The 2020 election was handled in the utmost lawlessness that our country has ever witnessed in modern history: signatures verification processes were ignored, left-leaning private organizations funded local elections, and claims of voter fraud were disregarded and downplayed. Matthew DePerno, a lawyer from the state of Michigan, has been involved in election integrity since late 2020. DePerno, in addition to others such as Sidney Powell, led audits into the Dominion voting machines and is now championing a new audit in Michigan. However, while audits are useful in certain circumstances, this newly proposed forensic audit might ultimately hinder election integrity efforts by forcing legislators to delegate their Constitution authority.
DePerno Act and Forensic Audits
DePerno announced the “DePerno-Pulitzer Voting Operation Transparency and Edification Act,” a bill that, if implemented, would initiate a statewide forensic audit of the 2020 election in Michigan. This audit, DePerno told OAN’s Christina Bobb, would be run by a “committee that is not going to be run by people within politics.” This audit would analyze voting machines, tabulators, election management systems, and IP addresses.
While DePerno is not a lawmaker, under the Michigan Constitution’s “purity of elections” clause, all eligible voters in Michigan have the right to “have the results of statewide elections audited, in such a manner as prescribed by law, to ensure the accuracy and integrity of elections.” DePerno said that if his efforts to pass this legislation fail in the Michigan legislature, he will collect signatures and turn it into a Constitutional referendum. He will seek 1 million signatures.
The First of Many Steps to Secure Election Security are Audits
There is much work that needs to be done ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. Forensic audits, thorough investigations, and the un-privatization of our elections are three key factors that will determine whether the U.S. has secured election integrity in the upcoming years. All audits are welcome and efforts, whether small or big, as long as they push towards the goal of securing elections. However, they must be done correctly, as many in the media would use potential flaws in those audits to undermine other election integrity efforts.
Director of the Amistad Project Phill Kline rightfully argued in a Townhall op-ed that “election audits are crucial to understanding the 2020 election, but they will not – indeed, they cannot – be the final word […] Audits can reveal abnormalities, but only good old-fashioned investigations can explain those abnormalities and tell us whether laws were broken and whether fraud took place.” The question is who should handle these investigations? The DePerno audit would create a bureaucratic board that would only decrease transparency that would be overseen by Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a leftist Whitmer-ally that has diminished state-wide audits in Michigan.
Audits Must Be Performed and Handled by Legislators
While the intent behind DePerno’s proposal is good, these audits must be handled by the people who have the Constitutional authority to determine the times, places, and manner of holding of elections: state legislatures and not third party “independent” auditors who answer to no one, including the American public.
The Framers believed that separation of powers was important to conducting fair elections. They gave primary authority to state legislatures, and secondary to the federal Congress. This, as explicitly written in the Federalists papers, would create a checks and balance process in which both governments would be held accountable. “Independent” audits go against the intent of the Framers. The Framers believed that elections should be directly under the purview of elected representatives.
Privatization of our Elections
One of the issues the Amistad Project has been focusing on has been the privatization of our elections. Through investigations and FOIA requests, Amistad attorneys found that Mark Zuckerberg through the left-leaning Center for Tech and Civic Life (“CTCL”) usurped election officials in the handling of elections. They strategically donated millions to key counties in battleground states. In return, they issued demands to counties and election officials and threatened to withdraw their “donations,” if election officials refused their demands, like as the increase of drop boxes in Democratic strongholds.
At first glance, CTCL’s efforts could be perceived as noble efforts to fund local elections. An important question, however, is who elected the CTCL’s board to handle elections? And in the event of discrepancies, as in 2020, who holds CTCL accountable for these issues? Privatizing the management of elections and audits undermines the integrity of our electoral process and election integrity. In much the same way, independent auditors do not have to operate with the same transparency and accountability as government officials. These audits are not subjected to FOIA requests, and their processes are not open to the public.
Constitutional Authority and the Framers
The 2020 Presidential Election was surrounded by much debate on the roles of federal and state legislators. Former Vice President Mike Pence and other U.S. Senators believed that their role in the certification of elections is merely ceremonial. Others, including state legislators, argued that the U.S. Congress had the power to extend the certification of the electoral college to allow for forensic audits to proceed. Left-leaning organizations and elected officials believe that the U.S. Congress has the power under the Elections Clause of the U.S. Constitution to steal control of elections from the states, which is why they are proposing bills like HR1.
All these arguments are based around the U.S. Constitution—but is there Constitutional authority for “independent” auditors? Privatizing audits and giving these powers to “experts” is a counterproductive idea. The left has done much the same in the running of our elections. The nation needs more transparency and more accountability, not less. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue, this is an American issue and it must be solved now.
To learn more about DePerno’s work visit his website here, and don’t forget to sign up for free to our membership portal to receive real-time updates on our latest interviews, op-eds, and other resources to secure election integrity across the nation.
By Luis Cornelio
Luis Cornelio runs communications for American Voter’s Alliance and is the editor of our Currently Trending page. After graduating cum laude from the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership, he went on to intern at The Heritage Foundation. Most recently he served on President Trump’s re-election campaign, writing research articles on topics of Law and Order, immigration, and the Supreme Court. He also works as the Associate Editor of the bilingual news organization El American and as a researcher for the Amistad Project.