Some Observations and Thoughts Working on My First Election

Now that I’ve almost entirely recovered from the fatigue, fascination and horror of Election Day I’ve had a chance to reflect a little on what I saw and learned.

First off, it really was a fascinating experience.  Coming into direct contact with four or five thousand people, even if only briefly is stimulating and highly interesting.  Even if you’re for the most part only asking and answering questions you get a flavor for each soul you collide with.

And I would say the negative contacts were only in the range of a tenth of a percent.  I could count them all on the fingers of one hand.  And that’s a remarkably low percentage.  Possibly the majority of the participants were enjoying the experience.  Or maybe they picked up on my energy.  Because despite how exhausted I was by the fifteenth hour of my shift I was still energized by the whole thing.  My feet weren’t energized but my mind was.  It was fun.

However, that all ended when the doors were closed and the tabulation began.  Everything about the process of counting the votes is painful, annoying and subject to the vicissitudes of badly designed and easily malfunctioning equipment.  But at least in the case of the election team I worked with everyone went way above and beyond the call of duty to get the numbers accurately and expeditiously relayed to the Secretary of State’s office.  So, kudos to us.

Now I’ll apply what I learned on Tuesday to what is going on across the country now several days after the election in places like Arizona and Nevada.  The delays they are experiencing are on account of the mail in ballots.  Either they are waiting for a certain number of days for ballots mailed in on Tuesday to reach them (which seems idiotic) or they only started processing them after they finished the count of the normal ballots.

In either case this is either rank stupidity or an excuse to fabricate ballots to offset shortfalls by the candidate that’s supposed to win.  If it weren’t then there would be a requirement that all mail in ballots be mailed in a month before the election.  That way all of them would be received and processed before the election.  The fact that these states are allowing their elections to be dragged out for a week or more is malfeasance that necessarily robs the process of legitimacy in the minds of the voters.  By my way of looking at things this is hastening the break down of national cohesion.  This year, more than half of Americans already believed that the 2020 elections were illegally tampered with.  2022 won’t improve on things.

So, I’m struck by the paradox.  Here we have a population of people who expend time and emotional energy to vote in the hope that it influences how their government works.  And yet more than half of those people think that to some extent the selection of federal representatives is rigged.  How can that be reconciled?

Maybe it can’t be reconciled.  And maybe in the not-too-distant future something is going to change.  What’s the old saying?  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.  Maybe we’re getting tired of acting crazy.

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Ed Brault
Ed Brault
6 months ago

I cannot understand why the allow the incessant delays over mail-in ballots. When I was deployed overseas it was made clear that my absentee ballot had to be post marked by DATE-XX and received by DATE-YY. No ifs, ands, buts, or exceptions. Why aren’t today’s mail-in ballots treated the same way? At some point the individual voter is responsible for ensuring his ballot is mailed in time to arrive at the tabulators by the prescribed time. If it is late, too bad. Just like showing up at the polls five minutes after closing.