I was one of many people who just got an email from Dan Winslow, Chief Legal Counsel for the Scott Brown for U.S. Senate Committee. Dan writes:
Next week, Massachusetts’s citizens will head to the polls to vote in a historical election. Close elections draw intense scrutiny, and ensuring the accuracy and credibility of the process is crucial. For that reason, the Scott Brown campaign is assembling a volunteer team to ensure that every legally cast ballot is accurately counted. The citizens of Massachusetts deserve a fair and honest election.
He concludes: “Please do not wait, Election Day is January 19th!”
I will add a few comments.
There will be attempted vote fraud by some Democrats in the Brown/Coakley Senate race. There is a lot at stake. A defeat which takes away Ted Kennedy’s old seat, and loses their super-majority, will be a humiliation and a political disaster for the Democrats. They will have every incentive to use all means available to them to prevent that defeat.
If you are lawyer who can volunteer in Massachusetts on January 19, go to the link and sign up now, or please forward this link if you know a lawyer who lives in Massachusetts or can be there on election day.
I have worked as a poll watcher in the Chicago area several times. As a Republican in a majority Democratic precinct, I have been treated with very cold courtesy, and some snide remarks, but only rarely with outright hostility. I have never seen any vote fraud, and I do not think there was any. My presence may have deterred any attempted fraud. I will never know. I do know I helped to insure at least one honest polling place on election day, and that is good enough.
The point here is not partisanship. The point here is that we do not live in Albania, or the Congo, or Red China. We supposedly live in a democracy where the citizens vote, and their votes are counted fairly.
Democracy only works if the integrity of the system is insured. And that only happens if there are people from both parties posted in every polling place. An honest system is an American value, not just a Republican value.
In a close, and important, election like this one, the incentives to cheat, by the incumbent party in particular, are very high. It need not come from the candidates or their staffs. Some areas have almost a tradition of cheating, in both parties, where others are squeaky clean. It can occur spontaneously at the bottom rung. Precinct captains are judged on how well they got the vote out. Their political future turns on winning their precinct for the Party’s candidate, and getting their own voters out and to the polls. The incentive to corruption and electioneering, and voter intimidation, are permanent features. Corruption in the system is a permanent challenge that can only be minimized and never eliminated.
Ensuring an honest election is labor intensive. You need mobs for jobs on the day.
I cannot be in Massachusetts on election day. But if you can help out on January 19, please do so.