Rep. Ralph Norman Introduces Legislation to Reinforce the Pillars of Our Federal Elections
Washington, D.C., December 14, 2020
Tags: Election Integrity
On Monday, Rep. Ralph Norman (SC-5) introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives to help improve the integrity of our federal elections moving forward.
Other South Carolina Republicans in the House signed on as original co-sponsors of the Securing And Verifying Elections in America Act ("SAVE America Act"), including Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-2), Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-3), Rep. William Timmons (SC-4), and Rep. Tom Rice (SC-7).
This legislation will amend both the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and the Help America Vote Act of 2002 to incorporate several improvements to future federal elections, including:
1. Proof of Citizenship Requirement to Register. This legislation will require proof of U.S. citizenship (e.g. birth certificate, valid passport, naturalization certificate, etc.) in order to register to vote in federal elections;
2. Photo ID Requirements. This bill will require voters to present a valid, state-issued photo ID in order to vote in-person in federal elections. A copy of the voter's photo ID will be required when voting by other means, including absentee by mail. (Important note: this legislation carves out exceptions for citizens who have reasonable impediments to obtaining a photo ID. Additionally, most states, including South Carolina, offer free identification cards to U.S. citizens living in their state);
3. Reducing overlapping voter registrations. When any voter moves to a new state and applies for a driver's license or photo ID, the DMV in the new state will be required to ascertain if that individual intends to register to vote in federal elections in his/her new state. If so, the old state's DMV and state election's official shall be notified.
4. Improving integrity of voter rolls. Before each federal election, this legislation will require states to check "change of address" data from the United States Postal Service to help identify voters who have moved out of state. It will also require states to work with the Social Security Administration to identify voters who have died since the last federal election.
5. Strengthening requirements for voting by mail. With the exception of military personnel as well as individuals who have reasonable impediments, this legislation would require a voter to attest that he/she will be unable to vote in-person in order to receive and return a ballot by mail in a federal election.
6. Improving voter verification for mail-in ballots. For all ballots returned by mail in a federal election, this legislation will require either (1) verification of the voter's signature by elections officials, (2) a witness signature, or (3) a notarized ballot.
7. Additionally, this bill will increase criminal penalties for mail-in balloting fraud, create a federal hotline to report fraud in federal elections, and establish a federal research program on best practices, security, and procedures for federal elections.
Rep. Norman issued the following statement on the bill:
"This is not a partisan issue. Democrats and Republicans alike should demand integrity in our federal election systems. It's critical that we safeguard lawful votes and take every reasonable step to prevent unlawful votes and provide full election transparency to the American people. This election has shown me the need to address our federal voting laws, and I want to thank the other Republicans from the South Carolina delegation to the House of Representatives for co-sponsoring this as well as their leadership on this important issue."
Rep. Joe Wilson added:
"Election integrity is an American right and this bill will target potential harmful irregularities in our federal election system. I am grateful to cosponsor this important legislation with Congressman Ralph Norman and my fellow South Carolina Republican members to ensure that all legal votes are counted and all fraudulent votes are not. I especially appreciate this effort as a former election commissioner myself.”
Rep. Jeff Duncan said:
“The American people depend on secure elections where every legal vote is counted and every illegal vote is thrown out. We need the necessary safeguards in the SAVE America Act to ensure ballot integrity, eliminate fraud and abuse, and respect the rule of law. Now more than ever, the American people deserve confidence and faith in the electoral process, which is why this legislation is crucial moving forward.”
Rep. Tom Rice said:
“I am proud to co-sponsor the SAVE America Act. The recent federal election has demonstrated the need to ensure the integrity of our democracy. With new threats facing our electoral systems, we must continue to update our election laws and improve security by passing this urgently needed legislation. Americans should be confident in the integrity of their right to vote.”
Rep. William Timmons also issued a statement on Monday:
“Free and fair elections are the bedrock of our democracy. One of the most important things we can do to protect the integrity of our elections is to ensure that only legal ballots are cast by actual eligible voters. The SAVE America Act contains common-sense provisions to ensure voters’ identities and help protect our electoral system from fraud and abuse. Now more than ever, Congress must take action to assure the American people they can have faith in our elections.”