Op­pos­ing View: Don’t change the rules in the home stretch

USA TODAY US Edition - - NEWS - Adam Bran­don Adam Bran­don is the pres­i­dent of Free­domWorks.

The only way that our elec­tions will be free and fair is if we keep the process the same through­out. This means vot­ing in per­son on Elec­tion Day, but Democrats in key bat­tle­ground states don’t see it that way. Thanks to Demo­cratic court chal­lenges, states such as Penn­syl­va­nia are re­lax­ing re­stric­tions for mail-in vot­ing, flat-out chang­ing the way we vote fewer than 50 days ahead of the elec­tion.

We have al­ways had ab­sen­tee vot­ing, but it has al­ways come with a tried and true val­i­da­tion process to ward off con­tro­versy. The sys­tem only works if we keep the same pro­cesses in place through­out.

By chang­ing the laws for how mailin bal­lots are counted, states are paving the way for chaos and un­cer­tainty in the weeks af­ter Nov. 3. To change elec­tion laws this late in the game puts par­ti­san le­gal teams in charge of de­ter­min­ing the re­sults of an elec­tion, rather than Amer­i­can vot­ers.

But even if the elec­tion is de­cided on a le­gal scale, it would be con­tested on a civil scale for years to come. That is dan­ger­ous for our repub­lic’s in­sti­tu­tions and for Amer­i­can so­ci­ety it­self.

Democrats are tak­ing ad­van­tage of Amer­i­cans’ anx­i­ety over the COVID-19 pan­demic by dou­bling down to in­cen­tivize wide­spread vot­ing by mail. Not only did the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Al­lergy and In­fec­tious Dis­eases’s Dr. An­thony Fauci make clear that vot­ing in per­son is safe un­der the proper pre­cau­tions, but there is a bi­par­ti­san con­sen­sus that wide­spread vot­ing by mail could be dan­ger­ous to elec­tion in­tegrity. Chang­ing how we count th­ese mailin bal­lots is play­ing with fire.

States should re­sist any fur­ther changes to how they count votes. What we re­ally need is a set of clear laws that pro­tect our elec­tions from th­ese last­minute changes.

This elec­tion is al­ready con­tentious enough. Let’s not make it worse by chang­ing the rules in the home stretch.

GERRY BROOME/AP

A fork­lift op­er­a­tor loads ab­sen­tee bal­lots for mail­ing this month in Raleigh, North Carolina.

PAUL SANCYA/AP

Ab­sen­tee bal­lots to be counted in Gar­den City, Michi­gan, in May.

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