Somewhere in this election-weary land, ballots are probably still being discovered and judges somewhere are still taking up lawsuits filed by President Donald Trump’s lawyers alleging election irregularities, sometimes referred to as fraud. If political polls are still to be taken seriously, we are to believe that over two-thirds of Trump supporters believe, as he does, that the election was stolen from him. Whether you do or not depends, I guess, upon how you define “stolen”. How like a banana republic election.
Democrats are, of course, incensed that Mr. Trump declined to concede while pursuing litigation. But the president is not required to concede and has a perfect right to pursue litigation and he probably should because there are constitutional issues that require addressing. However, instead of focusing on allegations of fraud which, even if substantiated by evidence not yet presented, would probably not amount to enough to change the election outcome, the focus should be on those constitutional issues. Also, there are the many sworn affidavits, submitted under penalty of perjury, alleging fraud or violations of law that cannot simply be ignored.
The Constitution assigns to the various state legislatures the responsibility for determining the rules for the conduct of elections and for changes to those rules. It is specifically a legislative function, not a judicial or an executive function. This, obviously, has resulted in different rules and deadlines for different states, but the Constitution is clear that elections shall be conducted in such a manner as the state legislatures may prescribe. Yet, is several states, rules and timelines for the submission, verification and processing of ballots were changed close to election day, not by state legislative action but by judges or state or county officials. Even if the purpose of such changes was to help ensure that every vote was counted or that only every legal vote was counted, or some other noble purpose, such actions still appear contrary to the language in the Constitution and raise questions regarding whether ballots affected by those changes should be counted at all. Mr. Trump’s attorneys have expressed the intent to pursue this issue all the way to the Supreme Court. Perhaps this is why Hillary Clinton advised then-candidate Biden never to concede if he lost.
The entire mess is largely the result of last minute changes in several states to election rules including changes to deadlines and verification procedures. These problems were entirely foreseeable and while it may be too late to affect this election results, it must never happen again because it raises concerns among the public regarding the integrity of our elections. Some state legislatures, then, have work to do to ensure that their state’s election rules and procedures are followed in the future without last minute changes or extensions to timelines and that election results are known not later than the day after election day. If some states can do it, they all should be able to.
Most Americans are weary of the election campaign and the prolonged post-election controversies. Politicians devote far too much time to elections and campaigning and too little time doing what they were elected to do. And the 2020 election really isn’t over yet. The Jan. 5 runoff election for Georgia’s two senate seats will determine which party will control the Senate and whether or not we will have divided government. It’s up to Georgia voters to determine the outcome but their choice will affect the entire nation, so tons of money is flowing into the Peach State along with party heavyweights to campaign for their party’s candidates. State runoff elections don’t usually draw as many voters as regular elections, but this one may set records, given what’s at stake.
The GOP candidates are favored in the polls, but we know how reliable they are. Half of Georgia’s approximately 10, 700,000 people live in metropolitan Atlanta which is full of transplants from northern urban areas who brought their Democrat party loyalties with them. The rest of Georgia is solidly red. The party that wins will be the party that gets out the vote and the urbanites have a lot less territory on which to concentrate their efforts.
GOP strategists are urging President Trump to stage rallies in support of Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. Trump rallies, however, may not go over too well in Atlanta and Trump has been critical of Georgia voters for failing to carry the state for him. Trump may do his party a favor by staying out of the state, leaving the campaigning to the large number of prominent GOP office holders in neighboring states and instead working on what he can accomplish in his last two months in office, helping with a smooth transition, and followed by a graceful exit from the White House.