RNLA's Vice Chair Joanne Young was selected by the Board of Governors as the 2020 Republican Lawyer of the Year. This annual award recognizes a lawyer for his or her outstanding professional accomplishments and years of dedicated service to the Republican Party and its ideals. Ms. Young is particularly deserving of this award, and a presidential election year is fitting timing for presenting it to her. She has been unwavering in her efforts to promote election integrity in her home of Washington, DC, and around the country through the RNLA and the Lawyers Democracy Fund.
Ms. Young wrote recently:
Yet the risks for universal vote-by-mail could far outweigh any reward in the name of public health. The concerns with mail voting include out-of-date voter rolls, undue influence over voters, foreign interference through counterfeit ballots, ballot harvesting through unscrupulous parties, and many others that are exacerbated when use of mail ballots is dramatically increased. . . .
Significantly and most noticeably to voters, switching to an all-mail voting system, particularly in a state that is not used to a high level of vote-by-mail, leads to delayed election results. In our instant news world, voters expect election results on election night, within minutes of the polls closing. With a large number of mail ballots, it would be virtually impossible to count the ballots and announce the winner on election night. As we saw in 2018 in California and this year in the New York primary, the winner may not be known for weeks, and sometimes the lead changes during the counting process.
And that’s not all. There is also the problem that when voters who prefer not to participate in the election automatically receive a ballot in the mail, hundreds of thousands of ballots are sent but never used. Because absentee voters intentionally request and anticipate their mail ballots, they are not normally ignored or misplaced. The sheer number of unused ballots in all-mail elections makes it hard to ignore the potential for voter fraud, especially when considering the limited administrative oversight and the press for results inherent in all-mail elections. Add to this the grim reality that the mail ballots of younger, minority, and first-time voters are rejected at a much higher rate.
As Election Day gets closer, elected officials at every level should stand up to those who believe their own politics would benefit from a sudden change to universal vote-by-mail. If we really want our elections to have the highest amount of participation and the lowest amount of fraud, it would be irresponsible to pretend this goal would ever be achieved by half-baked plans to overhaul election systems virtually overnight.
Ms. Young has had a distinguished career, serving as a leader and innovator in the field of transportation law and a leader in both the women's and DC bars. RNLA's Chair and Co-Chair praised Ms. Young on this well-deserved award:
RNLA Chair Manuel Iglesias said of this year’s honoree:
“Joanne has been a pioneer in breaking the glass ceiling and achieving professional success as a woman in the legal profession. She has selflessly promoted women to positions of eminence in both the legal and professional world. Within the RNLA she has been part of the leadership for the past 25 years. I cannot think of anyone more deserving to receive the RNLA’s most distinguished award.”
RNLA Co-Chair Harmeet Dhillon agreed:
“Joanne Young is truly an inspiration to other Republican lawyers, including me. From her tireless commitment to the rule of law and nonprofit endeavors in support of election integrity, to her tireless advocacy on behalf of Republican lawyers within the conservative movement, to her formation of her own firm in a profession where this still remains a rarity for women, Joanne has been a trailblazer in so many regards. I look up to her as a colleague and a friend, and I’m so delighted that she was recognized this year with this well-deserved accolade from her peers.”
Ms. Young will be celebrated at a reception this Thursday in Washington, DC. While the reception is sold out, all RNLA members are encouraged to join us in congratulating her and thanking her for her many years of service to the Republican Party.