Reformists clash on types of solutions but agree something needs to be done to ensure election integrity
BY SETH MCLAUGHLIN – Jan 25, 2021 – for THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Matt Luceen didn’t vote for President Trump in November, but he came to Washington last week to protest President Biden’s inauguration, saying the election was flawed.
Mr. Luceen, a supporter of Sen. Bernard Sanders, said he toted signs that read “Count our votes by hand” and “End the charade.”
“We don’t ever really put the paper into piles and count them by hand anymore,” the 34-year-old computer programmer said. “We just trust the machines, and we shouldn’t because we have documented proof that these machines are vulnerable.”
Mr. Trump and his supporters have been explosively vocal about their distrust of the election system, but discontent runs through a swath of voters across the political spectrum.
In 2016, Democrats were complaining that the election was tainted by Russian interference. Two years later, the party complained that Stacey Abrams was denied the Georgia governorship because of shenanigans with voting rolls.
My cmnt: The democrats created the whole Russian interference scheme to blame fraud (which never happened and was thoroughly investigated by the Mueller team) for President Trump’s stunning victory over the sick, decrepit old liar Hillary and to distract the nation from her traitorous illegal and compromised private email server scandal.
Ms. Abrams never conceded, and Democrats, who took control of the House in 2018, made her cause a rallying cry to repair the election system.
Last year, it was Mr. Trump arguing early and often that mail-in voting was fraudulent, suggesting that votes were being manufactured for his opponent, and claiming that some vote counting systems were siphoning his votes to build totals for Mr. Biden.
Democrats had their own complaints. Mr. Luceen said he thinks the party’s nomination was stolen from Mr. Sanders last year and in 2016.
My cmnt: Which it was, ironically, by fellow traveller and democrat Hillary Clinton. Republicans do NOT practice voter fraud and all of it is always by democrats to Republicans and not uncommonly to fellow democrats the party wants installed vs the person the people actually want to represent them (i.e., commie Bernie Sanders).
“I don’t think Trump is being honest, but I do think his voters may have been disenfranchised, but there is no way to prove it because we are not counting the paper,” he said. “We trust whatever is coming out of the machines.”
The Democratic candidate for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District is challenging her loss and has asked the House to overturn the result, unseat the Republican winner and install her instead.
In New York, the 22nd Congressional District doesn’t have a winner 2½ months after Election Day. The Republican holds a lead, but a state judge has ordered more study of ballots that were counted and rejected.
Polling suggests that many in both parties are skeptical of how votes are tallied, though the depths of distrust often turn on whether their candidates have emerged victorious.
Heading into the 2016 election, 84% of Democrats had confidence in the system. After Mr. Trump won the presidential race, the share of Democrats who trusted the results fell to 65%, according to Morning Consult.
Just 56% of Republicans had confidence heading into Election Day, but that number jumped to 73% after Mr. Trump’s win.
Two weeks after the 2020 vote, only 44% of Americans told Monmouth University Polling Institute that they were “very confident” the election was fair and accurate. Among Republicans, the number was 22%.
“There is mistrust in elections, but Democrats and Republicans have different worries,” said Darrell West, vice president of governance studies at the Brookings Institution.
“Democrats think voter suppression is the real problem while Republicans fear that mail ballots encourage fraud,” Mr. West said. “Since there is more evidence that voter suppression is a problem, Democrats will beef up voting rights enforcement and encourage states to keep early voting and mail ballot options.
“The one thing both parties agree on is election security and keeping foreign agents from disrupting electoral infrastructure,” he said.
Beyond that is a chasm between Democrats and Republicans.
Democrats say there are too many restrictions on voting. They want easier registration, longer voting periods and voting rights extended to felons and, in some cases, those younger than 18.
For Republicans, voter integrity is the priority. They point to accounts of noncitizens casting ballots and to counties and districts where more voters are registered than census estimates say are possible.
Republicans say the answers lie in cleaner voting rolls and stricter ID checks. Democrats say those tactics amount to voter suppression and are designed to discourage minorities and poor people from voting.
After the 2018 Georgia election, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, put election reforms at the top of her list of legislative priorities.
My cmnt: Of course Pelosi doesn’t want voting reforms (i.e., removal of dead persons from the voter rolls, voter picture ID (such as when democrats buy cigarettes and alcohol), removal of illegal aliens from the voter rolls, etc.) what she wants is ‘election’ reforms which mean, to her, ineligible people being allowed to vote (i.e., non-residents, non-citizens, unregistered voters, people voting multiple times, children (as low as 12 years old), felons, dead people, ballot harvesting nursing homes and the inner city projects, et al.).
The effort didn’t go anywhere under split control of Congress. Now that Democrats control both chambers, she is more optimistic.
“It is a priority for us,” she told reporters last week. “This is really central to the integrity of our government.”
The Democratic-controlled Senate announced that Mrs. Pelosi’s bill is a top priority.
Though he has departed Washington, Mr. Trump also plans to focus on elections. He said he will push to tighten rules on submitting ballots that were eased during the pandemic.
“You’re going to see him emerge as the nation’s leader on ballot voting integrity,” Trump adviser Jason Miller said Thursday on “Just the News.”.
He said Congress won’t address meaningful changes while Democrats are in charge, so Mr. Trump will focus on states with Republican legislatures.
“We’re going to start ramping up here, not immediately. … We’ll give them a little bit of a transition period, but this is critical,” Mr. Miller said.
It remains to be seen what Mr. Biden plans to do.
A spokesperson did not respond to an email seeking comment.
At the heart of the debate over elections is a philosophical divide. One side is arguing for the sanctity of Election Day, with rare mail-in balloting and other exceptions. The other side wants a more expansive voting season, with ballots available through the mail and eligible to be counted days after Election Day.
My cmnt: Just think about the previous paragraph. Republicans want actual, legitimate voters to choose our representatives. Democrats just want to win by hook or by crook, it does not matter.
The pandemic tipped the scales toward lax rules.
Logan Churchwell of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, which pushes for voter integrity measures, said Mr. Biden could restore trust in the voting system by rolling back the pandemic changes.
“The American experiment has worked this long because we traditionally saw where the chips fell on election night. The further we stray from Election Day and make the act of voting a private affair away from our fellow citizens, distrust will spiral,” Mr. Churchwell said.