Opinion: The real war being waged against free, fair elections

This column originally appeared in The Detroit News.

There's a war being waged against free and fair elections.

Readers are probably used to this kind of rhetoric and hyperbole from left-leaning media personalities and Democratic elected officials.

Those same readers might be surprised to learn, though, that the sanctity of the ballot box is, in fact, under assault — from many of those same liberal activists and elected officials.

Here in Michigan, partisan Democrats led by Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and outspoken members of the liberal block in the state House and Senate lead the charge against secure local elections.

They're fighting on two fronts. They're opposing a series of common-sense election reforms working their way through the Michigan Legislature. More insidiously, Benson and others are backing a radical push in Congress that would strip Michigan of its ability to conduct its own elections.

Benson went so far as to testify before Congress in support of the For the People Act which would move control of elections out of Michigan's hands and place more control in Congress' hands.

The legislation would allow partisan political operatives to handle and collect voters' ballots before they're delivered to clerks; force states to undermine voters' First Amendment free speech rights; and compel states to allow felons to vote. Congress could even ban voter ID laws — laws backed by broad and sweeping majorities of Americans.

But Benson goes even further. She even backs the idea of Congress turning the non-partisan Federal Elections Commission into a partisan political body explicitly controlled by Democrats or Republicans. The FEC is the independent regulatory agency charged with administering and enforcing federal campaign finance law.

Benson and others aren't willing to be honest about recent election reforms introduced in Lansing and states like Georgia.

Their goal isn't "more voters" or "secure elections." It's media point-scoring and fundraising.

Around 40 bills have been introduced in the state Senate to make it easier to vote, protect every voter's franchise and make election day run more smoothly.

The bills would allow the state to pre-register 16-year-old children to vote. They would eliminate third-party poll challengers. They'd prohibit outside activist groups from pumping big money into election operations to influence the outcome. They'd provide free state IDs, expand electronic voting and even create an early election day.

We should find common ground on this simple mission: Voting ought to be easy, cheating hard.

Yet one prominent liberal activist even told Newsweek magazine that bills protecting the sanctity of absentee votes are an attack on the voting rights of young people and minority groups because "younger people don't even know how to get a stamp, and of course, Republicans know this. This is also true with our Black and brown communities."

They think you're incompetent, and they're not afraid to tell you so.

Earlier this month, Major League Baseball made national headlines when it chose to yank this year's All-Star Game from Georgia. 

Commissioner Rob Manfred and the talking heads on ESPN claimed the move was because Georgia made voting tougher. As if to prove how vapid and unserious MLB's virtue signaling was, it later announced it was relocating the Summer Classic to Colorado, where early voting does not last as long as Georgia's.

President Joe Biden told the nation Georgia's new law "ends voting hours early." Even the Washington Post gave him "Four Pinocchios."

There's been a lot of talk the last five months about election disinformation. Now nobody's spreading it faster than Biden and his Democratic hucksters in Michigan. 

Greg McNeilly is chairman of the Michigan Freedom Fund.

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