Voting distrust likely to continue despite smooth election
Board worker Ann Carlette, left, processes and double-checks mail-in ballots for Bergen County in Hackensack, N.J., Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. Image via AP.

voting
Election officials said it was important to remind the public that there were no widespread problems with the 2020 election.

The first major election day following a year of relentless attacks on voting rights and election officials went off largely without a hitch. Unlike the 2020 presidential election, there were no claims of widespread fraud, ballots emerging mysteriously in the dark of night or compromised voting machines changing results.

The relative calm was a relief to those who oversee elections, but will it matter to those who still believe last year’s election was stolen from former President Donald Trump?

Election experts say even a smooth election cycle this year is unlikely to curb the distrust that has built up over the last year within a segment of the public. That skepticism has led to costly and time-consuming partisan ballot reviews, threats to election officials and new voting restrictions in Republican-controlled states.

“I’m extremely concerned that we’re not at the end of this,” said David Becker, a former U.S. Justice Department lawyer who now heads the Center for Election Innovation and Research. “We’re not at the middle of this. We’re at the beginning of this, and nobody is addressing it particularly well right now, with the exception of the professional election officials who are keeping their heads down and doing their job.”

There has been no evidence of widespread fraud or other wrongdoing with the 2020 election, and those claims have been rejected by judges, election officials and Trump’s own attorney general. Nevertheless, two-thirds of Republicans said Joe Biden was not legitimately elected president, according to an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll conducted two weeks after Biden’s inauguration.

Tuesday’s election featured problems typical of an election day that were quickly resolved: power outages, technical issues with equipment or too few ballots at particular polling places. In New Jersey, confusion over the reporting of election results circulated on social media. The Republican gubernatorial candidate, Jack Ciattarelli, had yet to concede but said after the election that he did not want supporters “falling victim to wild conspiracy theories or online rumors.”

Ahead of Virginia’s high-profile gubernatorial election, Trump had said in a statement that he was “not a believer in the integrity of Virginia’s elections, lots of bad things went on, and are going on.” Yet in his statement congratulating Republican Glenn Youngkin, Trump made no mention of fraud and credited his own supporters with the win.

Matt Masterson, a former top election security official in the Trump administration, noted that little changed between 2020 and this year in how elections are run in the U.S.

“These are the same systems, the same people, the same processes,” Masterson said. “Election officials did their job in 2020, and they did it again in 2021.”

When problems arose, they were caught quickly. The Ohio secretary of state took administrative oversight of the state’s most populous county, home to Columbus, after it failed to properly update its poll books and allowed three people to cast ballots twice, although that did not affect the outcome of any race.

That elections are mostly running well hasn’t stopped Republican officials from making claims about election fraud to justify new voting restrictions even in places where Trump and Republicans won handily in 2020 and where election officials reported no problems.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Trump ally, earlier this week called for a new state office to investigate election crimes. He also seeks new laws adding more restrictions to ballot drop boxes and increasing penalties for those who collect ballots for others.

“I am excited that with this legislation, our state will be able to enforce election violations, combat voter fraud and make sure violators are held accountable,” DeSantis said in a statement.

Mail voting was hugely popular last year amid the pandemic and helped drive high turnout this year in Virginia. And it was Republicans who did well on Tuesday in Virginia, where Democrats had expanded voting access in recent years. That included no longer requiring voters to provide an excuse to cast a mail ballot.

But GOP lawmakers still say rules around mail ballots must be tightened to address public concerns about fraud, even if there is no evidence it exists.

In Ohio, Republicans have introduced two bills seeking to rewrite state election laws. One calls for prohibiting off-site ballot drop boxes, eliminating a day of early voting and tightening the state voter ID requirement. The other goes even further — reducing early voting from 21 days to six, eliminating no-excuse absentee voting and banning drop boxes altogether. Trump won the state handily, but lawmakers behind the second bill cited the potential of fraud to justify their proposal.

State Rep. Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican sponsoring the less stringent bill, believes Biden was legitimately elected but laments that the dispute over the 2020 election results makes it difficult to discuss voting issues rationally.

“This is what happens when you try to do something fair in an environment in which there is no fair,” he said. “The Democrats will be knee-jerk opposed to anything they see as restrictive of voting, and a contingent of Republicans will be opposed to anything they see as an added convenience on voting.”

Election officials said it was important to remind the public that there were no widespread problems with the 2020 election, which was dubbed the “most secure” in U.S. history by a group of federal, state and local election officials.

“This isn’t something that went wrong that we’re fixing,” said Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, a Democrat. “This is something that went really right in 2020. We had the safest elections in America’s history, with record turnout among both Democrats and Republicans. And the lies are about that.”

Falsehoods surrounding the 2020 presidential election also triggered death threats against election officials that continue even a year later.

Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson described what the nation is confronting as a “five-alarm fire” and called on industry and community leaders to help defend democracy.

“Those trying to dismantle democracy have shown us again and again that there may be no bottom to where they will go to lie and deceive voters,” said Benson, a Democrat. “We must take them at their word and believe them, and get to work spending every day countering their lies with truth.”

___

Republished with permission from The Associated Press.

Associated Press


9 comments

  • Ron Ogden

    November 6, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    It amazes me that you in the “conform-or-else” branch of the Democratic Party simple can’t get a handle on why people mistrust you.
    Simple: they watched over four years as you and your leaders in the elite classes made a mockery of political fair play by dragging Donald Trump from one quagmire to another, only to see him survive every attempt. Your frustration at his success saw you go so far as to threaten the man’s life–let alone contort the world’s most powerful beauracracy in an attempt to destroy him. And the media: nobody but the diehard leftists either believe in or care about what the media says. They can read your tendentious weaseling for what it is: “no widespread problems”. You are, therefore, acknowledging that there were SOME problems, the extent of which you dare not report for fear of lending credence to Trump’s claims.
    Democrats: you control the purse strings, you throw money at people to persuade them to vote for you (which is simple vote buying) and yet they still don’t vote for you! Why? Because they know that you are only about protecting your own fief in Washington. Biden gives not a damn about them, and they know it.

    • Alex

      November 6, 2021 at 1:05 pm

      Looks like you forgot that the investigation wasn’t begun or run by democrats.

      They were all career FBI longtime registered Republicans who were doing their jobs investigating a very credible lead.

      But of course Donald Trump the pathological liar and conspiracy theorist invented a bunch of bulshit about them being members of some massive Deep State organization that tried to steal the office in a coup.

      Stealing the office. Does that sound familiar to you now?

      You base your distrust of Democrats on some alt-fact version of reality.

      Congratulations on your foolishness.

      • DBach

        November 7, 2021 at 7:28 am

        “career FBI longtime registered Republicans”?

        Who was this? Where is their report, and why wasn’t the Atlanta election commission investigated for their highly suspicious behavior on election night?

        “Donald Trump the pathological liar and conspiracy theorist”

        Yeah, you are a level headed individual We can all see that…

      • Captain Howdy

        November 8, 2021 at 2:35 pm

        Hey Worm Alex here’s another link to the ‘far right’ (LOL) Substack about the Russian Collusion Hoax. Being the arrogant shit that you, you won’t click on this, but immediately dismiss it as not credible but fuck you anyway. Squirm into your hole.

  • Jim

    November 6, 2021 at 3:57 pm

    The following companies support, fund, Joe Biden, the Democrat party, BLM and other far left organizations. Financial BOYCOTT whenever possible the following socialist enablers. Patriots, pass this along….

    AFLAC
    Amazon
    American Airlines
    American Express
    Amway
    Apple
    AT&T
    Bank of America
    Baskin Robbins
    Best Buy
    Calm
    Carl’s Jr.
    Capital One
    Chase
    Cigna
    Coca-Cola
    Corona Beer
    Dell Technologies
    Delta Airlines
    Discovery channel
    Discovery Plus
    Dunkin Donuts
    ESPN
    Facebook
    Fed-Ex
    Ford Motor Co.
    General Motors
    Google
    Goldman Sachs
    IBM
    Jack in the Box
    Johnson & Johnson
    JetBlue
    Kohls
    Levi Strauss & Co
    Little Caesars
    Lowes Hardware
    MasterCard
    Microsoft
    Modello Beer
    NBA
    Nerd Wallet
    Netflix
    NFL
    Nordstrom
    Nurtec
    Nutella
    MLB
    Pacifico Beer
    Oxygen
    OWN
    PayPal
    PBS
    Peloton
    Rocket Mortgage
    Shutterfly
    Sonic Rest.I
    Subway
    Starbucks
    State Farm Insurance
    Target Stores
    The General Insurance
    TBS
    TNT
    Tripadvisor
    Twitter
    United Airlines
    US Bank
    USA today
    Vanguard
    Varo Bank
    Verizon
    ViacomCBS
    Vivint
    Walgreens
    Wayfair
    Wells Fargo

  • DBach

    November 7, 2021 at 7:29 am

    “career FBI longtime registered Republicans”?

    Who was this? Where is their report, and why wasn’t the Atlanta election commission investigated for their highly suspicious behavior on election night?

    “Donald Trump the pathological liar and conspiracy theorist”

    Yeah, you are a level headed individual We can all see that…

    • Captain Howdy

      November 7, 2021 at 7:33 am

      Alex is a worm who thinks he’s a serpent but he spews slime instead of venom.

      • Evan

        November 7, 2021 at 10:21 am

        Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Comments are closed.


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