We can trust our elections and their results
Posted By Sparta Live | November 19, 2018 12:16 pm
The Right Stuff – By Donald Holman
I am (and I hope we all are) concerned over the words and actions of candidates involved in the recent elections. My concern stems from statements made by candidates and observers concerning the elections both before and after. One of the differences in America and many other countries is that we all agree to accept the results of our elections. I have often said after a close election like the last one, where I had both victories and defeats, that the good thing about our system of government is that we all agree to accept the results, and, once the election is over, we have all agreed to accept the results and get on to the business of governing. I would cite none other than Hillary Clinton’s statement before the last presidential election.
“We know the difference between leadership and dictatorship, and the peaceful transition of power is one of the things that sets us apart,” Clinton told a rally in Cleveland, Ohio, one of the key swing states up for grabs on Nov 8. “Donald Trump refused to say that he’d respect the results of this election. By doing that, he’s threatening our democracy.”
She said in other places:
“That’s horrifying,” Clinton replied. “Let’s be clear about what he is saying and what that means. He is denigrating — he is talking down our democracy. And I am appalled that someone who is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that position. It’s funny, but it’s also really troubling,” she added. “That is not the way our democracy works.”
And then I look at her most recent statement concerning the elections in Georgia, Clinton groused, “If she had a fair election, [Abrams] already would have won.”
And we have on Wednesday, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) went so far as to say, “If Stacey Abrams doesn’t win in Georgia, they stole it.”
There was perhaps some cause for concern because the secretary of state, Mr. Kemp, was also running for the job. There were some voting place consolidations that many were saying was an attempt to suppress the vote. But Secretary of State Kemp is actually on the record opposing their consolidation in part because they might create longer lines and other likely unforeseen delays for voters. The failed gubernatorial candidate’s supporters also claim, without evidence, that Kemp is personally responsible for election day mishaps, including a shortage of extension cords for voting machines at a polling station in Gwinnett County. (The extension cords were eventually found. Perhaps Kemp snuck into the building and put them back.)
But the overarching theme that is coming from Democrats this election season is any race they lost that was close – was stolen. I refuse to believe this because I spent close to a decade on the board of elections in White county.
We have an excellent system that tracks every ballot that goes out to the precincts and all that come back. The voting tally is checked throughout the day in a very simple process. You all may recall signing in when you first enter the polling place. We check every now and then, between the number signed in at the front, and the numbers recorded on each voting machine. If we were to have a difference, we would know it immediately, as would most of the folks working the election.
When I hear of people finding thousands of votes “left” the next day in the school I have to ask, “Were they checking things in and out in an organized fashion?” I can tell you that in White County, Tennessee, we would fly into an absolute PANIC if we had thousands of votes lost. And we would know it immediately! Furthermore, we have an excellent group of folks on our election board.
In the years I served, I served in both the minority and the majority. And I believe that every member of the board was very honest and would never have “stolen” a vote, even if it meant their candidate lost the election. I believe it was Mr. Simpson when he was the chair that said (roughly I am paraphrasing) even though we were appointed as partisans it was our job to ensure the INTEGRITY of the election, and, in that duty, we should be bi-partisan. In other words, it was our job to make sure the election was fair, not that the outcome might be the one we desired. And I believe that we all felt the honesty and integrity of the election was more important than the winner. Because when we undermine the fairness of the counting, we undermine the whole system! And I never would have believed any of the members I served with would have changed even one vote. Democrat, Republican or not. They were and are wonderful and upright and honest people!
So, when I hear of these things happening where votes are “found” somewhere I always wonder who was supposed to be checking things in and out, who was counting and comparing, who was watching and organizing?
There are lots of programs and procedures that make what happened in Georgia impossible in White County, Tennessee. If we can follow those, why can’t the people of Georgia? Something was not right long before the first vote was cast. So, we must all stop and realize that our country has been voting now for over 200 years. Every facet of the voting procedure has been analyzed and made foolproof. When there are reports of vote tampering, somebody is not doing their job. Whoever is running the election is not running it properly. If they were, there would be no possibility of thousands of votes “appearing” from somewhere! We can trust the results of our elections because the folks that run them are our friends and neighbors. And the systems will work as long as we elect and select honest people to run them!