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Letter – It is time to fix our election system

To The Editor:

If there is one thing that this election chaos has shown us, it is that we desperately need to clean up our electoral system.

The people no longer trust it. By ignoring and denying the problem for years, we have allowed it to metastasize, just as a cancer ignored will metastasize. And just as cancer will destroy the body, the suspicion of increasing voter fraud will destroy our Republic. In the past, cases of fraud were not prosecuted, even though there was compelling evidence. Now the problem is out in the open for all to see, including the rest of the world. It is time to deal with it.

The deniers will say, “You don’t have proof.” The proof will come, in time, as cases are now being prosecuted, but meanwhile the people are losing their faith in the system. The voters no longer believe that we enjoy “government by the people” when they believe that their legitimate vote was canceled by a fraudulent vote.

There is no denying the sloppiness and lack of oversight in our system when boxes of ballots are found in car trunks days after the polls close and poll watchers are denied access to observe procedures. Every state should have strict laws and procedures regarding the chain of custody of election ballots, with severe penalties for violations. Every step in the election process, from the zeroing of the machines in the morning to the counting of ballots in the evening, should always be witnessed by representatives of both parties.

If we do not fix the problem, then we risk reaching the point where the party out of power boycotts the election, giving the “winner” nearly 100% of the votes, as often happens in third-world countries. No one, including the winners, would believe in the legitimacy of such election results.

Rather than debate the fraud/no fraud question, which will work itself out in the courts, we need to focus on restoring the people’s confidence in the system, which requires the elimination of the appearance of fraud.

Congress has the constitutional authority to establish rigid standards for elections, including guaranteeing the integrity of ballots. Article I, Section 4 of the Constitution states, “The times, places and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by law make or alter such regulations.” Securing the integrity of our election system is not rocket science. The average citizen could easily design such a plan. Why can our elected officials not do it? It is time to get it done, while there is still time.

Robb T. Koether

Farmville