Editor’s Note: A guest post from Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin, one of whose chief responsibilities is to administer the state’s elections.
Ronald Reagan once said “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” If Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren gets her way, we can anticipate hearing “I’m from the federal government, and I’m here to take over your elections.”
Senator Warren entitled her plan “My Plan to Strengthen Our Democracy,” but it would do anything but. She begins by stating “Voting should be easy.” I’m proud that, in Louisiana, we already make voting easy. With voter registration available at government offices, including the DMV, and online voter registration, we’ve been able to register 88% of all eligible citizens in Louisiana, higher than or nearly as high as states that have instituted automatic voter registration, another short-sighted policy Senator Warren advocates for in her plan. Shamefully, she claims that voter ID laws are part of a racist push to disenfranchise voters. While we do require a photo ID to vote in Louisiana, those who can’t afford one can get a free, temporary voter photo ID card at their local DMV. We make every effort possible to both ensure that everyone who is qualified to vote can vote, and that our elections are secure from those who wish to undermine them.
Senator Warren also claims she wants to make our elections “as secure as Fort Knox.” I’m working with a dedicated team of experts on cybersecurity and election security. Our office has state-of-the-art technology to secure private information, and our voting machines are constructed and secured in such a way as to prevent hacking. The voting machines are never connected to the internet or each other, and when not in use are sealed and stored at a secure facility. You can be sure that your information and your vote is safe because of the steps we’ve taken.
The senator also proposes sweeping new rules and regulations which amount to a federal takeover of elections. If you don’t believe me, read her own words: “The federal government will…require adoption of a uniform federal ballot,” and “We will have federal standards.” These rules include automatic voter registration (which is, essentially, mandatory voter registration), a federal takeover of the redistricting process, ending voter ID laws, and stopping states from keeping their rolls accurate. Her plan also calls for a new federal agency to enact her federal takeover.
While another part of her plan, making Election Day a federal holiday, might sound like a way to bolster turnout, it would only bolster turnout among a small group of Americans. The only places that would be mandated to close on Election Day would be government-operated facilities. Private companies could still operate on Election Day-and may require more employees and longer hours to keep up with standard holiday-level business. So while you’re working hard, the people that Elizabeth Warren wants to vote will be voting. In Louisiana, we have seven days of early voting, all but our federal elections are on Saturdays, and those who are 65 or older can vote by mail in every election.
Senator Warren goes on to advocate for paper ballots, something I have taken a strong stance against. Paper ballots are ripe for fraud, and they’re what caused the 2000 and 2018 election debacles in Florida. Paper ballots are not secure and will only complicate our elections and cast doubts on the results.
What is perhaps the scariest part of Senator Warren’s plan is her threat to take over elections in any state that adopts a policy she doesn’t like. If your state has a voter ID law, a President Warren will march down to your election official’s office and completely and totally take over. This isn’t a hyperbole; she says in her plan “The federal government will temporarily take over the administration of their federal elections to guarantee the fundamental right to vote.” In states like ours, where we both ensure ballot access and safe elections, we would still be crushed under the iron fist of a President Elizabeth Warren as she imposes her massive federal election mandates on states. And, in addition to all the “free” things she wants to give everyone, she plans to pay for her massive takeover with a tax on the wealthy.
She concludes by saying “We have a solemn obligation to secure our elections from those who would try to undermine them.” That’s an obligation I take seriously. And I will stop anyone, even Senator Warren, from doing anything to deter my efforts.