.

And as Fund wrote in National Review Online on Nov. 13, “Even if nothing inappropriate happens, the confusion and lack of security surrounding mail-in ballots generate suspicions of monkey business , especially in skin-tight races, as in both of these states.” Meanwhile, for states such as Arizona, Nevada, and Washington to take nearly a week to count ballots, while California regularly takes up to a month to do so, erodes public trust while hobbling Congress’s ability to organize for its next session.

In presidential election years, it means that tight races such as Bush vs. Gore in 2000 and Trump vs. Biden in 2020 leave results in doubt so long that presidential transitions are either haphazard or delayed or both. The United States has been lucky to not be faced with an international crisis in the earliest days of a new presidency, but if it were, a bungled presidential transition could have deadly real-world consequences.

Voting too early also can lead to practical problems , although perhaps not as deadly…. [To see the actual language of the legislation I propose, read the rest of the column here.]


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