Sen. Rick Brattin’s Capitol Report for the Week of Feb. 21: We Must Protect Our Elections – Now

The 2020 election was one of those watershed moments in American political history. It certainly has had consequences for the American people. Those consequences range from energy prices – the average price of a gallon of gas in November 2020 was $1.77; it’s now $3.20 – to skyrocketing inflation – the annual rate of inflation has climbed to a shocking 7.5% – to foreign policy failures that resulted in the disastrous cut and run from Afghanistan, and the current administration’s weakness in the face of Russian aggression. There’s no denying it – this is a different country than it was in the fall of 2020, and we would be a different country today had the election come out differently.

Elections matter and, if that’s true, then election integrity matters. It goes right to the heart of who we are as a country. Our constitutional republic has endured for 250 years because of the American people’s trust in and commitment to free and fair elections. Americans must have faith that the people they elected were put into office fairly and accurately. That trust in our elections was put to the test in 2020. In a way, our entire system of government is on trial right now and it’s the duty of legislators all over the country to respond to the American people by ensuring we have the most accurate and secure elections laws we possibly can. It’s not hard to see why voters’ faith in our elections is flagging. In several key battleground states in 2020, partisan political activists changed the rules in the middle of the game without any legislative or constitutional authority to do so. If that wasn’t enough, some in Congress are now attacking state sovereignty and pushing for a federal takeover of elections. H.R. 1 is a liberal wish list of election law – prohibiting voter ID laws, legalizing ballot harvesting and universal mail-in voting across the U.S. If passed, this would be the end of free and fair elections in this country.

It’s the constitutional duty of the state legislatures to determine election law and it’s time the Missouri Legislature reminded Congress and the president of that. Last month, I filed Senate Bill 695, which is a comprehensive election integrity bill. First, it would restore Missouri’s voter ID law. If someone can show an ID to apply for welfare, they can show an ID to vote. If someone can show an ID to apply for unemployment or to get a job, they can show an ID to vote. It’s as simple as that. My bill would also clean up our voter rolls of outdated and questionable records such as those who have moved or those who have died. How can we expect to have accurate elections if our voter records aren’t even accurate? My bill also gets rid of mail-in voting and makes the paper ballot the official ballot in Missouri. Mail-in voting and electronic voting machines are perhaps the two areas of elections most ripe for fraud, and if we are ever going to secure our elections, they must be dealt with. Lastly, my bill creates a process for voters to trigger an audit of elections when they believe fraud or impropriety has taken place. This audit would include a recount of all votes cast and a full examination of all election equipment used. Election audits are our last line of defense before results are certified, and since we currently don’t have a process in which the people can force an audit, this is one of the most important steps we can take to secure our elections.

There are some out there telling us to “move on” and “get over” the 2020 election. That’s wrong. We aren’t going to stop fighting for secure elections and protecting the people’s sacred right to vote. Ignoring what happened in 2020 is an insult to voters and would silence the voice of millions of Americans who have honest and genuine concerns about the integrity of our elections. Every American should be able to trust that their vote counts and that their elections reflect the will of the people. That’s what I am fighting for with SB 695 and what I will fight for every day in the Missouri Senate.

If you have any ideas, questions and concern, please feel free to contact me at the State Capitol: (573) 751-2108, or by writing to Sen. Rick Brattin, Missouri State Capitol, Room 331, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

God bless and thank you for the opportunity to work for you in the Missouri Senate.