Former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker introduce their election reform report in 2005.

Years ago, my cousin voted in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Like Connecticut, when you vote in Pennsylvania, the staff looks at the list of voters and crosses out your name. When she looked at the list, she saw my grandmother’s and my Aunt Lucy’s names crossed out, as if they had already voted. The problem was that Grandma Bentivegna was dead and Aunt Lucy had moved to New Jersey years prior. But they had voted in Scranton. And it is safe to say that they did not vote Republican.

Joseph Bentivegna MD

The Democrats are using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to convince Americans that they are risking their life by voting. Thus, they are recommending the increased use of mail-in voting, early voting and absentee ballots while extending the time periods before and after Election Day. But in today’s polarized political environment, it is crucial that voters believe in the integrity of the ballot box.

Allowing absentee ballots is not unreasonable. Many voters are elderly and a trip to the polls is arduous, coronavirus or not. But there is still opportunity for mischief such as when the Connecticut Democratic Party used absentee ballots to deny black voters the victory of a black State Senator, Marilyn Moore, over incumbent Major Joe Ganim in the 2019 primary. Ganim, who had spent seven years in jail for after being convicted for taking kickbacks, lost the primary to Senator Moore. That was until the absentee ballots rolled in and gave Ganim the victory.

Senator Moore knew she had been robbed and complained, but the Democratic establishment choreographed a kangaroo court. They even got a black judge, the Honorable Judge Barry Stevens, to do their dirty work. After a six day trial, in which multiple witnesses testified that they never requested an absentee ballot as required by Connecticut law, the Honorable Judge Stevens ruled “The plaintiffs have failed to prove by the preponderance of the evidence that the statutory violations claimed by them caused mistakes in the counts of the primary vote.”

Mail-in ballots are even more subject to fraud. In this case, the government sends ballots to supposedly registered voters. But many states use the names of those who have driver’s licenses and blue states such as Connecticut give these licenses to illegal immigrants. How can this be checked?

Democrats will argue that voter fraud is rare. But this can’t be proven. Mail-in ballots can be photocopied and signatures can be forged. Furthermore, there are interminable arguments over whether the ballot was sent in on time. Did the person vote on or before Election Day? What if they did and the postmark on the envelope is two days later? Did the post office become overwhelmed? What happens if the post office finds a box of ballots that were not counted? What happens if it finds a box of ballots that were never mailed out? Should a judge overturn the election? Allow the ballots to be counted? Guess how the people would have voted?

Mail-in ballots also give rise to ballot harvesting, where Democratic operatives funded by liberal billionaires such as Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer bang on doors offering to help “with the voting process.” These operatives “advise” these voters how to vote, “help” filling out the ballot and take hundreds of the ballots to the Post Office themselves! Balloting harvesting cost the Republicans five House seats in California in 2018. Even Jimmy Carter concluded when evaluating this system that it had a huge potential for abuse.

Another Democratic cause is early voting. This should not be permitted. Elections should be a snapshot at a particular time. Issues and events change and voters should not be disenfranchised by casting their votes too early. Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen Amy Klobacher received tens of thousands of votes on Super Tuesday even though they had dropped out. Why? Because of early voting.

One Connecticut Democratic politician joked, “When I die, I want to be buried in Waterbury so that I can remain active in politics.” But this is no longer a joke. Voters should have to show up to the polls and present voter ID. All votes must have a paper trail. Absentee ballots must be requested and if mail-in ballots are to be permitted, they must all be counted on the day of the election and not after. Ballot harvesting should be banned. America does not need another fiasco such as Bush versus Gore in 2000, where the result the election was contested for weeks.

If this happens this year, it will tear the country apart.

Joe Bentivegna is an ophthalmologist in Rocky Hill. 

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