By now, all of America realizes that the U.S. polling industry is hopelessly inept, and the lopsided election predicted for Joe Biden has not materialized. In a half dozen states, the president and his challenger are separated by decimal point margins, causing a complex election crisis that cannot be easily or quickly determined. Of critical concern regarding a free and fair election are questions of transparency – what some might call election integrity – as well as matters of voter fraud. Unfortunately, both issues are at the center of the maelstrom this voting cycle.
I See Nothing
For decades, the U.S. has sent poll watchers worldwide to help other countries learn how to conduct trustworthy elections. One essential element of an honest voting process is transparency. Practically speaking, this is the ability to permit a few people into the facility where the ballots are being counted. This minimal level of openness is a vital component to a fair vote count. Why this simplistic measure has become so contentious and a matter of dispute in states like Nevada and the commonwealth of Pennsylvania is mind-boggling.
If you are wondering why the Trump campaign has been begging for days to stop the counting of votes in some states, transparency is the reason. Apparently, the pleading has fallen on deaf ears, which is why the campaign is seeking legal relief. But the courts are never the best hands for an election to fall into because the wheels of justice turn slowly and are ineffective in a situation that requires speed. Swiftness matters because no one wants to wait until 2021 to find out who will be the next president of the United States.
Vote counting centers in states are not closely-held little fiefdoms to be run by party apparatchiks – or at least they are not supposed to be. Why all the secrecy? Well, that appears to be the 60-thousand-dollar question. Concealing the vote-counting – essentially making it a clandestine affair conducted by a single party – only serves to add mystery and doubt into the equation. Objectivity and impartiality are the keywords when counting votes; without this, the people will not have confidence in the outcome of the final tally or the declared winner.
Ballots Fraught with Fraud
Part two of a free and fair election is determining who gets to vote. The provenance of a ballot matters. Here’s where things begin to unravel in many of these hotly contested states. We’ve known for some time that mail-in ballots are only as good as the voter rolls. Unfortunately, persons receiving 18 ballots, those sent to the dead, and ballots sent to folks who have moved out of state are not anomalies. State election boards were not equipped to handle a mountain of mail-in votes. State legislators or county and city election boards may have had the best of intentions when they decided to send out millions of ballots due to the COVID epidemic, but this was a train wreck that anyone with a lick of common sense could see coming down the tracks.
It could be said that this unholy mess called Election 2020 that we are experiencing today is more expected than surprising. Sirens regarding election fraud have been going off for months now, but no one bothered to listen. Without a minimal amount of transparency to assure all Americans that the ballot box hasn’t been stuffed or that illegal ballots haven’t been counted many times over, faith in our electoral process – and ultimately our Republic – will continue to erode.
The party faithful are going to have to understand that they can’t have it both ways. An election where no light is being shed on a process that is riddled with election fraud will not instill confidence in its outcome. The bottom line here is that this isn’t small stuff folks, and it matters that we get it right.
Read more from Leesa K. Donner.