The last polls in the United States have been closed for more than two days. Still no final result. I think I’m on a first name basis with all the CNN folks as they fill time during this neverendum referendum. With the COVID pandemic running amok, many people chose not to stand in line at voting places, opting to mail-in their ballots instead. The processing of this unusually large number of mail-ins is causing havoc and delay in determining an outcome.
Those of us who live in open democracies cherish the ability to exercise our franchise. So why does the USA seem to treat it with disdain?
Those of us who live in open democracies cherish the ability to exercise our franchise. Men and women, those we honour one week from now on Remembrance Day, have given their lives to ensure this freedom remains. It’s a lofty concept. So why does the USA seem to treat it with disdain?
One reason could be that the exercising of franchise, the process of voting, costs money. I don’t mean the billions of dollars spent by parties on partisan campaigning – buses, planes, in the good old days trains – I am talking about the actual casting of votes.
One reason could be that the exercising of franchise, the process of voting, costs money.
Here in Canada we have an entity called Elections Canada, defined thusly: The Office of the Chief Electoral Officer is the non-partisan agency responsible for administering Canadian federal elections and referendums. Elections Canada is an office of the Parliament of Canada, and reports directly to Parliament rather than to the Government of Canada. Yes indeed, one non-partisan set of voting rules applied right across the country to see to the smooth running of federal elections.
It is the responsibility of this non-partisan body to ensure that, based on local population, there are sufficient polling stations in any given area. Of course this entails making sure these stations are properly staffed. It is rare that extremely long lines form at voting places. Certainly there are busier times; lunch, immediately after work are two examples.
Once the voting is over, and all those who made it to the polling station before the deadline, even if they are waiting in line, have cast their ballots, the counting begins. I understand that in the US many items are on the ballot, and they often use voting machines. Regardless, if the counting of votes takes this long, there are not enough vote counters. Plain and simple.
If the democratic process is so dear to the hearts of Americans, wouldn’t you think it would warrant paying a sufficient number of people to count the votes cast?
If the democratic process is so dear to the hearts of Americans, wouldn’t you think it would warrant paying a sufficient number of people to count the votes cast? Whether ‘today’ ballots or ‘mail-in’, they all must be counted.
There will be challenges and requests for recounts, that’s all part of the procedure. But before ballots can be challenged or recounted, they have to be counted.
A little respect for the process would go a long way.