Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Where Have All the Problems Gone?

It's another election day in Wisconsin--and you know what that means.  Get ready to be inundated with stories of fraud at the polling places, disenfranchisement of the populace and deligitimization of the process.

It's time for another round of stories about the little old lady in a nursing home who doesn't have a birth certificate because the county courthouse burned down in 1919 and all of the records were lost and therefore can't get a photo ID.  That will be countered by accusations that large numbers of illegal aliens were allowed to vote.  And then there will be the accusations that poll observers attempted to intimidate minorities as they registered to vote.

Tonight we will hear rumors of polling places that denied ballots to people that were in line at closing time--and polling places that continued to allow people to come in to vote after closing time.  There will be people who used electronic voting machines that swear their vote changed right after they hit "confirm".  And someone will say that they saw machines with pre-programmed vote totals already on the screen.  Rumors will also surface of "bags of ballots" going uncounted.  And let's not forget the "studies" on how easy it would be to hack into voting machines that aren't even hooked up to the internet.

Today's elections will be followed by accusations of systematic fraud.  Losers will blame "gerrymandering" for concentrating their opponent's support.  Shadowy "outside influences" will be credited with meddling in the elections.  And who knows, someone finishing a distant third or fourth in a race will demand a recount to "restore faith in the process".  Losers will refuse to accept the validity of the results.  Those opposed to the winners will deny their "legitimacy" throughout their ensuing terms.  And we in the media will immediately turn our attention to who is "leading the field" in candidates for the next election.

Oh wait, I forgot this is a NON-PARTISAN election--where somehow everyone who wants to vote is able to get a photo ID.  Where illegal aliens apparently stay home and don't try to vote.  Where minorities don't feel intimidated at the polls.  Where election machines don't have any problems that affect results.  Where nobody questions the voting process or the counting process.  Where district lines aren't unfair to one candidate or the other.  Where results are considered legitimate.  And where recounts are conducted only if someone loses by a couple of votes.  (We have had the "uncounted bags of ballots"--most famously in Waukesha County--which completely flipped the winner of a State Supreme Court race--and here in Winnebago County where a seat on the Oshkosh School Board was changed overnight).

Isn't it amazing that when political parties, their operatives and big-money third-party groups aren't involved in an election, the system seems to work just about perfectly?  We all might want to keep that in mind when the partisans return in the 2018 election cycle.

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