Thursday, November 05, 2020

Republicans Keep Whining About Slow Vote-Counting In Pennsylvania, But It's Their Fault. They Said "No" A Few Months Ago When Democrats Proposed Making The Process Speedier

The counting of votes continues in several states, including Pennsylvania. Republicans have claimed (without one iota of evidence) fraud is occurring because of the slowness of the counting. However, the counting process is slow for one reason and only one reason: Republicans insisted it be that way.

Why isn't that fact known to everyone? Eric Boehlert (Press Run) points out that numerous media outlets, including National Public Radio, the Washington Post, and Politico, all (somehow?) failed to give their readers and listeners this essential information regarding the delay.

National Public Radio recently reported that Pennsylvania "officials had their hands tied by state laws that did not allow for such preparation." But NPR never explained which party tied the hands of officials to make sure early votes would not be processed and counted ahead of time. . . .

"Pennsylvania's governor pleaded for patience Tuesday night as his state began counting votes in a contest with the potential to decide it all in this year's presidential race," the Washington Post reported, but failed in the article to detail which party was to blame for the fact that "state law prohibited any counting of absentee ballots until Tuesday morning." 

This detailed Politico report on the Pennsylvania count included no context about why it was taking so long. Meanwhile, countless cable news reports on the tabulations in Pennsylvania do so without explaining why the state had excess votes to count after Election Day. 

All 50 states rightly expected a substantial increase in mail-in ballots because of the out-of-control pandemic (caused by Trump's deliberate lack of response and broadcasting of harmful and incorrect information) and would need additional time to get them counted. As NPR reported, "Election officials need to verify signatures, open envelopes, separate ballots from secrecy sleeves and sort them — all before they're fed through tabulators."

Pennsylvania law states early ballots cannot be opened and counted until Election Day. Two-thirds of states allow officials to begin counting votes prior to Election Day. Pennsylvania officials asked to do the same. The Republican-controlled state legislature said No (because at that point, they believed saying no would make it easier to fix the state for Trump).

Ben Mathis-Lilley (Slate) asks: Why is it taking so maddeningly long to count votes in Pennsylvania? 

The Republican-held state legislature blocked Democrats from changing rules to allow early votes and mail-in ballots to be pre-processed . . . for easier counting. The Philadelphia Inquirer just published a blow-by-blow of how that happened, going back to June . . .

• In June, with concerns growing that the pandemic would scare many people off from voting in person, the state House considered a bill that would allow pre-processing to begin three weeks before Election Day rather than on Election Day.

• The Republican-controlled chamber approved a version of that bill that would have allowed pre-processing to begin three days before Election Day—but would also have banned the use of drop boxes that would allow voters to submit early ballots without using the postal system. Such drop boxes have been used heavily all over the country this year without being involved in any known cases of fraud.

• Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf refused to accept Republicans' offer—which was, basically, pre-processing in exchange for making it harder to vote. So the bill died in the state Senate, which is also Republican-controlled. Republicans refused to consider a House bill introduced by a Democrat that would have simply created a 10-day pre-processing window without any other conditions.
Amazingly, the Republican leader of the Pennsylvania Senate held a press conference on Wednesday and called for the resignation of the Democratic secretary of state how long the vote count was taking. That takes some balls.

Mathis-Lilley adds:
In Pennsylvania's Allegheny County, there are mail-in ballots that need to be reviewed by a special board that, by statute, cannot begin working until Friday. The reason those ballots need to be reviewed is that the company that was contracted to send them out initially sent 30,000 voters the wrong ballots; those votes now require extra scrutiny to make sure no one double-voted or voted in the wrong races because of the mistake. The Ohio-based company that made the mistake is owned by Trump supporters who, at one point, flew a Trump 2020 flag over its headquarters.

In summary, the Trump campaign is responsible for the long counting period that the Trump campaign and its supporters are now complaining about, because its plan was to force a Bush v. Gore–style shutdown of the count. But because of the total lack of any plausible legal reason to do so . . . it has not been able to get any traction to actually carry out its plan.

As I noted, in response to another Press Run report on the AP's shameful work on Election Night:

It's not a question of "Why can't reporters learn how to do their jobs?" Reporters know how to do their jobs, of course. And when they don't do their jobs, it's a deliberate act.

"The AP committed the cardinal sin of reproducing Trump's lies as news, without first informing readers the comments and assertions are untrue. The AP allowed Trump to promote the thoroughly false claim about the extended election needing judicial oversight because of fraudulent voter behavior. To date, there's absolutely zero proof of fraud taking place."

It is simply not possible for the top political reporters in the country to keep making the same mistakes over and over and over again for years and years. When they print unchecked or obvious lies as headlines, when they downplay Trump's mental illness or pretend to not know he is unfit for public office, when they "both sides" a subject that has only one side, they know what they are doing.

It's more logical to believe in a flat earth than a liberal media.

(Also: "Liberal" is not a fixed definition. It's subjective and is understood only in relation to something else. What you think is liberal, what a Fox viewer thinks is liberal, and what I think is liberal are probably three different things. At least two, anyway.)

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