Friday, November 6, 2020

The US Inability To Count Votes is a National Disgrace. And Dangerous.

By Glenn Greenwald - November 06, 2020 at 10:33AM

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The richest and most powerful country on earth — whether due to ineptitude, choice or some combination of both — has no ability to perform the simple task of counting votes in a minimally efficient or confidence-inspiring manner. As a result, the credibility of the voting process is severely impaired, and any residual authority the US claims to “spread” democracy to lucky recipients of its benevolence around the world is close to obliterated.

At 7:30 a.m. ET on Wednesday, the day after the 2020 presidential elections, the results of the presidential race, as well as control of the Senate, are very much in doubt and in chaos. Watched by rest of the world — deeply affected by who rules the still-imperialist superpower — the US struggles and stumbles and staggers to engage in a simple task mastered by countless other less powerful and poorer countries: counting votes. Some states are not expected to finished their vote-counting until the end of this week or beyond.

The same data and polling geniuses who pronounced that Hillary Clinton had a 90% probability or more of winning the 2016 election, and who spent the last three months proclaiming the 2020 election even more of a sure thing for the Democratic presidential candidate, are currently insisting that Biden, despite being behind in numerous key states, is still the favorite by virtue of uncounted ballots in Democrat-heavy counties in the outcome-determinative states. [One went to sleep last night with the now-notorious New York Times needle of data guru Nate Cohn assuring the country that, with more than 80% of the vote counted in Georgia, Trump had more than an 80% chance to win that state, only to wake up a few hours later with the needle now predicting the opposite outcome; that all happened just a few hours after Cohn assured everyone how much “smarter” his little needle was this time around].
NYT’s predictive needle for Georgia at 8:40 pm ET, Tuesday night.
Given the record of failures and humiliations they have quickly compiled, what rational person would trust anything they say at this point? A citizen randomly chosen from the telephone book would be as reliable if not more so for sharing predictions. And the monumental failures of the polling industry and the data nerds who leech off it, for the second consecutive national election, only serve to sow even further doubt and confusion around the electoral process.

A completely untrustworthy voting count is now the norm. Two months after the New York state primary in late June, two Congressional races were in doubt by what The New York Times called “major delays in counting a deluge of 400,000 mail-in ballots and other problems.” In particular:
Thousands more ballots in the city were discarded by election officials for minor errors, or not even sent to voters until the day before the primary, making it all but impossible for the ballots to be returned in time.
It took a full six weeks for New York to finally declare a winner in those two primary races for Congress.

The coronavirus pandemic and the shutdowns and new votings rules it ushered in have obviously complicated the process, but the US failure to simply count votes with any degree of efficiency, in a way that inspires even minimal confidence in the process, pre-dates the March, 2020 nationwide lockdowns. Even if one dismisses as aberrational the protracted, Court-decided, and still-untrusted outcome of the 2000 presidential election — only four national election cycles ago — the US voting process is rife with major systemic failures and doubt-sowing inefficiencies that can be explained only as a deliberate choice and/or a perfect reflection of a collapsing, crumbling empire.

Recall the mass confusion that ensued back in January, in the very first Democratic Party primary election in the Iowa caucus, where a new app created and monetized by a bunch of sleazy Democratic operatives caused massive delays, confusion and an untrustworthy outcome. Later in the process, many Super Tuesday states — including California — were still counting votes weeks or even longer after the election was held (more than a week after the Democratic primary, California had still only counted roughly 75% of the ballots cast, depriving Bernie Sanders of a critical narrative victory on election night).

The 2018 midterm elections were also marred by pervasive irregularities. The Washington Post noted “thousands of reports of voting irregularities across the country…. with voters complaining of broken machines, long lines and untrained poll workers improperly challenging Americans’ right to vote.”

Read the rest here.

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