Are Honest Elections A Spiritual, Biblical Issue?

Are phrases like “election fraud,” “election integrity” or “The Big Lie” merely sloganeering by political parties? Well, not to me, as a Jesus follower. I (like most all of you) care deeply about truth and honesty. We care deeply about integrity and transparency in all aspects of life, including voting.
“Election integrity” or honesty in voting is so much bigger than merely one particular election (2020), or certain candidates (Trump and Biden, as examples), or any political party (Republican or Democrat). Honesty in all of life, including voting, is something that God cares about. So should we.
That is why those of us who are passionate followers of Christ, who believe in the Bible, who love God, desire truth, in all things, including our national and local elections.
Election fraud is wrong, regardless of whether it is done by a Republican or a Democrat or an Independent. We can accept the fact that “our candidate” may not always win. But we do not like the idea of being told we cannot ask questions regarding the honesty of an election. And we do not accept the label of “domestic terrorists” if we have honest questions about the procedure. We are people who love for truth. Nothing more. Nothing less.
We have a right to ask God-honoring questions. In fact, in a Constitutional Republic, “WE THE PEOPLE” have an obligation to make sure the voting process is truly honest. Asking questions, and exploring factual data, is good.
But what is the actual Biblical foundation of an election? Frank Kacer, who serves on the Well Versed Board, a retired Physicist and brilliant Bible student, and author of the Scripturally-founded 65 Wisdom Principles for Christian Political Activists, wrote the following outline on the topic:
Maintaining Election Integrity from a Biblical Perspective
Election integrity is the foundation stone on which representative government rests. With it, participants in the political process can have confidence that their elected leaders actually represent what the public wants. Without it, the voting public quickly becomes cynical and will rarely see an “elected” leader as having legitimacy.

In a nutshell, if you have election integrity, you have confidence that election results accurately reflect the informed voting decisions made by legitimate voters. While there are many biblical examples of appointing leaders (i.e., Exodus 18:19-22; Deuteronomy 16:18; Acts 14:23), the Bible doesn’t directly address voting in the same sense that modern elections are conducted. There are, however, biblical principles that if followed would help ensure elections are valid (i.e., honest and trustworthy), and yield results the voting public can have confidence in. The following lists some of those principles.

  1. One person, one vote - Genesis 1:27:  Everyone is made in God’s image and therefore has intrinsic value and worth. This value is independent of social status, amount of wealth, race, ethnicity, country of origin, or even what faith a person has. In effect, voting is the great leveler among people. This basis principle is violated whenever one person votes multiple times, or a vote is duplicated or falsified or bought, or when votes are not counted.
  2. Being an Adult - 1 Corinthians 13:11 Although our nation has decided that a person is mature enough to vote when they’re 18 or older, biblically being 20 years of age appears to be more aligned with adulthood. For instance, a person had to be at least 20 years old to serve in the military (Numbers 1:3), be counted in a national census (Numbers 1:2-3), to bring offerings to the Temple (Exodus 30:14), and to be personably accountable for major sins (Numbers 14:29-30; 32:11). Although biblical adulthood at 20 years of age appears more prudent than 18, any attempt to lower it even further (i.e. 17 or 16) appears unwarranted and ill-conceived.
  3. Soundness of Mind - Matthew 5:37:  A voting decision is in a sense a vow that that decision represents what we sincerely intend. The biblical equivalent is letting our “Yes be Yes” and our “No be No.” Vows are serious matters, implying we understand the gravity of our decision and that it is a legitimate reflection of our desires. Filling out a ballot for someone that is not cognitive or able to think clearly for themselves is in effect stealing their vote and exploiting the defenseless and weak (Proverbs 22:22), which is strongly condemned biblically.
  4. Proof of Identification - Philemon 19:  In Biblical times, kings authenticated their personal approval by imprinting their seal on a document (Esther 8:10). The Apostle Paul validated his authorship of the letter to Philemon by using his own, easily identifiable handwriting (see also Galatians 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:17). Being able to personally authenticate a document has always been extremely important. No less important is being able to prove who you are when you cast a vote. Therefore, the use of signature verification and/or government issued identification appears to be a prudent minimum requirement. Falsely identifying as someone else is a violation of this principle (1 Kings 21:8) and is a false witness (Exodus 20:16).
  5. Simple Process - 1 Corinthians 14:33:  The Bible tells us we serve a God of order, not confusion. When the voting process is unnecessarily complicated, confusing, subject to interpretation, extends over long periods of time, has multiple paths with numerous third parties handling the ballot before counting, and has a loose (or even partisan) chain of custody, it will be open to easy manipulation and fraud. Returning to a simplified voter and vote accounting system would reduce complexity and allow for proper accountability, similar to the Old Testament need for a simple temple “lock-box” that eliminated theft and kept the system of tithes and offerings secure (2 Kings 12:4-12).
  6. Obey the Rules - 2 Timothy 2:5:  Voting rules should be easy to understand and then enforced. Just as athletes who don’t follow the rules should be disqualified because they are misrepresenting themselves, so purposeful violations of voting requirements should result in ballot and voting disqualification in order to maintain election integrity.
  7. Citizenship - Exodus 12:24-27; Ezekiel 44:9:  Biblically, native born citizens and foreigners were treated the same under civil laws (Exodus 12:49; Numbers 15:15-16). However, to be fully recognized as part of the nation of Israel, foreigners had to show fidelity to national purpose (Exodus 12:48) and recognition of transcendent values and beliefs (Ezekiel 44:6-7). The same loyalty significance applies today. To directly participate in the governing of our nation, a foreigner must show commitment (citizenship) towards our values and what our nation represents. To let loose voter registration processes allow non-citizens to vote trivializes the high privilege and duty of voting and creates significant opportunities for abuse.
  8. Independent Verification - Proverbs 18:17 Proverbs says: “One man seems right until another man questions him.” All elections are by nature partisan. Limiting open accountability and transparency for competing interests to verify election integrity throughout the entire election process in an open invitation for election fraud. Resolving any discrepancies that are found must also be done in a just and fair manner, otherwise any transparency is futile (Proverbs 21:15).

Only ballots legally cast by legitimate voters are valid in any election; anything else violates election integrity and should be severely condemned. Those that participate in corrupting the integrity of elections are in reality ungodly false witnesses (Exodus 20:16) to those that are playing by the rules.

Furthermore, any candidate, group, or political party that passively ignores, or actively encourages a culture that condones or incentivizes election fraud is unworthy of leading and cannot be trusted to govern morally. Encouraging the compromise of election integrity displays a moral compass that will justify any means to accomplish any goal. Biblically, this means when evil is practiced in one area (i.e. elections); it will always metastasize into other areas of governance (Habakkuk 1:4) to the harm of everyone.

Finally, as 1 Thessalonians 5:21 says: “test everything; hold fast to what is good.” Everyone of good faith needs to be concerned about helping to ensure our elections are legitimate and accomplish what they are intended to do: elect leaders that are honorable and that will use their authority properly.
Once again, thank you to Frank Kacer, Well Versed board member and author of 65 Wisdom Principles for Christian Political Activists, for this article.
Dr. Jim Garlow
Well Versed

Rosemary Schindler Garlow
Well Versed

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