November 2022 is coming and so is the battle over what that election will look like.
By all honest and objective accounts, the 2020 Presidential election was a tragedy. Numerous states are still reeling from controversy over their own elections and many legislative and court battles continued to be waged across the country as a result.
The focus has always been the top of the ticket and the race for President. Since 2020, it has been mainly Trump supporters concerned about dubious results in about half a dozen states. However, rewind to 2016 and it was the Clinton campaign fostering allegations of Russian “collusion.”
This sad result where neither side of the political spectrum seems content or even certain of the outcome of a national election is a travesty and should concern us all greatly. That is why I have devoted a significant portion of my effort at the state capitol to fighting for election integrity. In my opinion, the one thing we must absolutely agree upon when it comes to policy is how our elections are conducted.
To my dismay, every year, more and more laws are passed in our state affecting our election process on party lines. This is a sign that something is severely wrong and requires immediate change. The path we are on only ends with more distrust and potential interruptions in the peaceful transfer of power in the future.
For me, the issue has never really been the Presidential election and I have focused more on our state elections. Of course, I only have a say right here in Connecticut and there is little dispute over the top of the ticket. That said, our election right here at home in 2020 was an unmitigated disaster. I can share a laundry list of reasons, but the primary concern was the unsolicited mass mailing of absentee ballots. This not only carried a price tag of close to $8 million taxpayer dollars and resulted in thousands of disenfranchised voters, but it also created a system so welcoming to ballot harvesting and fraud that it cannot be ignored by anyone interested in having an honest election.
One reason is that we have extremely out of date voter rolls. So much so that in 2020’s election, hundreds of thousands of ballot applications were returned as undeliverable. Tens of thousands more were sent to the wrong addresses, others addressed to those who moved away years ago, and others to people who passed away even a decade ago. Combine that with those that didn’t receive any application at all and others whose ballots got tied up in the mail and showed up too late to be counted and you have what amounts to a real mess.
Sadly, it may be about to happen all over again. Connecticut Democrats in the legislature are attempting to revise our election law to redefine eligibility based on illness to mimic the methods used in 2020 because of the pandemic. We cannot allow that to happen.
The Waterbury Republican-American recently published an editorial referring to this policy proposal, currently moving through the legislature as HB 5262, a “menace to democracy” and then went on to say, “Universal mail-in voting would only leave room for mistakes that would exacerbate existing fears about the fragility of American democracy… Such a policy could prove disastrous. While proponents frame ease of voting as the highest democratic principle, the importance of election integrity cannot be discounted. Advocates of mail-in voting would respond by arguing that postal ballots are secure and reliable. The facts tell a different story.”
I couldn’t agree more. As I have said so many times, everyone in both parties wants to see maximum participation in our elections. This means we are ALL in favor of expanding access to voting. However, that access cannot sacrifice our trust in the process and confidence in the results. You can count on me to continue to press for common sense and an open election process worthy of your trust.
State Sen. Rob Sampson
Sampson serves as the Ranking Republican member of the Government Administration & Elections Committee. He represents the 16th Senate District which includes the communities of Cheshire, Prospect, Southington, Waterbury and Wolcott.