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Editorial: Count the votes

This should be a bipartisan issue. 

There should be widespread agreement and cross-party cooperation in making sure that this year, all votes are counted. Not just counted, in fact, but audited and verified. The results of this election should be unequivocal. Who could argue with that?

Well, this is 2020, so everything is arguable.

Currently, President Donald Trump and his supporters are contending (in court and in social media land) that voter fraud absolutely occurred. Former Vice President Joe Biden and his supporters are claiming that there is no evidence that widespread voter fraud took place.

Notice the subtle difference? Notice how both things could be true at the same time? There could be voter fraud that is not widespread but that is still impactful to the results of the election. 

The left says that Trump is trying to delegitimatize the electoral process by throwing out baseless claims. Great, then we should count, audit and verify every vote so that he cannot get away with that. 

The right says Biden and the machinery of the swamp are trying to steal this election through illegitimate means. Great, then we should count, audit and verify every vote so that they cannot get away with that. 

Biden wants to unite the country. Trump wants to drain the swamp. Super, let’s count the votes. Any result that relies on legal maneuvering or political maneuvering will be ineffective unless the results themselves are viewed as legitimate. Ballots are tangible things; they can be investigated. Let’s take the time to do it right, particularly seeing how this year saw a doubling of the number of early and mail-in ballots from 2016.

Many will see that no matter the result, the country will remain divided. Maybe so. Many will claim that any investigation is meant only to overturn the “proper” winner, Joe Biden. That is simply ridiculous and not logical.

The most likely result of any deep audit into the election results is that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in in January. The most likely result is that the investigation will uncover some number of fraudulent ballots, but not enough to change the outcome. But there is some possibility, greater than zero, that an audit will uncover more. Maybe it will uncover fraud, or a computer glitch, or a postal system mistake, or whatever. But in order for this country to move forward, the results must be undeniable. Biden said in his stump speech that he doesn’t want red states or blue states, just United States. The best way to achieve that goal is to count the votes. 

The institutions of this great country have taken a beating over the last decade. An unconventional president, an untrustworthy press and a divisive social media landscape have crashed into one another, leaving many confused and anxious and afraid. Protests have swept the nation, many of which have evolved into riots and looting. 

The best way to begin to trust one another again is to know our numbers and make sure we, the people, have been counted. Our voices and our votes must be known. 

Count the votes. Count the votes. Count the votes.

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