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Sanctity of our electoral process in United States is paramount: Editorial

Posted 11/14/17

Without the sanctity of our electoral process, we really have nothing as a nation.

If we can’t say for certain who we actually elected for jobs ranging from tax collector to president, then …

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Sanctity of our electoral process in United States is paramount: Editorial

Posted

Without the sanctity of our electoral process, we really have nothing as a nation.

If we can’t say for certain who we actually elected for jobs ranging from tax collector to president, then the democratic process crumbles at its core.

We know that corruption — or at least rumored corruption — isn’t new. Most people point to the 1960 presidential election in which Democrat John F. Kennedy defeated Republican Richard M. Nixon as an example. The theory is that Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, an ardent Democrat, stole the campaign by flipping some votes, giving Kennedy the election. It’s part of our national election mythology. The problem is, the facts don’t bear it out.

Speaking of facts not bearing something out — President Donald Trump has formed a Commission on Election Integrity to investigate what he claims are millions of voters, including undocumented immigrants, who voted illegally in last year’s presidential election. There is no evidence to support the claim, but if it leads to the uncovering of any irregularities, then we hope they will be resolved.

The acts of politically nefarious people and unsubstantiated claims of undocumented immigrants who voted are minor compared to what many are concerned about: a foreign takedown of our elections.

That our president is not one of these people is shameful. After meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, Trump said the following, according to cnn.com:

“Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’” Trump said. “And I believe, I really believe, that when he tells me that, he means it.”

He backed off that a bit Sunday, saying that “I believe that he (Putin) feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election. As to whether I believe it or not, I am with our agencies, especially as currently constituted with the leadership,” Trump said. Note the key words “as currently constituted.” In other words, he believes the people he appointed, not the ones he inherited, who he called “political hacks.”

Multiple U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Russia meddled in the election to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. He simply chooses not to believe them because they are, in his mind, hacks. 

Despite Trump taking Putin’s word, this isn’t over. And it shouldn’t be. If he doesn’t allow the intelligence community “as currently constituted” to continue looking into this claims, then we have a major problem. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation continues.

But let’s move a little closer to home. A Nov. 1 forum on election security at Penn State Harrisburg raised concerns about the vulnerability of voting systems nationally and in Pennsylvania to cyber attack.

Dauphin County Director of Elections and Voter Registration Jerry Feaser told us that we shouldn’t be worried because the voting system that Dauphin County has used since 1985 is not connected to the Internet, and neither is the system that the county uses to program the cartridges for the voting machines.

We hope he is right.

But it’s only just the start. 

Marian Schneider, a former special adviser to Gov. Tom Wolf on election policy and one of three speakers at the Penn State Harrisburg event, quoted former FBI Director John Comey in saying that the Russians “will be back, and they will be bolder.”

That is a scary thought.

If it takes going back to pencils and paper to ensure the sanctity of our elections, so be it.

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