What, you thought things were gonna be different this time around?
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is asking Gov. Ralph Northam to waive the witness signature requirement for absentee ballots cast by mail in this fall’s election.
The board voted 9-1 for the proposal by Chair Jeffrey McKay to send a letter to Northam, with Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity, the board’s only Republican, casting the only vote against the motion.
McKay said that waiving the witness signature requirement – as was done during the 2020 election – is necessary due to the continued threat of COVID-19.
Herrity said that waiving the requirement would be a “blow to election integrity.”
Uhh, hate to have to be the one to etc and all, Pat, but “blow(s) to election integrity are the whole fucking point. TTPTB have but one interest when it comes to election integrity, and you can bet your sweet bippy it does NOT involve finding ways to secure and/or maintain it. Bayou Pete has questions.
So, what’s going on here? Let me ask a not-so-rhetorical question.
Question: Why would you change the security rules for mail-in ballots in the middle of an election that’s already under way?
Most likely answer: Because you’ve looked at the ballots that have already been received, and realized that you’re losing.
That’s what I’m sure is going on here.
And you would be correct, sir. Pete backs up his case with a little historical perspective:
Liberals and progressives often try to model the U.S. on Western European countries, but you never hear them arguing that we should adopt their voting rules. There is a reason for that. Banning mail-in voting or requiring people to use photo IDs to obtain a mail-in ballot is quite common in developed countries, especially in Europe.
These countries have learned the hard way what happens when mail-in ballots aren’t secured. They have also discovered how hard it is to detect vote buying when both those buying and selling the votes have an incentive to hide the exchange.
France banned mail-in voting in 1975 because of massive fraud in Corsica, where postal ballots were stolen or bought and voters cast multiple votes. Mail-in ballots were used to cast the votes of dead people.
The U.K., which allows postal voting, has had some notable mail-in ballot fraud cases. Prior to recent photo ID requirements, six Labour Party councilors in Birmingham won office after what the judge described as a “massive, systematic and organized” postal voting fraud campaign. The fraud was apparently carried out with the full knowledge and cooperation of the local Labour Party. There was “widespread theft” of postal votes (possibly around 40,000 ballots) in areas with large Muslim populations, because Labour members were worried that the Iraq War would spur these voters to oppose the incumbent government.
In 1991, Mexico’s election mandated voter photo IDs and banned absentee ballots. The then-governing Institutional Revolutionary Party had long used fraud and intimidation with mail-in ballots in order to win elections. Only in 2006 were absentee ballots again allowed, and then only for those living abroad who requested them at least six months in advance.
If concern about voter fraud with mail-in ballots is delusional, it is a delusion that is shared by most of the world. Even the countries that allow mail-in ballots have protections, such as government-issued photo IDs. But Americans are constantly assured even this step is completely unnecessary. Without basic precautions, our elections are on course to become the laughingstock of the developed world.
“On course to become,” is it? For any forthright, halfway knowledgeable soul, it’s a bit late for indulging such a Pollyanna-ish point of view. This is why the usual late-stage reports of Repugnicans “closing the gap” in the (rigged) polls—thereby “narrowing” and “heating up” the “race”—are so drolly amusing, at least to me. Throw the increasingly common “don’t get cocky” trope into the mix, and the whole charade is just 24-karat comedy gold.
Contrary to received wisdom, establishing a modicum of integrity and trustworthiness in the fraud-rife American “election” system would not be a complex task, neither expensive nor beyond the capability of mere humans. All it would take is a little unambiguous, no-nonsense legislation:
- Forbid ALL use of electronic voting machines in any US election
- Forbid ALL mail-in ballots, except perhaps for dot-mil, diplomatic personnel, or other specific goobermint personnel deployed overseas on election day; absolutely NO other exceptions considered
- Require in person, election-day-only voting, using paper ballots exclusively, proper photo ID to be presented by ALL voters before they’re allowed to enter their local polling place
And then we could…uhh…well, actually, that’s it. Nothing more than just those three little things. All dead simple, low-cost, and totally fair. All comprehensible, all very easily implemented. Take these three easy-peasy steps, which would take little to no time, and you will have un-fucked American “elections” pretty much completely. Congratulations are in order for you; you have just successfully re-installed a quite valuable thing, an essential component that hasn’t been part of the broke-down American electoral machine since before the days of Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall at least: credibility.
Unless and until these common-sense reforms have been effected, voting in American “elections” expecting anything but more of the same shite is a mug’s game, the Founding concept of self-government and the primacy of the expressed will of the people no more than fantasy. There’s a word that pops unbidden into mind:
Definition of gossamer (Entry 1 of 2)
1: a film of cobwebs floating in air in calm clear weather
2: something light, delicate, or insubstantial
And there you have it. Describes the overall situation pretty nicely, I think.
Tinkering around the edges of the current system in trivial ways—the approach favored in those few states where any reform at all has been undertaken so far—is NOT enough to fix this. Simple and obvious as they are, the three options laid out above are in fact revolutionary changes, which partly explains the fierce howls of outrage at any mention of them from the malefactors profiting from the present wretched dysfunction. However unhinged the opposition to it, though—and however devious and dishonest the hidden motives behind it—nothing short of revolutionary measures will get us out of this. Thus, our national kabuki production will creak and totter on, strutting and fretting its hour upon the stage, signifying nothing. Until one day, suddenly—UNEXPECTEDLY!!™—the badly-needed revolutionary reform occurs, after which it will be heard no more.
Speaking strictly for myself, I haven’t the least intention to provide my tacit endorsement via participating in it. But YMMV, as always. Those who choose to continue participating in American election theater, for whatever reason, are perfectly welcome to do so; they can expect no opposition, interference, or condemnation from me. But maybe it would be better for all concerned for those folks to acknowledge, if only to themselves, the shadowy presence of the con artist behind the curtain, director of the whole sorry show. If real reform is ever to take place, such a quiet, internal admission of the unreality and ultimate pointlessness of the whole sham could show us a way forward. In the meantime, I’ll rerun my instant-classic meme.