Saturday, October 16, 2004

NYTimes Ponders Uncertain Election Outcome

I still have not read or heard of anybody making the argument that they have absolute confidence that the election will be 100% legitimate with a universally accepted outcome. This is an untenable position because there is NO BASIS for such confidence. From today's NYTimes:

AMERICA could very well wake up on Wednesday, Nov. 3, not knowing who won the presidential election. Judging by the latest polls, the race is close enough in a number of key states that human error, technical foul-ups and the inevitable legal challenges could delay the results for days or weeks, in an unwelcome replay of 2000.

The likelihood of trouble at the nation's 200,000 polling places may be greater in 2004 than in any year in memory. Absentee and mail-in ballots, provisional voting, redrawn districts, untrained poll workers, millions of first-time voters and unfamiliar new technology are all conspiring to create a potential electoral nightmare in a tight contest.

The two major parties have brigades of lawyers ready to file legal actions at the first signs of irregularity at the polls. Already, lawsuits are challenging voter registration procedures in several states, and more litigation is sure to come anywhere that it might affect the outcome.
This article contemplates some of the approaches to change advocated by GuvWurld in the No Confidence Movement:

If either candidate wins without leading the popular vote, as Mr. Bush did in 2000, there could be serious calls to abolish the Electoral College and make other fundamental changes in the machinery of American democracy.

The only solution, he [Christopher Edley Jr., dean of Boalt Hall, the law school at the University of California, Berkeley, and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights] said, is a standardized national voting system that gives everyone an equal chance to have his or her vote properly counted.
The article adds, as if to suggest we have not yet bottomed out, but doing so could be the ultimate impetus for real reform:
Some observers see potential for lasting benefits from another disputed election, at least once the dust has settled: they say it may finally rouse the country to overhaul the presidential election process.
While I recognize the election cannot and should not be pre-empted, I find this final excerpt to be highly motivational:
One thing that seems certain, though, is that there is no certainty about how the nation will handle the aftermath of a disputed election.
We can't know how the nation (or the world) as a whole will respond, but there is no reason for us not to be gathering in our communities to determine appropriate expressions of rejection for the impending sham. Following up on one of Tuesday's entries, I will be addressing the Eureka, CA City Council this week aiming for a commitment to call upon state and national figures to reject the results. I welcome instruction from the Council on what response from the public would first be necessary to prompt their official action.



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