There’s a debate within the U.S. about whether or not “voter fraud” happened. Did millions of people vote illegally, or is that just another lie? This is the wrong question to ask. It’s taking a big-picture problem and framing one small issue, in order to divide and mislead voters.
It also hides the fact that voters broadly agree on one thing: we want fair elections. The president is calling for a massive investigation of elections but such an investigation will likely exclude:
- voter suppression — denying eligible citizens the right to vote
- gerrymandering — dividing up districts in ways favorable to incumbents, and
- election machines that can be hacked
There’s a lot at stake here. People are pinning their hopes on the 2018 midterm elections, but if we don’t keep a close eye on these three issues, those midterm elections won’t be free or fair. In fact, at the same time as Tromp is stealing center stage on the news, a House committee voted to eliminate the independent election commission because it is “fluff.” (Here’s a link to an article in the Guardian about it.)
So what do we do?
Step one: Pay close attention to language used by the media. If our news sources are talking about “voter fraud,” call them on it. Use a different term, like “election fraud” — one that won’t narrow the issue.
Step two: Get informed and talk to our friends and neighbors. And by the way, if we’re sharing news, let’s look for the most neutral sources possible. A conservative neighbor is no more likely to believe The Nation, for example, than I am to believe Breitbart.
Step three: pick our news sources deliberately rather than waiting to see what new and sensational terror comes through our social media. We should control our viewing of news, not the other way around.
Here are a few quick sources for further reading about ways elections can be compromised:
A Bloomburg Businessweek article on voter suppression, published before the election. These are the words of a senior official in the Tromp campaign:
Instead of expanding the electorate, Bannon and his team are trying to shrink it. “We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” says a senior official. They’re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans.
A New York Times article that discusses the background of partisan gerrymandering:
A panel of three federal judges said on Monday that the Wisconsin Legislature’s 2011 redrawing of State Assembly districts to favor Republicans was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander, the first such ruling in three decades of pitched legal battles over the issue.
Federal courts have struck down gerrymanders on racial grounds, but not on grounds that they unfairly give advantage to a political party — the more common form of gerrymandering. The case could now go directly to the Supreme Court, where its fate may rest with a single justice, Anthony M. Kennedy, who has expressed a willingness to strike down partisan gerrymanders but has yet to accept a rationale for it.
That particular case focused on gerrymandering that unfairly favored Republicans, but the article asks us to rethink whether it’s a good idea to let incumbents of either party should have control of redistricting.
CBS article on whether election machines can be hacked:
Roughly 70 percent of states in the U.S. use some form of electronic voting. Hackers told CBS News that problems with electronic voting machines have been around for years. The machines and the software are old and antiquated. But now with millions heading to the polls in three months, security experts are sounding the alarm, reports CBS News correspondent Mireya Villarreal.
As a counterpoint, the federal Election Assistance Commission says it certifies voting systems:
The Election Assistance Commission told CBS News that it ensures all voting systems are vigorously tested against security standards and that systems certified by the EAC are not connected to the Internet.
But guess what? That’s the exact same Election Assistance Commission the House Republicans committee just voted to eliminate.
No voter, from either side of the aisle, should support that!