There likely is no issue attracting more attention today than election integrity issues, and rightly so. The foundation of our form of self-governance depends upon the confidence placed in electing representatives to represent us at the local level all the way up to the highest office in the land. The process of electing our representatives only works when we can have confidence in the basic level of the process which is, “one person, one vote”. In other words, only legally eligible voters cast one legal vote each! This last election exposed a number of flaws in the process that must be addressed in order to restore confidence in the system. We can all debate the last election and our satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the outcome. I will share that I supported and voted for President Trump. However, what we cannot have is a loss in confidence in the process itself. Unfortunately, that is exactly where we are right now. As far back as I can remember there have always been alleged accounts of mischief or irregularities surrounding election procedures taking place in other parts of the state and around our country. Stories such as an individual voting multiple times in different precincts, ballots being misplaced, poll observers intimidating voters, people being bribed to vote for a particular candidate, and on and on the stories go. To deny irregularities happen during the election process would be like denying gravity exists.

In Bradford County I can with confidence say that our elections are carried out with the utmost concern for the integrity of the process, and outcome. As someone who observes the election process within our county from start to finish, I can tell you in Bradford County our elections are carried out with the strictest measures in place to insure the validity of the outcome. Our elections staff and poll workers work tirelessly to maintain safety and security in our elections. I can’t speak for other areas of the state or nation as to how securely elections ae conducted, but we do it right here. That being said, there are areas in election legislation at the state level that would add additional assurances that our “one person, one vote” system is adhered to.

There are a number of things that must be addressed at the state level to tighten up issues which would go a long way to restore confidence in the system. Voter identification/verification would be a huge step in assuring the eligibility of the person wishing to cast a vote. Doing a statewide independent audit of ballots cast vs. poll book signatures and mail in or absentee ballot return envelopes with proper signature verification, to assure the number of ballots cast match the number of signatures in poll books and returned ballot envelopes.

Voter identification, independent auditing (number of legally eligible voters vs. legally cast ballots), accurate verifiable ballot counting, maintaining chain of custody of legally cast ballots, are good first steps at restoring confidence in our form of self-governance. Restoring confidence in the election process should be one of the highest priorities for legislators at the statewide level by rescinding legislation that makes the process more cumbersome and confusing for our elections workers and voters, and enacting legislation that will shore up weak areas in the process to insure “one legally eligible voter equals one legally cast ballot’, which is the cornerstone of our form of government.

Admittedly I am being repetitive, however for us to settle for anything less than absolute transparency/accountability in the election process and insist on voter eligibility verification and identification will ultimately be the undoing of our society and opening us up to anarchy. We are either a nation based on our Constitution and the adherence to Constitutionally constructed laws, or we will no longer be the Republic our founding fathers envisioned. The “experiment” will have failed. Again, our system is based on the basic principal of “one eligible voter = one legally cast vote”! Our Republic’s future is too important to do nothing, or further muddy the water by not insisting on an elections process that everyone can have the utmost confidence participating in!

Daryl Miller is the chairman of the Bradford County Commissioners.