TIPP: American elections must be called on election night

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By TIPP EDITORIAL BOARD, TIPP Insights

Eight agonizing days and nights after the 2022 midterm elections were held, the New York Times finally called the race for the House of Representatives for the Republicans. Although the balance of power equation in the Senate is now sealed, the Alaskan Senate contest is yet to be decided. Incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) is expected to eke out a win against GOP challenger Kelly Tshibaka under the state’s new ranked-choice voting system.

The world’s oldest democracy and wealthiest country can and should do better. Even in heavily contested districts, voters should know the results before they brew their first-morning coffee the day after. Any other outcome is unacceptable.

Liberals scream at this thought. During the Gore v. Bush fiasco, the world waited five weeks before the Supreme Court stopped the Democrats’ efforts to take a state-wide recount in Florida and handed the election to Bush. Then, the Democrats created their mantra to which they adhere to this day: “All votes should be counted!”

By insisting on the word all, the Democrats make it a well-polled talking point that anything less than “all” inherently discriminates against the poor and communities of color. The media has embellished this narrative over the years, further fueling the Democrats’ frenzy when people debate election reform.

No one is suggesting that any vote be excluded. But requiring voters to submit their choices before the polls close is a reasonable stipulation. The “Compelling Interest” principle applies. The interests of the state and every voter in the country who voted on time should overtake those whose votes are not in by election night, even if such action may burden some voters.

The case in Maricopa County last week is a prime example. Some voting machines were faulty and Republican activists filed an emergency motion to a state judge to extend polling for a few hours. The judge refused, saying that Arizona law was clear and that the erroneous machines did not constitute a sufficient-enough emergency to alter poll station times. Extending the times at one booth could give some who showed up late at the voting booth for the first time an unfair advantage.

In effect, the judge disallowed the principle of allowing all votes to be cast, even though voters were not at fault, under the principle that the state’s interests to protect election integrity outweigh the former’s interests.

So, if a walk-in at an electoral booth is denied the chance to cast a vote after the polls close, why do states extend the courtesy to absentee voters to mail ballots postmarked as late as Election day?

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, ultra-Left states like California, Maryland, New York, and D.C. are over-generous in accepting mail-in ballots after Election Day. In Illinois, ballots must be received within 14 days of the election if postmarked on or before Election Day. These states have deviated from 30 states, including liberal states such as Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont, which require that mail-in ballots be received by the close of polls on Election Day.

The idea of postmarked mail has a tradition of acceptance by government agencies. Tax returns must be postmarked before 11:59 p.m. on April 15. It is customary to see postal employees stand at mailboxes on April 15 to postmark these returns so that taxpayers are assured that their returns were accepted before the deadline.

Ultra-liberal states should change their laws to require that votes arrive at the counting station no later than election night. Postmarked mail can continue to have relevance in an election if that date is set about a week before election day. A bank does not care about when a credit card payment is postmarked; it only cares about when the payment arrives.

If these states feel that changing laws is a burden, they should invest in infrastructure to encourage voters to mail their ballots early enough so their votes have a meaningful chance of being counted. States could enlist the U.S. Postal Service for specialized ballot pickup runs using dedicated postal vehicles.

If voters hand over their ballots to the specialized mail carrier, they should be assured that their votes will be counted; otherwise, they will not. The latter case is not dissimilar to someone who rushes to the booth an hour before polls close. They might make it, or they might not.

A significant election integrity issue for the last two elections has been that ballots begin arriving at counting centers long after election night when the country returned to work. In Nevada last week, the Republican challenger for the Senate seat was up by 5 points on Election Day.

Nevada has one of the most bizarre rules pushed through by Democratic operatives during the 2020 election. Ballots must be received by 5 p.m. on the fourth day following the election if postmarked by Election Day. Worse, ballots with unclear postmarks received by the third day following the election are deemed to have been postmarked on or before Election Day.

Bad actors can safely dump boxes of ballots after Election Day, knowing they will be treated as valid.

And to sow doubts among election skeptics, the Republican slowly gave up his 5-point lead and finally lost to the Democrat incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto.

READ MORE BY TIPP INSIGHTS

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