Tweaking the Vote: the Electoral College & Recounts
Before I get to tweaking, let me say a word about the Twits (that I recently called out online.) Who are they and why do I call them Twits? They SHOUT with capital letters, usually inane, frustrated, meaningless comments or like a recent Texas Twit told me, “close your account.” They rarely offer any useful comments or info. I should use Buddhist logic and see these folks as an opportunity to practice patience. In fact, no excuses going forward, I must do that or actually get off social media if I can’t. (This is called Grappling, the topic of my next book.)
As for the Electoral College, it’s obsolete and should have been discontinued after the 2000 election fiasco. While I like this Atlantic article by Peter Beinart (whom I’ve seen several times on cable news), the E.C. was actually designed to give white male property owners the final choice for President.
Back then women and slaves were chattel and men who did not own land or chattel were considered “lesser” and not worthy of a say on such lofty matters as who should be President. As for the “states” argument, in this day and age of instantaneous info and mobility, geography should not determine the Presidency either. The Electoral system is outdated, offensive and should be eliminated.
That said, research shows Electors are free to vote for whoever they want. Any restrictions placed on them by a state is unconstitutional. Since we still have this antiquated system, this is the time, as Peter argues, to use it to the fullest and in his words:
“prevent an irresponsible demagogue from taking office.”
That’s why I have repeatedly posted #DisqualifyTrump and urged Electors to support the popular vote when your state participates in the “college.” Votes will be tallied on December 19. That is when we will know the “official” 2016 Presidential election outcome (unless recount challenges turn up fraud. More on that below.)
I must say how fascinating that Trump supporters so quickly embraced the complicated Electoral College. You know if Trump had received TWO MILLION votes more than Hillary, but had lost the EC, they would be screaming in ALL CAPS about the RIGGED system. That brings us to the need for a recount… a full AUDIT would be even better!
Good for Jill Stein to take the lead and raise millions (overnight) for a recount. It’s not for her campaign. She is doing this so we can resolve the many complaints and questions about irregularities with electronic machines, voter suppression techniques, like provisional ballots and purges (that primarily affected minority groups), and alleged hacking by various groups.
Purging registered voters ahead of the election, by the THOUSANDS, is a particularly “dirty trick” employed by Republican-led states and election officials who then give the voter a provisional ballot that often is never included in the vote totals– especially in the unofficial “election night” totals. This is possible because Republicans have spent the last several years gerrymandering districts to their benefit so they can exert more control at the local level. They use their power to reduce voting sites in minority areas which resulted in HUGE lines that disenfranchised many who simply had to get back to work and could not wait all day. Terrible and unconstitutional in my opinion.
Finally, electronic voting machines that do not have a paper trail should be carefully audited. These type of machines have been investigated since the 1980s when in my state (New Mexico) election officials were accused of programming the machines prior to elections so that regardless of what choices were made, the votes would go to a certain party. I immediately recognized the machines a couple of days ago, when I saw one (on TV) with its large green “vote” button. An official was pointing to it and saying that machine could not be hacked because it’s not linked to the internet. That’s right. But they sure could be, and WERE, programmed for desired outcomes in the past and have since been banned in many states. New Mexico is back to paper ballots that are fed into scanners to tabulate the votes. Sadly, I still worry because any electronic data can be hacked or manipulated, and probably has been somewhere in the US. That’s why if there is any suspicion in Wisconsin, Michigan or any state, especially any state that used those type of machines, we should have a recount and analysis of data and paper ballots with plenty of bipartisan monitoring.
So, yes, let’s have a recount (for states “too close to call” or where irregularities have been found) and Electors, DO THE RIGHT THING! Let’s elect whoever has won the official popular vote.