In the aftermath of the November presidential election, election integrity has been at the forefront of political discussions and the subject of a number of bills introduced in state legislatures across the country.

Last year, I filed and passed the Tennessee Election Integrity Act, which now requires: (1) local election commissions to create unique, non-visible and non-reproducible watermarks on all paper absentee ballots in an effort to deter and detect fraud; and (2) funding used by state and local election officials and commissions from nongovernmental entities to be approved by the Speaker of the House, Speaker of the Senate and Secretary of State (which makes it much more difficult for those in big tech such as Zuckerberg and corporate America to funnel dark money to fund election processes in Tennessee).

This year, I have filed a new election integrity measure, House Bill 1662, which:

1. Calls for the use of paper ballots instead of voting machines, and would require such ballots to have a non-visible, non-producible security feature such as a watermark, fluorescence or digital hologram changed from election to election to prevent fraudulent duplication; and

2. Permits poll watchers to take video of proceedings at polling locations throughout Tennessee.

Election reform is a national priority. This is not about voter suppression, but rather about ensuring that not only is every eligible citizen able to vote, but also their vote is not stolen or diluted by fraud. We need a fair and secure election process that restores and inspires the utmost confidence by voters and this legislation is another step in the right direction to get us there.

“Before filing this legislation, I polled my constituents as I usually do. Improving election integrity was ranked the third most important issue among my constituents (just behind eliminating COVID mandates and preserving Second Amendment rights). Moreover, 66% of my constituents stated that they believe paper ballots would help improve election security.

All electronic voting machines are subject to fraud, manipulation, outright hacking and computer errors. Indeed, in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, there were numerous affidavits by electronic espionage experts attesting to the occurrence of electronic vote manipulation. There were even vote checkers who literally saw computer screens change votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden.

Moreover, when voting is done on electronic screens and the vote is recorded electronically, it is virtually impossible to tell if fraud occurs if there is no paper trail for auditing purposes. Paper ballots would not only allow for accurate vote counts and limit electronic manipulation, but also leave a paper trail to recheck votes.

Essentially, paper ballots are mission critical for the end result of an election to be verified. They provide an irrefutable trail of accountability that no other form of election management offers.

Fair and honest elections are fundamental to the success of our republic. They must not continue to be compromised by costly electronic voting systems that are subject to errors, hacking and fraud. It is time to insist on the value of each citizen’s vote and properly account for it with paper ballots and audits.

 

BRUCE GRIFFEY is the state representative for District 75, which includes Henry County. His email address is rep.bruce.griffey@capitol.tn.gov.

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