Election integrity is an important product of the rule of law

Jennifer Panning

Chair of the Northwood University Board of Trustees

Jennifer Panning
April 1, 2021

Election integrity is an important product of the rule of law

NOTE: A version of this essay was published in the April 2021 edition of When Free To Choose.

Rule of law is a fundamental component of The Northwood Idea. Society cannot exist without it. It is the wall between freedom and anarchy.

Elections are a part of American life where the rule of law is especially important. Many brave men and women have fought for our freedom, including the privlege and duty to vote for our leaders, and we owe it to them to conduct our elections with high standards of integrity. Democracy is the greatest form of governance ever devised, a system by which free people choose their leaders and hold them accountable. In other words, a government of, by, and for the people. We might not always be happy with how our democracy functions, but it beats any and all alternatives.

But democracy only fulfills its potential when elections are free and fair. If the true will of the citizenry is not reflected in election results, people will lose faith in their government, and government will not be accountable to the people. If that happens, everyone loses.

So, everyone should be able to agree on two basic goals of election law: we want all legal voters to have easy access to voting, but we should make it more difficult for bad actors to cheat.

In fact, our democracy can be hamstrung by nothing more than the widespread belief that elections are not free and fair, even if convincing evidence of wrongdoing cannot be produced. In a system where cheating is possible, the possibility of cheating creates problems of its own.

That’s why it is so important that we take strong, decisive action to ensure the integrity of our election process. Anything short of that risks undermining the democracy that has been so integral to American greatness.

In October 2020, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton released his latest book, “A Republic Under Assault,” raising serious allegations of widespread campaigns to change electoral laws in ways that make voter fraud more likely. Less than a month later, the 2020 General Election became one of the most contentious in history, with significant segments of society stubbornly unconvinced that the official results accurately reflected the true will of the people. Again, this is a bad outcome for everyone.

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