Polling Suggests Immediate Action Needed
A recent poll conducted by the Texas Lyceum focused among other things on the topic of election integrity and suggests that broad consensus and support exists for proposed reforms to Texas election law.
The poll results are interesting in that both the right and the left have been trumpeting the them but who really has the upper hand? Also, how do polling results dictate the direction and timing of implementing public policy?
Quick aside, as consumers and critics of polls, it’s generally accepted that results tend to be skewed to the left or right based on the poll’s author. For the sake of making observations, we’ll leave bias aside but note polling in Texas tends to show support of conservative policies even in polls conducted by the left.
Before getting to the current polling and what can be gleaned about the pecking order of the right and left on issues of election integrity, let’s look at one of the “surprise” results.
In 2019, it turns out the vast majority of Texans support Voter ID. Texas Voter ID laws, considered one of the strictest in the country, has the support of 72% of Democrats polled.
This result is only a surprise when viewed against the backdrop of teeth gnashing progressive Democrats displayed when Voter ID was being considered in 2009, passed in 2011 and railed against in the press and by litigation until 2018 when it was eventually deemed constitutional.
Going as far back as 2009, Voter ID polled well with Democrats and minorities in Lyceum polling. At the time, a majority of Democrats (58%) supported Voter ID. Still, thanks to moderate Republicans in the Texas House, Voter ID was not enshrined into law until 2011.
During the intervening years while the law was being sued by Democrats, it gained even more support. In 2016, the Lyceum poll found that 74% of those polled agreed one should have to present an ID to vote. This result included 57% of Democrats and 70% of Hispanics.
Voter ID is common sense policy. To the extent that it suffered in support it was due to misinformation spread by the left and it’s media apparatus.
What common sense policy is found in the current polling and what policy prescriptions should follow a similar path as Voter ID?
The Lyceum Poll shows automatically removing inaccurate and duplicate registrations from voter lists enjoys vast support of 80% of those polled. Compare this to automatic registration, a policy that has proven to be disastrous for maintaining accurate voter rolls in states like California which garnered just 62% support.
How about keeping ineligible voters from voting? This was one of the top polling issues with 84% of those polled in agreement that it is important to keep ineligible voters from voting.
Just behind keeping ineligible voters from voting was support for paper ballot backups.
As we wrote when the poll was initially released, a whopping 83% of Texans are in favor of paper ballot backups. This is a bipartisan issue, with 83% of Democrats and 81% of Republicans favoring paper ballot backups. Mandating paper backups failed during the session due to special interest bickering entertained by Representative Stephanie Klick.
Since the session, the fundamentals of this skirmish have changed, making this an issue as well as removal of inaccurate and duplicate registrations and keeping ineligible voters from voting easy fodder for a special session that has been called for by a group of conservative organizations the state over.
Trust in our elections is what’s at stake.
Only 53% of those polled believe that ineligible voters are very or somewhat well prevented from voting, including just 44% of Republicans and 57% of Democrats polled.
Immediate action is needed to ensure trust in election results.
Here is a ranking of the issues polled.
Important (very or somewhat) that ineligible voters are prevented from voting. – 84%
Requiring electronic voting machines to print a paper backup of the ballot – 83%
Requiring all voters to show government-issued photo identification to vote – 81%
Automatically removing inaccurate and duplicate registrations from voter lists – 80%
Automatically updating voter registrations when people move – 80%
Allowing people convicted of felonies to vote after serving their sentences – 67%
Making Election Day a national holiday – 63%
Automatically registering all eligible citizens to vote – 62%
Allowing people to register at the polls on Election Day – 61%
Removing people from registration lists if they have not voted in four years – 47%
Allowing people to vote online – 43%
Conducting all elections by mail – 26%