In the 2016 election, approximately 100 million registered voters failed to cast a ballot. In the 2020 election, some voters lost confidence in the fidelity of the election system.

We need a federal law with standard voting procedures. The law should say the following:

The intent of this federal law is that the maximum number of registered voters will vote at a local polling site. The only alternative voting procedure is to request an absentee ballot. Mail-in voting is prohibited. Ballot collection (“harvesting”) outside the voting location is prohibited.

National elections will take place beginning on the first Saturday in November and run from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Monday will be a national holiday. Early voting will begin on Oct. 20. Voters must be pre-registered.

All of the work at every voting site will be accomplished by teams. Each team will consist of persons affiliated with the major political parties plus an observer.

The executive team will oversee all operations and ensure that every procedure prescribed in this law is adhered to.

Administrative teams are responsible for in-processing voters.

Counting teams will manually count all in-person and absentee presidential ballots.

The accounting team will verify the count of each box of counted ballots, secure the counted-ballots storage room and maintain the total presidential vote count.

In order to ensure the most accurate and time-sensitive presidential results, the following procedures will be followed to the letter at every voting location:

n Each voter must produce an identification card which shows their local address and was obtained with a Social Security card as proof of who they are.

n Each voter will receive a ballot consisting of two pieces of paper. Page one contains only the names of the president/vice president candidates and, if appropriate, a national referendum issue. The second paper is for all state and local candidates.

n The voter completes the two-page ballot and presents it to the person operating the electronic tabulating machine. Both paper ballots are entered into the machine.

The tabulating machine is the primary method of counting votes for the state/local candidates. The primary counting method for the president/vice president ballot is hand counting. The tabulating machine becomes a back-up count in the event of a catastrophic loss of paper ballots by fire, flood, theft, etc.

The presidential paper ballot will be retrieved from the tabulating machine and presented to the counting team. The counting team process is as follows:

n First, number the ballot in the upper right-hand corner. If, for example, the ballot storage boxes hold 500 ballots, the numbering will continue from No. 1 through No. 500.

n Second, each counter team member will initial under the page number of every ballot and record the date and time, thereby establishing chain-of-custody during the counting process.

n Third, each counter will be associated with a particular candidate throughout the counting process and will keep a tally of the ballots for their candidate.

The counting process is so simple and quick, it can be completed in 10-15 seconds. Therefore, one counting team can process ballots from many voting booths while never jeopardizing the security of the ballots.

When the ballot box is full the accounting team will be called in and perform five functions:

n One, instruct the counters to sign and record the date and time on their individual tally sheets and place them inside the storage box with the numbered ballots.

n Two, seal the ballot box with permanent adhesive tape.

n Three, place a permanent-adhesive ballot box accounting sheet on the outside of the box. All members of the counting and accounting teams for that box will sign the sheet and record the date and time. The box will be numbered and the total votes for each candidate will be entered on that exterior box accounting sheet.

n Four, the box number and its associated votes for each candidate will be entered onto the accounting team’s official presidential vote tally document.

n Five, the box will be immediately moved to a secure storage room and logged in with accounting team signatures and date and time. That room must be off limits to all except the executive and accounting team members.

These same counting and storage procedures apply equally to absentee ballots.

When the polls close at 7 p.m. on Monday, the executive team at each voting site will verify the accounting team vote totals and fax the information to the State Election Headquarters.

Election results will be released simultaneously across the nation beginning at 10 a.m. eastern standard time on Tuesday following the Monday election holiday.

Note: the above is a brief outline of my proposed law. A more detailed accounting along with explanations as to why this law is necessary can be found online at my blog

Lt. Gen. Marvin Covault, U.S. Army (ret.), is the author of “Vision to Execution,” a book for leaders.

(12) comments

Sally Larson

If this whole issue was approached with the mindset that we want every American to vote no matter what party, then we should make it a convenient process for all. It's the manipulations that are feared from both sides but this election made it clear there were no "Mountains of evidence" to reveal any voter fraud. Even here in NC, we voted in the majority of Republicans but still voted for a Democrat governor. That means many Republicans thought Cooper was doing a good job and or at least they didn't want the contender winning and voted accordingly. Every vote was a personal choice that each voter made without manipulations which is the way it should be. I wasn't happy in 2016, in fact, I was shocked but we all had to live with it and now the tables have turned. There was no room for fraud in our system thank goodness and we have a leaving President who can't accept his loss and is flailing around like a child saying it's someone else's fault and he should have won. Well, I call that a sore loser who's making a fool of himself and taking advantage of his followers by keeping the lie alive asking for your money so he can pay his bills but says you are contributing to his political fight. It's not happening and It's time for us to move on.

