Does the U.S. need another presidential election commission? Elections Integrity Fellow David Levine argues yes, the U.S. does need a presidential election commission in this point-counterpoint edition of Electionline.
January 6’s deadly insurrection made it abundantly clear that there is a crisis of trust in American democracy. The rioters who stormed the Capitol building and disrupted Congressional certification of the 2020 presidential election had their anger stoked by repeated unproven claims of voter fraud and related malfeasance.
Unfortunately, the ground remains ripe for such claims to permeate future elections as well. Rather than building on the achievements of 2020, many states are considering legislation that re-litigates the presidential election by addressing non-problems. As a result, we are now witnessing arguably the most consequential struggle over American elections since the civil rights era – a battle increasingly centered on a sweeping overhaul of election rules proposed by a Democrat-controlled Congress with the avowed aim of offsetting a wave of voting restrictions being considered by Republican-controlled state legislatures. If we continue down this path, we face the prospect of a near-term future featuring two kinds of elections in which voting rights, participation and faith in the results vary widely, depending on which party wrote the rules. We should not let that happen, but how can we stop it?
A good first step would be for President Biden to establish a bipartisan Presidential Commission on Election Resilience and Trust to identify best practices and make recommendations to help ensure that more Americans believe that our elections are legitimate in advance of the 2022 midterm elections.