The 2022 American elections were Tuesday, right? And now it is Friday, the 11th, and Veterans Day. And we still don’t know which of the old political parties (which wing of the Boot on your Neck (BOYN) Party) will control either house of Congress.
Which is why there are riots, violent protests, swarms of people seeking refuge in other countries, and the dollar is dropping to negative numbers against the Pound, Euro, Yen, and even the Ruble!
Opps, wrong timeline, folks. None of that has happened. Uncle Joe continues to spout nonsense (when he comes out of his basement, that is). And all the talking heads on radio and the internet continue to try and push various theories and ideas – those supportive of the GOP (or part of it) are trying to (a) excuse the poor performance and (b) explain how it really was a victory, even if not the Red Wave they were all proclaiming before hand.
Why should it take most of a week to have many elections settled? Backward, poor, rural, “red” States with oppressed elements of society – like South Dakota or Wyoming – seem to have had no problem getting election results out and confirmed very quickly. Yet the high tech and modern states, red, blue or purple, seem to be having problems. We have two or three senators undecided: Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona. We have perhaps two dozen house seats unresolved: Colorado is one we’re aware of. While the GOP claims they will retire Nancy as Speaker, that is not a given: 211 GOP and 199 Dems and 25 up in the air.
First off, the election system is broken and untrustworthy – at least in the eyes of many people. The stupidity of the Pandemic Panic and what was done in 2020 is still with us. The mistrust of electronic information management systems has grown greatly in that time, as have such innovations as “voting month” instead of “election day” and drop-off points (fine for trash and recyclables, but for ballots?) have damaged the entire process.
Tied to that is the incredible ineptness of the election officials, from the local precinct right up to the States’ Secretaries of State and election commissions. Part of this, too, can be blamed on the residuals of the Pandemic Panic. Part is because those able to win the elections for an office seem more and more likely to be incapable of carrying out those duties. And to political hiring and poor education and training of staff.
Next is the rapidly-deteriorating leadership of the political parties and their caucuses in the legislatures: from city and county commissions and councils to State bodies to Congress. Ineptness hardly describes the results of this deterioration. They seem to believe their own rhetoric, their own lies. And they may be more obvious about their crazy behavior: on all sides. They scare people – and with good reason.
And then we come to the public. Not just the electorate, and not just those parts of the electorate that actually voted this time. For one thing, more and more people have gotten so disgusted that they have in essence dropped out. That and fear of everything from COVID-19 (and whatever follows it) to nuclear war with Russia (and China and and) to exploding inflation and their next door neighbors of a different political persuasion. The electorate – both voters and non-voters – are susceptible to being sold not just A bill of goods, but dozens.
All of these problems – causes – are theoretically solvable. And practically impossible to solve.
But they don’t need to be solved. Why? Because reducing the power, wealth, size, and importance of government – mandatory human government – makes these problems far less important. We can live with stupid politicians, and with stupid voters. We can (and have, for centuries) live with a broken election system, and with people panicking over pandemics and Russian invasions of Ukraine or where ever. But only if we don’t have massive, all-powerful, unlimited deep pocket governments lording it over us.
A simple solution – but, as we all know, incredibly difficult to implement. Until you compare it to the problems in getting rid of stupid politicians, stupid voters, and all the rest.
It doesn’t seem like a mystery to me that, say, Laramie County, Wyoming (population 100,000, routinely 70% Republican) would have an easier time reporting election results than, say, Clark County, Nevada (population 2.3 million, fairly closely split between Republican and Democrat).
For one thing, since everyone knows the Republican is going to win in Wyoming, there’s nobody watching to see whether he won with 69.9999% or 70.0001% and ready to go to court to challenge that 1/500th of 1% difference. We don’t know how accurate the vote count is, but the differentials are big enough for almost everyone to trust the actual outcome and nobody to feel like it’s worth a big challenge over.
In Wyoming, the outcome can be accurately “projected” one minute after the polls close, and the details don’t matter. In Nevada, it’s always a nail-biter and both sides are watching like hawks for any opportunity to challenge anything if they think challenging that thing will add a few votes to their column.
Also, while I can’t find data on the matter, there’s almost certainly a positive differential in number of election workers per X number of voters for the rural areas. There’s a floor to how many such people you HAVE to have to run an election at all, and it’s not obvious that the increased number of people per precinct scales equally in more dense electorates. So you may have e.g. five people feeding ballots into five scanners in Laramie County, and ten people feeding ballots into ten scanners in Clark County — twice the workers for 23 times the population.
Tom, I’m sure you are right on density of workers, and you make good points regarding large and small (by population) counties. But does that account for the apparent fact that major States (both red and blue) like New York, Florida, California, Texas, and Ohio with the same challenges as Clark County didn’t seem to have such problems? What other factors differentiate?
Election f**kery, nothing more.