Our faith in the integrity of our elections is at an all-time low. It is not because a political candidate did something, or that a bunch of news media personalities said what they thought of what the candidates said! There are clearly systematic problems in how our elections are being handled. The question we should be asking is not “Did my candidate win or lose?” It should be, “Why are there all these questions about how the election was handled?”
Election fraud, or even the appearance of election fraud, should be a serious concern for every American, regardless of political affiliation. If our election process does not produce elections with integrity, it means either side can tamper with the actual results. This should be a concern for everyone!
Every protected right in our nation carries with it a corresponding duty or responsibility. Our right to representative government carries with it a duty to take voting seriously. If we are to have unquestionable election results, we have to carry out our duties as citizens. Our process for voting has been damaged by people pushing to make voting easier and more convenient.
It may be easier and convenient, but we are no longer comfortable with the results.
Eliminating any responsibility to register in advance, which would allow time to determine legal eligibility of voters, makes no sense. It effectively allows people to go from polling place to polling place and vote. Having no process to remove dead people from voter rolls, so we don't mail them ballots, is hard to believe in today’s world, when Social Security can determine if a person has died and deduct their benefit from their bank account within a couple days of their death.
I understand mail ballots from a convenience standpoint. Every election cycle (here in Colorado), I am saddened when I think about individuals who have a dominant spouse who tells them how to vote; and for the elderly who are afraid to vote the way they would like, as their child “helps” them complete their ballot. And, I especially feel sad for those young people just beginning to understand what voting means— and possibly voting for the first time — only to have a dominant parent tell them how to fill out their ballot because they don’t have the ability to cast that ballot in a private manner.
Why in our society today is it so burdensome, and so inconvenient, to go to a private polling booth and cast our ballots in a verifiable form that is easily countable? Why do we have to have systems that must report results faster and faster? If the expedited outcome is going to be questioned, wouldn’t common sense dictate that we take an appropriate amount of time to tally the results and report them?
We can do better. But in order to do so, many of us are going to need to exercise our duty and responsibility to protect our right to free elections. It is not that challenging. It simply requires designing a well-thought-out process and recognizing that the process may not be the easiest and most convenient. Is that too much of a price to pay for retaining the backbone of freedom in our country? The greatest country in the world should not look like a Third-World mess every time we have an election.
If we do not address this issue, the very core of our democracy will unravel!
Dolan, an attorney, helps farm and ranch families achieve comprehensive estate, succession, and legacy planning objectives. He is the principal of Dolan & Associates P.C. in Brighton and Westminster, Colo. Learn more on his website, estateplansthatwork.com.
The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Farm Progress/Informa.