Events of the last three months illustrated just how fragile our democracy is. Many individuals of integrity declined to overthrow the results of the presidential election. President Donald Trump tried to get election officials in every battleground state to falsely claim that he won. If even one had succumbed, the election might have been fraudulently nullified. Then he tried to get Republican officials – in key states, courts, the Congress and finally the vice president – to overturn the results. If applied in the future, the proposition that any of those people could simply decree who will be president would effectively end presidential elections.

This is not a partisan issue. One could easily imagine an election x years in the future in which a president who is a Democrat brings similar pressure to bear on persons loyal to him, who agree to overturn the election results.

We need to encourage our lawmakers to pass legislation making it clear that neither the vice president, election officials nor legislators have the power to overturn elections, and to greatly strengthen laws against interfering with election results. For example, the federal election fraud statute requires proof that the defendant acted “knowingly,” which is very difficult to prove, instead of merely requiring that he acted without an objectively reasonable basis for challenging the results. Without such corrective legislation, we might not be so lucky next time.

Fred Moore

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