The repeated threat by Trump that he may not cede power even if the 2020 vote goes against him, accomplishes two things.
First, it normalizes any such refusal should it become necessary. His base has been psychologically groomed for five years to accept the notion that the vote is “rigged” not for Trump but against him and that any actions the Republicans take in response to this rigging, is warranted. I have no doubt that most of this base would now welcome, indeed celebrate, a refusal of Trump to leave office. And, I have no doubt that Republican elected officials would support him.
Second, this repeated harping on the “rigging” of the election, draws out Democrats to deny the assertion. Democrat after Democrat goes on television (just like they did in 2016) asserting that everyone must accept the outcome of the vote as legitimate. In 2016, they did so believing that Hillary Clinton was going to win. Barak Obama was so certain Clinton was going to win, he backed down on telling the American people the truth about Russian interference in the election. Clinton, he is reported to have thought, would sort it out.
2020 seems to be shaping up in very much the same way. Just as in 2016, poll after poll indicates that the Democrat will win. Corporate Democratic strategists and pundits are sending out resumes and planning their second or third home purchase.
But, as Jonathan Simon (election specialist and author of Code Red) has pointed out regarding this election, the Republicans are gaming out several bites at the electoral apple.
By generating massive attention to norm-shattering methods of stealing the election (having the states choose the electors, refusing to leave office, declaring a victory immediately and claiming all the mail-in ballots are false, filing more lawsuits and throwing the race into the Supreme Court) Republicans are successfully deflecting attention away from what is a more insidious enterprise, manipulating the vote count itself.
Election security is not something I ever intended to research. Then, I went to my yearly poll worker training in Georgia. I walked out at lunch convinced that there was something very wrong with the new voting system recently purchased by Brian Kemp’s government.
I am not a technical person, not by any stretch of the imagination a computer person, but even I could tell that the training was focused as much on propaganda as it was on administering an election. For example, signs we had used for years in the polling place were now being thrown away and replaced with “secure the vote” signs. The standard lapel stickers saying “I voted”, was now “I secured my vote.” Why had the state invested all this money in convincing us this vote was secure?
I could also tell that if the things that routinely went wrong with the technology in my own house (printers inexplicably not working, scanners backing up and jamming) went wrong on election day, it was going to be a disaster. It was also evident to me that the measures that were being taken to “secure the vote” were geared toward threats to elections held years ago, before computers entered the picture.
In addition, we were discouraged from asking “political” questions, i.e., how the various computerized machines were programmed, or what kept them secure from being hacked.
Parts of the election technology, the poll books that were supposed to tell us whether a person was registered to vote, wouldn’t even work in the training session. The county official who was in charge of training us to operate this equipment could not get the poll book to work for the entire morning.
The county official first told us that these polling books (computers) were secure because they never left the control of the county election officials, and then when she couldn’t get it to work blamed this on the fact that the polling book had been in somebody else’s control before the training session.
And, then there was the discussion of the printed “ballot” that voters were supposed to check for accuracy before putting it in the scanner. We were told that there would be a designated poll worker who would encourage voters to check their ballots to make sure that the “Ballot Marking Device” had accurately recorded their vote. It was mandatory for each polling place to have readers available, glasses so that people could read the ballots. This was necessary because the print was so small.
I came home disgusted, distressed and feeling like I had been part of a scam. There was just too much push to convince us how secure this new outrageously expensive voting system was. I’ve always been like one of those horses that balks at the gate if you lead them too fast. You start trying too hard to convince me of something, I’m going to yank my head back and jerk the reins out of your hand.
I felt horrible about walking out of the training. The women that run the county elections are wonderful people. The people I had worked with on election day in the past were wonderful, conscientious, dedicated. But I just couldn’t do this one.
So, I started researching. I had run across information before about manipulation of the vote count, especially in the race between Stacey Abrams and Brian Kemp. But, I hadn’t spend much time reading about it. It’s not easy reading for a number of reasons. But I remembered the server that had been wiped clean after the Abrams race when it got down to actually recounting the votes.
The same people who orchestrated the highly suspect election where Kemp beat Abrams were now spending a whole lot of our money trying to convince us that our vote was “secure.” I couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something wrong.
Then, I stumbled across the information (never talked about in the training) that the paper ballot printed out for voters, the paper that had their choices printed on it was not what the scanners counted. The printed words (that were too small to read without glasses) were meaningless. The scanner actually used a bar code at the bottom of the ballot to record the vote. So, this ballot, this thing that the Kemp administration kept telling people was a verifiable paper ballot, was not that at all. When voters were told to check the printed words on the ballot to make sure their votes had been accurately recorded, they were being scammed, conned, fooled. The scanner didn’t pay the least bit of attention to the printed words. It recorded a vote coded into the bar code. The voter couldn’t read the bar code, couldn’t verify it. The election officials couldn’t even read the bar code.
I knew then I was going to have to devote a considerable amount of time trying to understand this.
After following Jennifer Cohn and Jonathan Simon, listening to an interview between the two of them and reading Jonathan Simon’s book “Code Red,” it became evident to me that Georgia was just one part of a national effort by Republicans to steal this election.
That fact becomes more and more evident with every day.