RNLA Co-Chair Harmeet Dhillon: Election Reforms Needed in 2021

With election reform at the center of the public debate, the Federalist Society held a webinar tonight titled The 2020 Elections: What Worked and What Should Change? 

RNLA’s own Co-Chair Harmeet Dhillon of Dhillon Law Group joined a panel of election law experts to discuss the positives and the negatives of the 2020 election and what reforms are needed in the future to preserve election integrity.

Unlike any election in U.S. history, 2020 was overwhelmed by massive election overhauls, hundreds of legal battles, numerous allegations of fraud, and both unprecedented voter turnout and voter confusion.  As a result, election reform is at the top of the list for state legislatures going into 2021.

Senior Legal Fellow with the Heritage Foundation Hans A. von Spakovsky, who joined Harmeet on the panel, wrote a commentary earlier this month discussing the need for state legislatures to pass reforms in 2021 to keep this election from ever repeating itself:

There are a whole series of steps that need to be taken by state legislators to fix these problems, and they should act in the upcoming legislative sessions that will start in many states in January 2021…[S]tate officials all over the country need to concentrate on addressing all of these vulnerabilities and problems and finally do something about them.

But what should those changes be?  Harmeet clearly articulated specific positives and negatives in the 2020 election and what needs to change to restore public confidence and integrity in the elections going forward. 

Starting with the positives, Harmeet praised Florida—once the problem child of the Union—for becoming a national example in how to implement and enforce clear and effective election laws.  Additionally, she discussed how states across the country safely held in-person voting in the midst of a pandemic, exposing the hot air of Democrat extremists who baselessly pushed for states to adopt and implement universal mail voting.

Harmeet then turned from the good to the bad and the ugly.

Lack of Clean Voter Rolls. Mail voting is a disaster when states lack clean voter rolls due to the number of ballots that are sent to voters who are dead, ineligible to vote, or who have moved away.  “There has to be no tolerance” for outdated and inaccurate voter rolls according to Harmeet, who highlighted how LA County, which contains 25% of California’s population, had over 1,000,000 people on their voter rolls who were either ineligible to vote or dead. 

When states across the country begin “spamming the populous with ballots” but lack accurate voter rolls, according to Harmeet, the “potential for fraud is commensurate with a decrease of confidence in the outcome.”  States need to immediately and consistently clean their voter rolls.

Lack of Transparency. Admitting it was partisan issue, Harmeet highlighted states like Pennsylvania that were plagued with accusations of not allowing meaningful opportunity for observers to view the process.  If observers are only allowed in the room but not actually allowed to view the process to ensure integrity, confidence in the election is irreparably damaged.

Chain of Custody of Mail Ballots. Standing in opposition to ballot harvesting, Harmeet also advocated for reforms that establish a stronger chain of custody for mail ballots, specifically by using enhanced technology to ensure integrity in the election.  This included opposing unmonitored ballot drop boxes, which can be tampered with, stuffed with invalid ballots, or even destroyed.

Differential Treatment of Ballots Among Counties in the Same State. Voters living in the same state should not have their ballot treated differently under the law depending on the county they reside in.  Harmeet discussed how voters in one county this election had their ballots rejected for errors that other counties would have overlooked.  Pushing for consistent implementation of ballot verification laws, Harmeet supported states adopting and equally enforcing ballot curing laws that allow voters from both parties to correct their mail ballots.

Election Rule Changes. Elections “should not be a game of billionaires,” Harmeet stated, after 2020 became an election where well-funded Democratic groups paid insurmountable amounts to go to court to change the election laws outside of the Legislature.  When election laws are litigated in court close to an election, it leads to mass uncertainty regarding which laws are in effect and which are not.

Ultimately, Harmeet confessed that the biggest loser of the 2020 election was “the public’s respect for the integrity of the outcome of the election.”  Millions of Americans are left to question the fairness of the election, and without meaningful election reform, there is no guarantee that 2020 won’t happen again in the future.