Opinion: Prepare for uncertain outcome on Election Day, says Potsdam resident
To the Editor:
President Trump has spent the summer and fall openly criticizing mail-in voting, and suggesting that if there is not a declared winner on November 3, that would be evidence of fraud. It is important that people do not get fooled by his talking points. There is no basis in fact to these claims. Voters should have a clear understanding of the process by which votes are counted, and should not rely on the president for information as to how that will happen.More voters will vote by mail this year compared to any other election. There are a few reasons for this. Five states use mail-in ballots as their primary method of election. Many other states, including New York, have expanded the eligibility of absentee ballots due to the pandemic. Ballots must be postmarked by November 3, which means it is certain that we will only have partial returns on Election Day. This is no reason to distrust the process. It is always true that there are ballots that remain to be counted in the days following an election.
Absentee ballots and military ballots have always been counted after Election Day. It is not unheard of to have these ballots decide who wins or loses. We should not be surprised to find that to be the case this year.
We’ve grown accustomed to breathless coverage of the winner of presidential elections coming across the airwaves late at night on election day. We should prepare ourselves for the likelihood that we will not know for certain who has won on November 3. What we should not do is lose faith in the process by which we count the votes.
When the president raises the specter of election fraud, consider this: We have election commissioners representing both political parties that live right here in our community who are responsible for accurately reporting the election outcome. The same is true in communities across the country. Our system of vote counting is so decentralized that a fraud that changes the outcome of elections is inconceivable.
There is no way to carry out that kind of fraud without being someone leaking the details or being discovered.
I trust the election commissioners to do their job well. It saddens me to listen to the president attempt to undermine our democracy by suggesting that these public servants should not be trusted.