If you have ever been and/or were a poll worker in the 2020 Election, soon-to-be-ousted President Donald J. Trump’s “Unconstitutional Two-Track System” complaint amounts to a whole lot of letters that make no logical sense. But as he forewarned U.S. voters, his camp went well out of their way to make it as hard as humanely possible for (black) people to vote and are fighting back so he doesn’t have to leave the White House.
The problem is his election fights are so painfully inaccurate and bizarre that they should not be defended by any U.S. voter— never mind poll workers, ballot counters and Election Judges. In one of their most recent lawsuits (summarized and/or quoted in italics) — that hasn’t been thrown out yet — there are a number of problems. (The bold areas, in my own words, are why.)
“In a rush to count mail ballots and ensure Democrat Joe Biden is elected, Pennsylvania has created an illegal two-tiered voting system for the 2020 General Election, devaluing in-person votes.”
Voting by mail during a world-wide virus outbreak that has killed 1.2 million people and infected 50 million since March is not “devaluing in-person votes.” It’s also legal to vote by mail in most states — and was in 2016, too, when Trump won by electoral college, not the popular vote. There are only five states that require an “excuse” (Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas) to vote by mail — as if COVID-19 is not sufficient enough.
Due to push-back from the Trump team, Pennsylvania (along with Michigan and Wisconsin) were not allowed to begin processing absentee ballots until or just before Election Day. Had they been able to count the ballots as they came in, such as states like Illinois can, the president would’ve been able to see that these voting numbers didn’t mysteriously appear. They were just finally counted. Twenty-eight states count ballots that arrive before or on November 3, Election Day. The remaining 22 states, plus the District of Columbia, count all ballots that are postmarked on or before Election Day, including late arrivals. Those deadlines vary by state.
“For voters that appeared at the polls, those citizens were required to sign voter registrations, have those signatures checked against voter rolls, vote in a polling place monitored by statutorily authorized poll observers, and have their votes counted in a transparent and verifiable open and observed manner.”
This is not a major feat nor is voting supposed to be as tedious as getting the Real ID at your local Department of Motor Vehicles. As long as you have your voter registration card, you should pretty much be good to go. While you do indeed fill out a membership application with the first Election Judge to be taken to a second Election Judge that confirms your name and address against the e-poll book, the goal is just to make sure you have not voted twice and can vote in that polling station (or to direct you to the correct one).
Poll watchers usually come and go as they need to, and do not breathe over Election Judges all day long. They are not the bosses of Election Judges. These are representatives of a candidate, political party or civic organization to watch the election process. However, they must provide a credential (special paperwork) to the judges to see anything. While they may ask how many voters have voted between the time they leave and return, and can watch machine breakdown, they are not authorized to touch equipment or ballots without an Election Judge’s permission. Even if a voter were to ask for assistance, a Republican Election Judge and a Democrat Election Judge must both be present for any questions — and that’s whether the poll watcher is visibly there or not. Poll watchers can, however, inspect the poll book and numbered list of voters for any concerns — only when voters are not present to avoid holding up the line — but they are not permitted to mark or alter any document in any way, shape or form.
“Rather than require votes to be received on the day of election, the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Kathy Boockvar, permitted ballots received up to three days after the election to be counted without any evidence of timely mailing, such as a postmark. Finally, contrary to the in-person voting that is open and transparent to the parties and the candidates, Defendants permitted the review and counting of mail-in ballots largely in secret with no monitoring.”
While each state has its own rules regarding signatures, multiple envelopes and regulations to request mail-in ballots (as mentioned above with the five states and “excuses”), the “in secret” accusation is misguided at best and paranoia at worst. Twenty-two states allow post-marked ballots, not just Pennsylvania. And the winning results were in within that three-day turnaround time from Nov. 4 to Nov. 7. Had all 50 states gone according to Trump’s plan to “stop counting” on Election Night, as though 70-plus million votes were the equivalent of a retail cash register, some of his own votes would’ve gone uncounted in mail-in ballots.
“You have a list of numbers of ballots with only Joe Biden on the ticket,” Sidney Powell, a lawyer for both Michael Flynn and Donald Trump, told Fox News host Maria Bartiromo. “You say it’s 98,000 ballots in Pennsylvania; 80,000 to 90,000 in Georgia; another 42,000 in Arizona; 69,000 to 115,000 in Michigan; and 62,000 in Wisconsin. Sidney, if this is true, this appears systemic. Why aren’t we seeing massive government investigation?”
Voters are not required to vote in all categories. It’s called under-voting. They can choose to not vote at all for certain categories, including not voting for the 2020 president, and opt for choosing judges, House reps, senators, mayors, aldermen, etc. Some people choose to do it to avoid voting for people who they have no clue about. Others may not like any of the people running but want to vote for other categories, or write in their own candidates. If they under-vote, once they slide their ballots into the Ballot Box, the machine will pick up on under-voting, push the ballot back out and explain (via the screen) what selection was faulty.
The Election Judge will then ask the voter if (s)he is sure she wants to under-vote. If the voter says “yes,” a confirmation box is pushed and that’s that. But the maximum number of voter options is clearly marked on each ballot. If a voter chooses to do this with a mail-in ballot, the same rules apply. The Ballot Counter takes it being mailed in and blank in those areas as confirmation that this person, who signed the envelope confirming this ballot is OK as is, confirms all of their choices to the best of their abilities. The only time that this choice will actually hurt the voter’s chances are over-voting (voting for too many people in one category). In person, they can choose to dismiss the over-voting mistake and have the ballot “spoiled” (meaning an “Election Judge” would write “spoiled” on it and put it in a “spoiled” envelope to be given to Ballot Counters at the end of the night). Then the voter will start all over again. Only one ballot would be counted regardless.
Contact Emily Murphy: While Trump continues to convince his legal team to initiate frivolous lawsuits, I highly encourage voters to write directly to Emily Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or tag her on Twitter (here @GSAEmily and here @USGSA), who is currently declining to declare Joe Biden as the presidential winner for 2021–2024. By ignoring both the electoral college and popular vote results, the Biden team cannot unlock $9.9 million for transition funding to make a seamless transition — something no other president has been childish enough to do.
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