NOTE: This piece is part of a collection of local essays on elections and trust.

In spite of COVID-19, nearly two-thirds of eligible U.S. voters participated in the November 2020 General Election. Ballots were counted and state and local election authorities throughout the U.S. verified and certified the election results. In Missouri, eligible voter participation was at 70.07 percent and Greene County reported a 72.34 percent participation rate. The Missouri Board of Canvassers certified the Missouri results and Greene County Bipartisan Verifications Board verified and certified the Greene County results.

In his November 16, 2020, press release, Shane Schoeller stated that: “Regardless of whether their candidate prevailed on November 3rd, all Greene County voters can be confident that this election was conducted with the highest integrity and professionalism through the hard work of bipartisan members of this office and bipartisan election judges and that their voice was heard through the casting of their ballot.” 

In this country, our elections are administered by state and local officials who use federal and state laws and processes to protect the security of our vote. The Brennan Center for Justice reported on December 11, 2020, that: “By all measures, the 2020 general election was one of the most secure elections in our history.” A December 14, 2021, Associated Press review of the six 2020 election battleground states found fewer than 475 cases (out of the 25.5 million ballots cast) of potential voter fraud and no evidence of collusion intended to rig the election.

Yet, between January 1, 2021, and December 7, 2021, at least 19 states passed 34 laws restricting access to voting. And, beginning on December 1, 2021, several of our Missouri legislators have pre-filed bills that, if enacted, will make it more difficult for Missourians to register and to vote.

The elected members of our local, state and national government should be proud of the success of the 2020 electoral process. Furthermore, we should all be doing what it takes to make sure that our elections remain safe and secure and that every eligible voter in this great country of ours has easy and equal access to voter registration and to the ballot box.  Our democracy depends on nothing less.

Joan Gentry | Guest author

Joan Gentry, Voter Services Chair, League of Women Voters Southwest Missouri