Mark Hayes

Sally Larson, " What Happened ? " [wink]

Kathryn Giquinto

Ms. Larson while I agree with you about North Carolina elections especially Moore County, there have indeed been irregularities with some other States. In our country, each state runs their elections very differently; using different machines to tabulate and different rules for mail in voting etc. I have listened to quite a bit of sworn testimony in the last week and some of it was disturbing. Attorney General Barr stated today that although there were irregularities there was by no means enough to mount a case for overturning an election. So without a doubt Joe Biden will indeed be our next President, and how you felt four years ago about Trump, I now feel about Biden. He was not my choice but I will certainly accept that he is my President. Yet for you to say there was NO fraud in our system is a bit much. We definitely need to revamp the way we vote in this country. It is still against the law to vote when you are “not” a US Citizen or are no longer alive, or use ballot harvesting and give $500 gift certificates to vote. As for Donald Trump not wanting to believe that he lost this election, one can only hope that he doesn’t follow in the footsteps of Hillary Clinton and moan for the next four years like she did.

Mark Hayes

General, you lost me with the " each voter must produce an identification card which shows their local address, and was obtained with a Social Security card as proof of who they are. " That will never happen, not that it is not a commendable suggestion, but not a favorable one by those who would rebel against it. If by chance that it would become law, there are so many with the talents of Adolpho Kaminsky, and the cartels, fraudulent paperwork and ID's would be produced at a rate that the shortage of paper products would be in jeopardy.

John H Hamblen

USA voting Law - U.S. election laws date to ARTICLE One of the Constitution. This gave the States the responsibility of overseeing Federal elections. The only way to change that is a Constitutional Amendment, period.

Too complicated. One day to vote, only in person. Absentee ballots are strictly reserved for only those abroad who can prove it. No early voting. No mail-in voting. Picture ID of course. No voting machines from Venezuela designed by Chavez to rig ejections. True bipartisan boards of election with better transparency. This would of course pretty much wipe out Democrat changes forever as it makes cheating very difficult.

Barbara Misiaszek

LOL Kent. Oh,you're serious? Still, LOL!

John Misiaszek

Jim Hart

Can you say "sour grapes"? Sore looser? I guess if you cant beat the system, change it. Look, mail in voting totally works and it has worked well in those states that have implemented it on a permanent basis. Granted, there were states that were not used to it this year and it took longer than expected to count ballots, but this will change in the future. Keep in mind, again, there is zero proof of any massive attempts at fraud or miscounting. NONE. Sometimes you just have to accept the truth.

As for this new "law", as usual, Mr. Covault demonstrates his failure at understanding current law and why we do elections the way we do. Its called the Constitution. THere is no provision in the document that provides for a '"federal" election. Rather, each and every state must conduct their own election. The basis of this is the establishment of the electoral college. It was the conservative wing of the founding fathers who established this because of the states rights issue. They wanted a decentralized national government. So before you get into any law to change the election process, you need to have at least one or more changes in the Constitution, something that the Republican Party would never permit and would never be passed by the state legislatures in the so called red states of our country. Just thinking about this a bit more, I dont think it is a stretch to suggest that such a law as Covault is suggesting would be declared unconstitutional as a violation of states rights.

Mr. Covault is always suggesting overly simplistic ways to change our government. While I would agree that reform is necessary in many cases, it is not as simple as he implies. He really missed the boat on this one.

Mark Hayes

Mr. Hart, your contribution to this United States has been, what ?

Mark Hayes

With mail-in voting " It's not who votes that count, it's who counts the votes " [wink]

Sally Larson

Oh, Brother!  Get a grip, mail-in voting has been successful for many states. We need to make sure no one is messing with our postal system though and our gerrymandering is a mess.  Nasty manipulations like reducing voting places to one per district and demanding ID's need to be stopped. Votes should be counted as they come in.  I do agree that voting day should be a day off for everyone so all citizens have a chance to vote.  I don't see anything wrong with early voting either.  It made life a lot easier for all of us worried about being in a long line with possible exposure to Covid. In the end, there is no evidence of voter fraud and it appears that this year was especially well supervised and monitored so there were no real issues.  If there were mountains of evidence to the contrary we would have found that out by now.  It's over and we need to move on.

Barbara Misiaszek

Baloney. Mail in, no excuse, voting is fine. What we need is a national voter registration. If you move and register in a new location,your name is automatically and immediately removed from your prior place of registration.

John Misiaszek

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