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  • The Simple Act of Counting

    Posted by Lucretius on November 7th, 2020 (All posts by )

    Apparently, election officials in numerous American states find it challenging to perform the simple act of counting. Surprisingly, Florida is not one of those states, because after the embarrassing “hanging chad” election of 2000 they cleaned up their act (a process seemingly initiated by Jeb Bush in 2001). So here’s a proposal for Republicans, independents, third parties, and even some Democrats to rally around: clean and fair elections from sea to shining sea. Instead of eliminating the Electoral College, institute an Electoral Kindergarten where election officials can learn to count. As states under Republican leadership start to routinely and transparently report election results immediately upon the polls closing, whereas unreformed states continue to take days (and even then under a cloud of suspicion), Republicans can make a straightforward offer to voters: elect us in Pennsylvania and Michigan and Wisconsin and Nevada (etc.) and we’ll put in place an election system you can count on. Simple enough, eh?


    12 Responses to “The Simple Act of Counting”

    1. Anonymous Says:


      The officials in charge aren’t interested in solving the problems. It’s not like reparations or climate change or free college…

    2. Brian Says:

      The GOP has control of the PA legislature. They can and should fix things. It will have to wait two years until they can get a GOP governor again, I suppose, but perhaps this fiasco will motivate them to finally clean things up a la Florida.

    3. Lucretius Says:

      Anonymous: I understand that the officials in charge (in some states) aren’t interested in election reform. But election reform might be interested in them.

    4. Anonymous Says:

      Anonymous: “The officials in charge aren’t interested in solving the problems….”

      Why should they have interest in solutions? They gain great political power over peoples’ lives by fraud. You’re asking them to give up their favorite drug.

      No. They have to be forced against their will to do things right. Under pain of massive fines and long prison terms. And to get the ball rolling there will need to be widely visible public consquences before the change is taken seriously by the criminals.

      At this point, it’s not going to happen for years. But take notes and names.

    5. Lucretius Says:

      As to “officials in charge”, presumably we’re talking about county clerks and their minions. It’s true that, say, the relevant “officials” in Miami-Dade County (formerly a hotbed of election fraud) weren’t excited about the Florida Election Reform Act of 2001, but ultimately they weren’t “in charge” because the state government had the authority to enact reforms that they had to go along with. I’m suggesting that Republicans take this up, state by state, and clean out the Augean stables. Sure, they’ll never get a chance in California or Massachusetts, but a number of states might be within reach. If nothing else it would put Democrats on the defensive, which doesn’t happen nearly often enough.

    6. Gringo Says:

      I understand that the officials in charge (in some states) aren’t interested in election reform. But election reform might be interested in them.

      Those officials in charge of elections who are not interested in election reform may later hope that they don’t get the treatment that Stalin gave Trotsky. But most of us can’t “pick” the way we go.

      You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.
      This was attributed to Trotsky in an epigraph in Night Soldiers: A Novel (1988) by Alan Furst but it may actually be a revision of a statement earlier attributed to Trotsky: “You may not be interested in the dialectic, but the dialectic is interested in you.” Only a very loose translation of “the dialectic” would produce “war.”

      Such translation is possible via an intermediate Greek translation, or simply for someone with a knowledge of Greek, where the word πόλεμος carries a dual connotation of both dialectic and war (evident in the adjective form πολεμικός). Compare translations of Heraclitus’s Πόλεμος πάντων μὲν πατήρ ἐστι (“War is the father of all”) by David Myatt[1][2] and by Martin Heidegger.[3][4] Also see translation in German Wikipedia.[5] The notability of the Greek connection (between “war” and “the dialectic”) is further augmented by the fact that the Heraclitean logic of war underpins Hegelian dialectics,[6] a modern precursor to dialectical materialism and, consequently, Trotsky’s doctrine.

      In a later work, Just and Unjust Wars: A Moral Argument with Historical Illustrations (2000) by Michael Walzer, the author states: War is most often a form of tyranny. It is best described by paraphrasing Trotsky’s aphorism about the dialectic: “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.”

      This statement on dialectic itself seems to be a paraphrase, with the original in In Defense of Marxism Part VII : “Petty-Bourgeois Moralists and the Proletarian Party” (1942) — where Trotsky publishes a letter to Albert Goldman (5 June 1940) has been translated as “Burnham doesn’t recognize dialectics but dialectics does not permit him to escape from its net.” More discussion on the origins of this quotation can be found at The Semi-Daily Journal of Economist Brad DeLong: Fair and Balanced Almost Every Day.[dead link]

      Election reform sounds like a good goal.

    7. Gringo Says:

      I am reminded of Venezuela. The electoral hardware and software that Chavez installed was purported to give Venezuela one of the best, or even the best, electoral systems in the world. After all, Jimmah told us so around 2013 (Yes, I voted for him once). Then the Venezuelan people elected a National Assembly in December 2015 with 2/3 of those elected belonging to the opposition.

      Maduro couldn’t countenance dealing with a non-captive legislative body, so he finagled an “election” a year and a half later for a “replacement” in the summer of 2017 for the National Assembly that would also write a new Constitution. After all, the Constitution that Chavismo wrote had some fatal flaws, like permitting the election of a National Assembly with 2/3 opposition.

      Smartmatic, the company that supplied the hardware and software for the Venezuelan electoral system, announced after the “election” that AT LEAST a million votes were fraudulent.

    8. Brian Says:

      FYI, saw my first “Trump 2024” flag today. Looked just like the Trump 2020 flags, so someone either made it in advance or is great at modifying the other ones…

    9. miguel cervantes Says:

      Burnham would defect to the right, come up with the vision of the three superstates, that orwell borrowed, and serve as national reviews strategy columnists

    10. miguel cervantes Says:

      we further discover that dominion, the company that provided the voting machines, has a former obama eu ambassador, fmr fcc chair, william kennard on the board, also it’s chief lobbyist was brian kemp’s chief of staff, jared thomas,

    11. Brian Says:

      I apologize for the deluge of ads on the linked site, but this story is amazing, for the picture of the person involved:
      The Lehigh County judge of elections facing criminal charges of tampering with ballots during the June primary has stepped down from her post.
      Everett “Erika” Bickford of Allentown confirmed Wednesday that she tendered her resignation last week at the urging of Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin. Bickford had previously vowed not to resign or plead guilty to any wrongdoing while overseeing the city’s 3rd Ward polling place in June at the Lehigh County Government Center.

      It’s one thing to be tolerant of the insane, but to put them in positions of government authority is a sign of a society with a death wish.

    12. OBloodyHell Says:

      Since the election rules are set by the state legislatures, you might notice that the “up in the air” elections are… in democrat controlled states.

      Most of the states in question have a historical tendency to be Dem states, so getting reform through is gonna be like pulling a haunch of venison from a pack of starving wolves.

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