When Old-fashioned and Cumbersome is Good
By Evelyn Pyburn
Sometimes modern technological innovations may not be an improvement over old fashioned, labor intensive processes. Such is perhaps true regarding voting.
No matter how this election turns out, it will have totally undermined confidence in the electoral process for all, and that is a massive casualty for the country. And, it isn’t something that happened after Election Day, it began long before when all kinds of safeguards were being eagerly undermined.
Confidence in the process has to be reinstituted and we have to conclude, that no technological advancement can be introduced that won’t carry with it greater potential for fraud.
Former President Barak Obama identified most clearly the best system and how it provides the best possible safeguard. Back when there were concerns about Russia having manipulated our voting process, then- President Obama stated, “…there is no serious person out there who would suggest somehow that you could even rig America’s election, in part because they’re so decentralized.” (October 2016)
And, therein is the solution – we had it all along, and President Obama resoundingly identified it. Keeping it a hands -on process conducted county-by-county. No computers, or digitizing of data or centralization. President Obama recognized, as should anyone, that decentralization, while undoubtedly cumbersome, is inherently the best protection against subverting the whole system. The very unwieldiness of it minimizes the ability to orchestrate any kind of focused massive manipulations.
A computerized, centralized process will always be vulnerable. One doesn’t have to be much of a computer guru to understand that.
While how to conduct elections should still be left to the province of each state –dovetailing with the idea that a decentralized process is best – the one federal limitation should be that it remains under the authority of disparate counties, in a manner in which each ballot can be traced back to a voter – no centralization, no computerization.
Fraud can certainly still happen but not on a massive scale and not without being detectable should someone exercise their prerogative to look. (Speaking of which, it is not only President Trump’s right to challenge suspect elections, it is his obligation. Part of the system’s weakness today, is that others did not challenge when they should have.)
And while we are talking about it, let’s be really, really honest — the only reason for voters not to have to show ID, or for deadlines not to matter, or for mail-in ballots (not absentee) — is to facilitate the potential for fraud – and everyone knows it.
While the old fashioned method to guarantee one- person, one- vote, with its inherent decentralization is the most secure process, it does have a price. It could indeed be more costly and it absolutely requires citizen participation.
The cost in a country that spends money on everything from writing zoo poetry to studying cow burps – the cost cannot be of any serious concern. Whatever the cost, to have elections that can be trusted, is worth that cost.
But the biggest challenge for local hands-on elections is the need for hands… they need the volunteer efforts of local citizens and that has been one of the biggest problems for local election officials – getting the people they need to be election judges, poll monitors, counters, etc. Where are you?
You are the only solution to that problem, and assuring honest elections, no matter how it is done, will never happen without citizen participation and oversight. When compared to what soldiers, since the Revolutionary War, have done to assure our liberty, being a poll-watcher is piffle. Again, where are you?
The other safe guard for sound elections is the aggressive prosecution of anyone who commits voter fraud. Even if they are just one person mailing in their dead relative’s ballot, they should be pursued and prosecuted and their name splashed across the front pages. Every ballot should be considered inviolate, and its violation should be an despicable act against humanity and liberty. And, that is exactly how everyone, who in any way worked to undermine this election, or who condone or accept any election tampering, should be regarded.