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?