State and federal lawmakers recently called on Heritage Foundation scholars as they grapple for solutions to improve election integrity and government transparency.
Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow for the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and manager of Heritage’s Election Law Reform Initiative, spoke to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives State Government Committee. He advocated for the many resources already available to states seeking to combat election fraud, including Heritage’s Election Fraud Database.
Citing longstanding voter ID laws in Georgia and Indiana, von Spakovsky debunked the misconceptions that voter ID laws deter voter participation.
“Georgia and Indiana’s ID laws have been in place since 2008. As opposed to the constant claim you hear that ID requirements depress voter turned out, in fact, that did not happen in either state,” von Spakovsky explained. “Instead, turnout increased dramatically. They have had record turnout and that has been the general experience of other states with ID requirements.”
He also reviewed several databases that should be cross-referenced by states to rid their systems of illegal voter registrations from county tax records to jury-duty rosters and the federal E-Verify system used by employers.
“Transparency,” von Spakovsky said, “is the hallmark of a good election.”
A transcript of von Spakovsky’s testimony is available here on Heritage.org.
Another member of the Meese Center team, Zack Smith, spoke before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Reform. He appealed to constitutional values, historical precedent, and logic to remind everyone that while government transparency is an urgent priority, it must take place within appropriate constitutional bounds.
Smith, a Heritage legal fellow, began his argument with a reminder that the separation of powers is of the utmost importance to safeguarding almost all other rights that we enjoy as Americans.
“It’s indisputable that our Founding Fathers set up a federal government of limited and enumerated powers and a system of checks and balances among the different branches of government,” Smith said.
Later in his remarks, Smith argued that our rights are in extreme danger if power is too concentrated in one sector of the government.
Smith argued, “It should be clear that ‘without a secure structure of separated powers, our Bill of Rights would be worthless, as are the bills of rights of many nations of the world that have adopted, or even improved upon, the mere words of ours.’ In other words, it’s this separation of powers that helps to protect all of our other rights.”
A transcript of Smith’s testimony is available here on Heritage.org.