Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Tom McClintock Representing the 4th District of California
The Foundation of Democracy is the Integrity of the Vote
November 17, 2020
The NATURE of democracy is that in every election there is always a winner and a loser. The SUCCESS of democracy depends on the loser believing the vote was fair and accepting the result. The VOTE is not the foundation of our democracy – the INTEGRITY of the vote is its foundation.
That is just as important for the winner as it is for the loser. The winners depend on the integrity of the vote for their legitimacy. The losers depend on it for their acceptance.
That is precisely the issue in the aftermath of this election. The widespread allegations of illegal votes and illegal processes must be resolved before the election can confer legitimacy. Among these questions are the acceptance of ballots received after election day, votes cast by ineligible voters, back-dated ballots, illegally duplicated ballots, voting systems that mis-allocated votes, and the counting of votes outside any meaningful observation.
There is either evidence to support these allegations or there is not. Fortunately, we are blessed with a well-established system of administrative and judicial review to answer these questions.
Georgia, for example, is now undertaking an audit and hand-count. The audit should resolve some concerns over illegal votes and the hand-count should resolve concerns over illegal processes. Meanwhile, judges across the country are hearing complaints and weighing the evidence to support similar concerns.
So, I rise today to ask that we all calm down, stop the hyperbolic rhetoric and allow this process to unfold as it should. Our system is more than capable of working through these issues and providing answers that can satisfy both sides.
We also need to ask ourselves why so many Americans currently believe the election was riddled with fraud. It is because so many safeguards built into our system have been removed.
We call it “Election DAY,” for a reason. Until recently, we all waited until the campaigns were over and every candidate had their say.
Then, on a single day – Election Day – we personally went to our local polling place in what George Will calls “the communion of democracy.” We all took the time because we knew it was important. We brought our children to watch the process and we taught them to respect it.
The polling place was often in a neighbor’s garage or the local elementary school. Each of us looked our neighbors on the precinct board in the eye as we identified ourselves and signed the roll. They then handed us our ballot. We immediately took that ballot into a curtained booth where no one could look over our shoulder or plead or threaten or cajole us to vote a certain way. We cast our vote in absolute privacy, according to our own conscience, and then handed that ballot back to our neighbor who immediately placed it into a locked ballot box in the presence of observers from all parties.
It was very hard to commit fraud in such a system, because every ballot had a clear and simple chain of custody. At eight pm, the total number of votes was known, and the count began under the watchful eye of observers. And we usually knew the results of most elections by 10:00 that night – midnight in a tight race.
Consider how we have perverted that simple and secure process that we once prided ourselves upon. Today, ballots are mailed out to voter rolls that contain untold numbers of people who have moved or died. There is no chain of custody from the time the ballot is mailed until the time it is returned. In many states, ballot harvesters can knock on doors and collect these surplus ballots.
Even legitimate ballots can be cast weeks before the debate has concluded and under the duress of family, friends or precinct workers.
This corrupted process cannot continue. Even if it doesn’t rob our elections of their ACTUAL legitimacy, it certainly robs them of their PERCEIVED legitimacy, destroying the trust that the loser of any election must have to accept and respect the will of the electorate.
The old process assured the presumption of fairness. The new process offers none. Acceptance of an election cannot be obtained by brow-beating – it can only be earned by a full and open review of the integrity of the election, establishing for all Americans that their vote was fairly and accurately recorded and that the result speaks as the will of the nation.
I eagerly await that day.