On the campaign trail, I have been asked multiple times about voter ID and additional federal laws regarding election procedures. Election integrity is indeed a critical issue and has been discussed since the founding of the Republic.
What does the Constitution say about election integrity? In Article 1, Section 4, Clause 1 states:
The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at anytime by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of choosing Senators.
The Federal government is run by elected officials from each state. It is, therefore, imperative that the Federal government have a say in the manner in which elections are conducted. However, it is necessary to remember that the Constitution was not designed to give broad powers to the Federal government but to limit the government’s power. Regarding elections, the Federal government has been delegated the authority to establish a uniform date from which the entire nation shall vote and to ensure that polling places are made available to the people. That and only that is the limit of Federal authority.
It is the States that have the authority to regulate everything else having to do with elections. This includes voter ID laws, the manner in which votes are counted (by hand or by machine), and the certification of votes. Again, these things are the responsibility of the individual State governments, not the Federal government.
The 21st century has brought new technologies and busy lifestyle challenges. It has also made it easier to cheat on elections. In today’s world, the two keys to ensuring election integrity are requiring each voter to show a photo ID at the polls and ensuring that votes are counted accurately. A bill that would have required voter ID was presented in the House in the 2022 session but failed to pass. This may be because voter fraud is not perceived to be widespread in Idaho. The inherent risk of ballot tampering through the use of machine counting is a modern issue. Times change and so do technologies, and our laws need to address those changes. If elected to the State Senate, I will sponsor legislation to require Voter ID and the hand counting of ballots.
The State of Idaho needs to recognize her rights and secure Idahoans’ right to universal suffrage.