Something happened today that made me very angry. Now I freely admit: I am irritable this time of year, what with the nattering partisans and obnoxious campaigns. And I’m not known for having the longest fuse on a good day.
But nothing – nothing – gets me from serene to volcanic faster than attempts to make people feel as if an election might not be clean. And in an all-too-familiar pattern, national Republicans are casting doubts on the integrity of the election process here.
And it’s not just here.
In letters sent to election officials in six states, the Republican National Committee’s chief lawyer raised the possibility of voting machine irregularities. And without presenting one scintilla of evidence.
Here’s what the RNC’s John Phillippe wrote to Secretary of State Ross Miller: “I understand that, in a significant number of cases, voting machines in your states have populated a vote for Barack Obama when a voter cast his or her ballot for Mitt Romney.”
He understands? Significant, eh? How many? He doesn’t say?
Oh, but he adds, “I further understand that the causes of this problem are varied, and include miscalibration and hyper-sensitivity of the machines.”
Ah, I see. We’re not accusing you of anything nefarious, but….
The BUT is that the RNC wants all of the machines recalibrated before Tuesday. It wants extra technicians on hand. Oh, and it wants voters to be reminded to double check their vote was recorded properly.
This is so transparent. And so revolting. And so, so insidious.
I have no doubt the RNC is laying the groundwork for a challenge should the presidential race be close here or in some of other states where these “significant” number of instances have occurred. You will not be surprised to learn that Ohio and Colorado, two states that are keys to the race for the presidency, also are on the list.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is. The GOP high command sent lawyers out here two years ago raising similar questions in advance of the 2010 election. They thought Harry Reid might try to steal the election from Sharron Angle, and they couldn’t let that happen. That race was going to be agonizingly close, you see, and they wanted people to know they were watching.
The secretary of state found no evidence of anything, of course. And, as it turns out Reid easily defeated Angle – by 41,000 votes. That hasn’t stopped the woman who sees Asian people in Hispanic schools from running around the country trying to end what she calls the epidemic of voter fraud.
Fine. It’s a free country. Crazy people are allowed the same rights as sane people – generally speaking.
But for an organization such as the RNC to put out this kind of garbage for ONE reason – and that is to raise the specter of a fixed election – is absolutely unconscionable. It’s also a sign of desperation and panic that Mitt Romney is in trouble – here and in other battleground states.
Late today, Secretary of State Ross Miller appropriately responded to the RNC by pointing out he had vetted similar complaints in 2010 and labeling as "irresponsible" the GOP's attempts to "undermine the public's confidence in the electoral process."
This would be comical if it weren’t so deadly serious. Democrats and Republicans ought to be outraged because this is what causes people to decline to participate in the election and to conclude it’s all corrupt. If we can’t have faith in the results of the balloting, there is nothing left but chaos and anarchy.
Congratulations, RNC. Here’s some advice: Try recalibrating your message to comport with reality.