By Urban Media News Staff
In an election season marked by outrageous, never heard before attacks not just between the candidates – but on communities of color, women and the disabled – recent assaults on the very integrity of elections and vote counting is perhaps the most dangerous to the future of our democracy.
Claims of a rigged election and a global conspiracy are of course, nonsense. The seemingly unhinged ranting and raving of the candidate widely viewed to be losing. But make no mistake, there is a very intentional strategy afoot here: to persuade you, the voter, that your vote will not count. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The next time you hear an assault on our elections, ask yourself, why? The answer is simple, someone wants you to stay home and waive your right to be heard. Don’t let anyone convince you that your vote doesn’t matter, or does not count.
Recently, Chris Ashby, a Republican election attorney, spelled out in great detail why claims of a rigged election are absurd on their face. The following are Mr. Ashby’s words from an online essay explaining the multi-faceted checks and balances which protect the integrity of your vote.
“To begin, American elections are held in public places — in open rooms such as cafeterias, gymnasiums, community centers and other event spaces — and in plain view of all assembled. There are no back rooms, secret doors or hidden hallways. Ballots, voting machines and other election materials and equipment come into the polling place under locks and seals, remain in the room throughout the day, and are not removed until the election is over, when they are again locked and sealed against tampering.
“Second, private citizens — not government bureaucrats — serve as the “clerks,” “inspectors,” “officers” or other election officials who run our polling places and conduct the voting. They check voters in, confirm their IDs in states where IDs are required, and keep detailed records about the election.
“Importantly, most state laws permit local political parties to appoint or nominate these officials, and require a roughly even partisan balance between them.
“Next, our elections are conducted on equipment that has been tested, in a public proceeding, that is observed by party and candidate representatives. Following testing, voting equipment is locked and tamper-sealed, and then keys to the voting equipment are locked and sealed separately.
“On top of that, voting machines are equipped with multiple interconnected counters that make it impossible to add or remove votes secretly. The counter counts are recorded each time the machine doors are opened, and candidate and party representatives get to observe and crosscheck those counters — at testing, before polls open and after they close.
“When voting is complete, election officials count votes and tally results. Candidate and party representatives observe this process, too. Following the election, there is a public canvass at which the election night results are redetermined, to make sure that we got it right.
“This canvass is a public proceeding that is conducted by the same ordinary citizens who ran the election, drawn again from the lists of appointments or nominations provided by local political party officials. And just as on Election Day, these representatives can observe the work of the canvass officials and object to errors and improper procedures.
“Throughout this entire process, the election officials keep detailed records — who voted, when (early, absentee or Election Day), where (by mail or in person), and how (on paper, by optical scan ballot, or on a touchscreen), and how many people voted overall. After the election, these records are open to public inspection. Anyone who knows what they’re doing can reconstruct the entire election and reveal any errors and irregularities that — despite all of these safeguards, checks and double-checks — slipped through the process.
“So the election is not rigged. In fact, it’s anti-rigged. To rig an election, you would need (1) technological capabilities that exist only in Mission Impossible movies, plus (2) the cooperation of the Republicans and Democrats who are serving as the polling place’s election officials, plus (3) the blind eyes of the partisan pollwatchers who are standing over their shoulders, plus (4) the cooperation of another set of Republicans and Democrats — the officials at the post-elections canvass, plus (5) the blind eyes of the canvass watchers, too. Then you’d still have to jedi-mind trick lawyers, political operatives and state election administrators, all of whom scrub precinct-level returns for aberrant election results, and scrutinize any polling place result that is not in line with what they would have expected, based on current political dynamics and historical election results.”
Do not let anyone tell you that your vote won’t count or that our elections are rigged. Do your civic duty and vote.