Election Day is weeks behind us, but questions and doubts about our state and nation’s election integrity linger. Allegations from the highest officials of widespread voter fraud have shaken some people’s trust in the system.
While we agree all legitimate voting irregularities should be investigated, and recounts should proceed where warranted, the election results as compiled so far are fair, honest and accurate.
Unfounded accusations of voter malfeasance hurt our democracy to the core. Even the Trump administration’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency concluded, “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history. While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about our elections, we can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should too.”
Those who subscribe to the allegations of voter misconduct need to take a step back and look at our election – and the people behind it.
With an 80% turnout — the highest in 60 years — Minnesotans can thank friends, neighbors and relatives for again delivering an election and vote totals we can trust. Since early voting began Sept. 18 in Minnesota, thousands of workers took to the task of accepting, verifying, recording and counting 1.9 million absentee and mail-in ballots. Many of these same friends worked the polls where 1.4 million citizens voted in person.
From now until the Electoral College votes in each of the 50 states confirming the results on Dec. 14, vote tallies will be verified and court challenges will be resolved. Elections staffs are complemented by 30,000 poll workers, who hail from our neighborhood precincts, some working as volunteers and others paid by the hour for a day’s work. These are our neighbors, people just like us, who care about our state and who desire a trustworthy election.
The workers’ main goals are simple: Ensure that citizens get fair and open access to voting and provide an accurate accounting of those votes. Voting officials and poll workers are more like accountants than politicians. They follow each step in the process with scrutiny, verifying names on absentee ballots, checking their voter registration, marking ballots as received. Even minor discrepancies are eyed and flagged.
The ballot counting process is transparent. Many states livestreamed the rooms where ballots were being sorted, verified and counted. As vote counts are certified from now until Dec. 10, Americans can take heart in knowing the results are accurate.
It was also obvious from results here in Minnesota and across the country that voters continue to pursue independent and vote-splitting trends. Despite a strong victory here for Joe Biden and Sen. Tina Smith, Republicans not only held their ground in legislative races, they picked up seats in the State House as well as flipped a Congressional seat. The predicted “Blue Wave” did not happen. Yet no one is questioning those results as inaccurate.
Certainly, there can be issues – a worker making an innocent mistake perhaps, or the rare actual intent by someone to defraud. In Minnesota since 2015, a total of 10 cases of illegal voting were upheld, according to the election fraud database of the conservative group The Heritage Foundation. These tiny numbers do not change the course of any election and uphold our belief that our system is reliable. (For comparison, California with its much larger population had 22 since 2015 and Republican stronghold Texas had 26.)
We need to trust the process – and the people who conduct our elections – and when all is done, we should all take comfort that every legal vote has been recorded and any fraudulent ballot has been eliminated. Some will remain disappointed their candidate did indeed lose; others will celebrate victory.
Our friends and neighbors will come through again – and another lawful, accurate and trustworthy election will be in our rearview mirror.
We urge our fellow Minnesotans and Americans to take that trust and assurances into the new year in order to set our democracy back on stable ground. — An editorial from the APG of East Central Minnesota Editorial Board. Reactions are welcome. Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org