In a True Democracy, Voting is Always Messy.
Perhaps the greatest feature of democratic forms of government is that the People get to select their leaders. So, like all of you, we watched the November elections unfold with great interest. We recognize that a feature of the people getting to elect their leaders is that it can result in a messy, often confusing process. A national election is actually 50 state elections that are decided by the results of 3,141 individual county elections across the width and breadth of this enormous country. A country with more than 328 million people living in it, not all of which are eligible to cast a ballot because they are below legal age, or are felons, non-citizen, or because they simply haven’t registered to vote. Getting the ballots of over 150 million eligible voters counted reliably in a few days is a daunting task. There are bound to be problems doing that. Problems compounded by human and computer error and even criminal attempts to cast illegal ballots or manipulate the results.
This election seems to have all of that going on. As of this writing, Georgia and North Carolina are still undecided and tabulating ballots, trying to get their results in. Results in Pennsylvania are being called into question amid allegations of fraud in Philadelphia. If the race was not so close, this would not really be an issue, but in this close race, it obviously is an issue and a very serious one. That said, a messy, contentious election is a feature of our Republic, not a bug. We’d be more concerned about a flawless election where nothing went wrong.
A Brief Rundown of the Election Controversies, So Far.
Some of the confusion in this election has been caused by network news coverage. Once upon a time, the networks covered the actual results as they were reported by the states. Now they have armies of pollsters and modelers trying to “predict” the results of elections before they are complete. In many cases, the networks rejected the actual vote tallies they received in favor of a contrary prediction favored by models and pollsters. That seems wrong to us. It is the job of the media to report the facts and figures, not postulate.
Once again, the polls were dead wrong, so wrong they don’t even deserve to be called polls. After the 2016 polling disaster that projected Hillary Clinton would win by double digits, the media and their polling partners claimed to have learned their lesson and fixed their methods. Then went into 2020 predicting confidently that former Vice President Biden would win, again by double digits. It’s another spectacular failure by the people who said they learned from their previous spectacular failure. Being so wrong so often makes us wonder why the networks and campaigns continue to pay pollsters huge sums for such failures? Why don’t they just throw darts at a dartboard or flip a coin and save themselves the money and us the frustration and aggravation every four years?
It could be because campaigns use polls to raise money on the one hand and dishearten the opposition on the other. A favorable Rassmussen Poll commissioned by a campaign can help raise tens of millions of dollars. “Look! We are winning!” If the networks pick up and report on that poll it can serve to dishearten voters on the other side, “Candidate X has a 10-point lead against Y in the coming election.” There is a subtle psychological trick in this “Push Polling” done by campaigns: People are naturally more inclined to back a winner if they can. And behind polling, there is a claim of scientific certainty. We are told that polls are done “scientifically” with huge computers processing and predicting results using the most impossibly complex algorithms ever devised by humankind. So who in their right mind wants to be against “the science” and support the guy who is behind?
We think the networks and pollsters should get out of the business of trying to predict elections for us and return to reporting the election results to us.
In Michigan, poll watchers were allegedly ejected from polling locations, ballot postmarks were backdated, unknown vehicles were transferring ballots, and in one county the hand tabulation of ballots was way off from the computer tabulation which converted 33 percent of the Trump ballots as Biden votes. This was explained first as a glitch and then blamed on human error.
In Pennsylvania, the claims center mostly around Philadelphia. Accusations include observers being denied access to the counting rooms in defiance to the orders of a federal judge, city elections officials privately coordinating with the Biden campaign feeding them vote counts and spreads, 12,000 deceased people listed as active voters, Biden getting over 57 percent of Absentee ballots voted for him when the expert pollsters predicted his lead would be in the single digits. The Supreme Court has ordered Philadelphia to separate certain ballots pending further investigation.
There are also extraordinary claims being made that a CIA operation by using a supercomputer called “Hammer” that ran a software called “Scorecard,” threw the election to Biden by changing about three percent of the vote. Our natural skepticism of extraordinary claims like this not backed by equally extraordinary evidence is peaked when no one has presented any proof of the existence of either the computer or the software or any explanation as to why the software only favored Biden. We would think that in such a plot the Deep State would go for the whole enchilada and give Congress and state legislatures over to Democrats as well. It isn’t really enough to just get VP Biden into the White House: the Democrats need majorities in Congress and in state legislatures to really get anything useful done. Unless the Deep State CIA plot was for a divided government?
Then there is the CIA/Military “Sting operation” to catch the Democrats trying to rig the election by use of blockchain-encrypted ballots with an isotope watermark. Thus any ballot without the secret watermark (which would be all of them) is fraudulent. Forget for a moment that the CIA is prohibited by law from conducting operations inside the U.S. Forget that blockchain is a system for securing electronic communications from being changed and not something you print invisibly on a paper page. Forget that no one making these claims has presented one of these invisibly watermarked ballots for anyone to see. It seems a rather obvious contradiction to us that people so concerned about election fraud would be cheering on the CIA secretly printing all the ballots in the election. Who printed the millions of false ballots? Who slipped them in among the watermarked ballots in 3,141 counties in all 50 states. If’s it’s okay to make these claims, then it is okay to ask and expect convincing answers to these questions.
We would not argue here that what you see above means the election was stolen: the claims are largely unsubstantiated until they are investigated. We are pleased to see States and now the DOJ get involved in looking into these allegations. But we would argue that the allegations of wrongdoing cannot be dismissed outright as kook conspiracy theory. President Trump has been dogged with accusations that he is illegitimate for the last four years. We think the people who made those claims should be the ones most determined to make sure that if Biden is president his election is seen as legitimate. They should be calling for all allegations of impropriety to be taken seriously and either be confirmed or convincingly refuted. Conversely, supporters of President Trump should want the same thing: to rebut the illegitimacy claims that have dogged him.
But this is not the case.
See, we are of the view that while we empower governments at the local level to organize elections, the elections still belong to the American People. The government is accountable to Us for how the elections are run, the results tabulated, and the controversies resolved. The government, social media giants, or the network media have no right at all to dismiss claims by either side of fraud or theft. Claims need to be investigated and confirmed or refuted, convincingly. It is not enough to just say that a tabulating computer had a “glitch;” show us how it happened if you want us to believe it was just a glitch.
It isn’t enough to acknowledge that an error was made in removing or barring election observers. It’s illegal. Charge and convict those who did it, or it will happen again.
In our Republic, the People need to have confidence that our elections are Free and Fair. This underpins all our democratic institutions. Because if the public loses faith in the election process that selects our leaders, if both sides believe that leaders are imposed on us rather than elected, then it would not be surprising to see the public bypass elections altogether and simple seat our leaders using force, as it occurs in countries the world over.
If there is unity still possible in this country, it should be found in all Americans wanting elections to be fairly won no matter who wins. Otherwise, our leaders are not elected but picked for us by parties, the media, the rich and connected — from anyone but us, the People.
That is what we think. We invite our members’ comments and thoughts below.
Lead Image: Reuters