Disclaimer: this post involves civics, not politics.
In 2000 Bush won the presidential election and Democrats complained the election was stolen with interference by the US Supreme Court. Remember hanging chads?
In 2004 Bush won reelection and Democrats complained about fairness and integrity.
In 2008 Obama won election and Republicans complained the election was tainted, blaming slanted coverage by corporate news media, among other factors.
In 2012 Obama won reelection and Republicans complained about fairness and integrity.
In 2016 Trump won election and Democrats claimed the election was stolen with interference by Russia (look up Russian Collusion Hoax).
In 2020 Biden won election and Republicans claimed the election was rigged with help from social media and corporate news (see Newsweek’s article explaining the collaboration).
Politics aside, we see a pattern here: no matter who wins an election, the other side cries foul and objects to the results. But after at least six election cycles of such behavior, maybe we need to ignore the posturing and look in a different direction: why are state legislatures and election officials not providing more open, more secure, and more accountable balloting processes so that we can all see the results?
Why are so many state legislatures and election officials resistant to voter ID? We use identification to fly on a commercial airline, buy prescription medicine, cash a check, or drive a car. Fraudulent votes can cancel valid votes, becoming a form of voter suppression. Why not create a voter ID system that uses easily available identification tools to protect the integrity of the voting process, and support the principle of one person, one vote?
Why are so many state legislatures and election officials slow to clean up voter lists (e.g., removing dead voters from the rolls)? Only a few months ago the Wisconsin Secretary of State refused to remove 23,000 dead voters from the rolls until someone filed a lawsuit to force her to do her job. Why didn’t she want to remove dead people from the voter lists?
Why does it take so long to tally votes? Many other countries (e.g., first world countries like France as well as third world countries in Africa) report election outcomes within a day rather than taking weeks. The US has seen more and more use of electronic voting machines and automated tabulation of ballots, but reporting election results gets slower and slower. Why?
How is it that, at least in California, officials can track the millions of ballots mailed to everyone well enough to know that over 10 million of them were not voted in the most recent statewide election, yet remain unable to detect 27 voter registrations at one house. Yes, they eventually found and caught the fraudster who registered to receive 27 ballots, but not until months after the fact. Why not screen the registrations as they come in?
Some of them may not realize it in any but an academic sense, but state legislatures and election officials actually work for us, the voters. We are well past the recent mid term elections and the next national elections are still over a year away. Would it be too much for us to ask our employees (state legislatures and election officials) to up their game, do their job, and give us more open, more secure, and more accountable elections?
One thought on “Election Misdirection”
Those are all excellent questions, but we don’t seem able to get any response from the relevant people beyond “No problem here!” or “…but we can’t do that.” I have to conclude that the system works in a way that is satisfactory to the people who should be fixing it. I wish I understood how it is to their advantage to take a step closer to chaos with each election cycle.
I’m also reminded of a scene from “The Wizard of Oz” with Toto pulling open a curtain and the Wizard saying “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”