Post-Election Views: Assuring the Integrity of the Vote

Might the November 2016 election have been rigged? Apart from Trump’s avowal to challenge the results, relatively little attention was paid in the mainstream media before the election. On the Dem side, the reaction was, “Yeah, right, but not against you!” After all, the polls pointed to a likely Clinton win. Possibly a landslide!

November 9 brought its harsh truth. Clinton had lost. While some leaped to explain why voters had rejected her, others looked ahead to what a Trump presidency would mean. A few sought ways to prevent it.

The first ‘uprising’ took its outrage to the streets, for the most part peacefully and amid jeers from the Trump side of ‘It’s over! Get used to it!’

The next wave petitioned the Electoral College to do its job, i.e. choose the most suitable candidate as President when they meet on Dec 19.  Three days after the election, over 3 million had signed. As of today, there are 4.6 million signatures and counting, with growing justification. Clinton’s lead in the popular vote has surpassed 2 million, and votes are still being tallied in a few states. Clinton has 64,223,958 votes, compared to Trump’s 62,206,395 votes.

However, many of these votes are in populous, blue states whose Electors have already been pledged to Clinton. Still, the original two Electors who said they will not vote for Trump have been joined by four more.  They need 37 to change the outcome, and those other 31 will be more inclined to break their pledge, paying a lousy $1000 fine for the pleasure, if they have just a little more justification.

This is where ‘integrity of the vote’ comes in. The opportunity to correct anomalies occupies a small window between final tallies and certification of the vote by each state. Some states, Wisconsin, for instance, have deadlines for challenging the vote.

Election integrity encompasses three distinct areas.

  1. voter suppression

  2. conduct of the election process

  3. integrity in recording and counting the vote

2016 was the first election in 50 years not fully covered by the Voting Rights Act. Parts of the VRA were struck down by the US Supreme Court, on arguments that election access was now a done-deal for minority votes in what had been ‘Jim Crow’ states. Said states, at least those under Republican governors and legislatures, set about reconstructing roadblocks for minority voters.