Defeat voter suppression efforts: Vote

Patrick DeLany
York Dispatch

It’s bad enough that roadblocks are being thrown up at voting booths throughout the country, efforts to suppress voter turnout have now evidently gone door to door.

That’s the unavoidable inference in York County, where a shadowy, self-appointed “election integrity committee” has been knocking on doors in an attempt to ferret out information on how local residents voted in the 2020 elections.

According to reporting by the Dispatch’s Logan Hullinger, the group is targeting Democratic voters, asking questions like who they voted for in an effort to uncover voter fraud.

More:'Election integrity committee' in York County accused of voter intimidation

More:Mysterious 'election integrity committee' puts pressure on York County officials

Where to begin?

Hanover residents Edie Springfloat, Sheila O'Neill and Christie Rutledge pose with signs outside of the York County Administrative Center. The three attended the Board of Commissioners meeting in support of a forensic election audit of the 2020 election.

First of all, it’s nobody’s business who you voted for. If someone has the effrontery to ring your doorbell and put such a question to you, unless they’re a legitimate pollster and you want to share that information, tell them to pound salt.

Second, there is no way such information could provide proof of voter fraud.

Which brings us to point three: There was no widespread voter fraud in the 2020 elections; in fact, there were few irregularities of any kind. We know this because dozens of such allegations by former President Donald Trump and his legal minions were thrown out of courtrooms across the nation, including in Pennsylvania.

So, what’s really behind this ill-conceived, if not illegal, effort?

For starters, a large contingent of elected Republicans and their backers seems hellbent on maintaining the fiction that there were inconsistencies in the 2020 voting process — the better to justify the scores of new voting restrictions that GOP lawmakers have enacted this year. Efforts like door-to-door voter-snooping or the nonsensical “forensic audit” of the 2020 election being sought by state Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin County, even if not successful (and they won’t be; there is no wrongdoing to uncover), keep the fantasy current and the attacks on voting access coming.

More:York County raises objection to Mastriano's election audit

There’s also the likelihood that someone banging on your door to question how you voted might quell your enthusiasm for future trips to the ballot box. That’s certainly how Democratic Party of York County Chairman Chad Baker sees it.

“There is an intimidation factor,” he told the Dispatch. “That’s what their intent is.”

The extent to which Republicans have gone to dissuade, discourage and even disenfranchise voters is truly astounding:

They have shown, remarkably yet repeatedly, that they no longer support the most basic tenet of democracy: free and fair elections.

They have placed devotion to their party, in general, and former President Trump, in particular, over the Constitution and their constituents.

And they embrace not only the “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen (albeit only from Trump; the party picked up seats in the House), but the countless smaller lies needed to prop it up.

It has been a shameful display by a largely shameless contingent.

And there is only one way to reverse it: Voters must navigate the obstacles, ignore the suppression tactics and make their voices heard loudly at the polls.

Republican lawmakers can make it more difficult to vote. They can make it less inviting. They can even put their own members in charge of overseeing, counting and certifying ballots. But they can’t make voting illegal. Which means if right-minded citizens turn out at the polls in large enough numbers, those seeking to retain political control by diminishing the power of the vote can still be dismissed by that very power.

Is it fair that voters need to clear a series of hurdles, endure long lines and go to extra lengths to ensure they haven’t been expunged from registration rolls to exercise their franchise? No, nothing that’s being done to reverse ballot access right now is fair.

All the more reason it must be stopped. At the ballot box. While that’s still a possibility.