Election day was November 2, but if you lived in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and thought you would meet the winners at the end of the week, you would be disappointed. One week after the fact, the county was still trying to figure out which ballots to count and who won. Unsurprisingly, some mail-in balloters were unable to follow simple directions. It is also not surprising that the board of elections was still debating what to count, even in the case of unsigned ballots, which are clearly illegal under Pennsylvania law (eventually, these ballots were rejected).
But Bucks County is not the only place where delays and debates occur. Poll workers don’t follow instructions, machines interference, fake records and voting in the wrong seal are just a few of the many mistakes that occur regularly. Individually, each problem is minor and unlikely to result in change, but the collective weight of errors and the regularity of their occurrence are annoying, to say the least.
Worse still, tracking who is and who is not eligible to vote is far from assured. When a person dies, their county elections department is one of the places they are supposed to get a copy of the death certificate, at which point they are removed from the rolls. How efficient do you think it is working? Not very well in Michigan where up 25,000 people died they are still on the voter rolls.
The same problem exists for address changes, where your “new” county elections department is tasked with informing the county of your previous residence that you have moved, removing your name from the rolls. That process is not going very well either, with more than 7 million voters registered in more than one jurisdiction, and practically unchanged since 2014, so the problem is not improving.
None of this proves fraud or claims Donald trumpDonald Trump Two Fox News Contributors Resigned Over Tucker Carlson’s Jan. 6 Documentary Republican Senator: Decisions On Bills That Went Made Based On Whether They Hurt Or Help Trump Or Biden O’Rourke Will Not Say If He Wants Biden campaign for him in the Texas Senate race MOREThe allegations of a stolen election.
If anything, the fact that Trump and his legal team couldn’t find a single vote to override amid all these voter list problems makes their team so incompetent that they don’t even qualify to serve as “Cornerstone Kops. “
But it does show that the opportunity exists, and where there is opportunity and motive, someone, somewhere, will take advantage.
The problem is not in the high-profile, well-funded careers, where a combination of media and party scrutiny with the resources for election observers and lawyers. No, the problem is in low-profile local elections where the candidates do not have the resources for lawyers and investigators.
What is the reason? Not only do local governments have their own patronage, contracts, public authorities, and finances, they make decisions about land use and permits that are worth millions. Consider a municipality in a “year out” with low turnout, but dozens or even hundreds of non-existent voters on the rolls. Without media coverage, limited partisan interest, and low funding, it would be quite tempting for an unscrupulous developer to “push” the vote in one direction, and who would know? Or do you mind investigating?
We know that the elections have been stolen or have been the subject of fraud: local elections, state elections and national elections; Robert Caro essentially proves that Lyndon Johnson stole his 1948 United States Senate Primary and may have stolen Texas for President Kennedy in 1960. But the dispersion of proven stolen elections probably hides many more. After all, why register? thousands of fraudulent voters, if you do not intend to use them at some point?
Voter fraud has three possible outcomes: 1) You steal enough votes to win, 2) You steal votes, but not enough to win, and 3) You steal votes, but you would have won anyway. In the last two cases, electoral fraud does not change who won. If a candidate wins overwhelmingly, there is little momentum to investigate. The same is true for a candidate who wins despite an attempt to steal the election. Why don’t we hear a lot about voter fraud? Simply because the examples n. 2 and n. 3 are not investigated. Should criminals be released just because they are bad at their chosen profession?
Voter fraud and election security is proving to be a potent issue beyond Republican voters. Lost among all the Trump whining and the media hyperventilating to the acquiescence of Republican voters, independents are listening too. According to YouGov, 39 percent of independents think President BidenJoe BidenBiden will speak on the economy on Tuesday, with the Fed election looming, the NAACP chair calling Rittenhouse’s verdict ‘a warning shot that vigilante justice is allowed’ Optimistic Democrats as the bill from social spending goes to the Senate MORE he was not legitimately elected, even 5 percent of Democrats agree.
When it comes to being a sore loser, Trump has company among Republicans and Democratic voters. Only 26 percent of voters think the right person won each of the last two presidential elections, according to Rassmussen, with 52 percent of Democrats not believing that Trump legitimately won in 2016 (20 percent of independents) and 66 percent percent of Republicans think the same about Biden (25 percent of independents). YouGov estimates that the number of Republicans who believe Trump beat Biden is 76 percent. And many republicans remember Terry McAuliffeTerry McAuliffeOcasio-Cortez on Virginia Governor’s Race: ‘We Were Not Welcome to Pitch’ Republicans Eager to Take On Spanberger in Virginia Was Education Really the Winning Wedge Issue for the Republican Party? School board elections tell a different story MORE refuse to accept the results of the 2000 presidential elections.
Taken together, the GOP’s demands for better election accountability, post-election audits, voter identification, and overall transparency will prove to be powerful issues in the future. There is surprising public agreement on a number of electoral integrity issues.
According to Pew Research, 76 percent of voters support requiring a photo ID to vote (61 percent of Democrats, 93 percent of Republicans), 82 percent want a paper backup for electronic voting, and 78 percent support early voting in person (63 percent Republicans, 91 percent Democrats).
Removing people from voter rolls is less popular (“purging the rolls”), with only 46 percent support. But that’s when the question is about removing people who haven’t voted “recently.” In the past, a voter purge was for those who had not voted in 4-5 years (an automatic purge would remove dead people and double voters). I think it’s quite likely that if the question included a 5-year time period, it would get significant support. Regardless, Republican support for the purge has risen in three years from 53 percent to 68 percent, and even Democratic support has increased from 23 to 27 percent.
Voting shouldn’t be a medieval glove, but it should have the right safeguards. Deciding who should lead our various governments is a critical act with far-reaching consequences. Educating the public and ensuring the integrity of the process should be the priority, not making it as easy as ordering a pizza.
Keith Naughton, Ph.D., is a co-founder of Silent Majority Strategies, a regulatory and public affairs consulting firm. Naughton is a former Pennsylvania political campaign consultant. Follow him on Twitter @ KNaughton711.