Brack: Don't get conned on postal service, election process

Signed, sealed, delivered


Don't let yourself be conned by the Con Man in Chief: Postal workers will deliver your mailed-in ballot just fine, thank you very much.

In fact, President Donald Trump, who unpatriotically has been denigrating the U.S. Postal Service, believes in mail-in voting so much that he's going to vote (wait for it) by mail.

What Trump is trying to do is make you believe our postal workers, who deliver billions of holiday packages every year, can't effectively deliver several millions of absentee ballots. They can. It will be a walk in the park for them.

Trump is desperately trying to sow the seeds of confusion to make you believe there could be a problem in final results. He assumes Democrats across the country are so eager to see his rear end booted from Washington that they'll vote as early as they can. And he knows if he makes Republicans think there's something wrong with mail-in voting, then they'll tend to vote in person on election day.

Why is this even a thing? Because mail-in ballots take longer to process. On election night, in a close race, in-person results will tumble in first. Initially, it could appear in some states that Trump is ahead, particularly if lots of Democrats vote by mail and GOP voters cast ballots in person. But when absentee ballots are added to election day ballots, Democratic nominee Joe Biden could end up with more votes. That sets the stage for Trump to do what he really wants — to complain the election was "stolen" from him.

Hogwash. It's all a Trump con job.

"Elections in the United States have been the envy of much of the world for a very long time," said Lynn Teague of the League of Women Voters of South Carolina. "Anything involving many millions of people has occasional hiccups, but on the whole, our election processes are tried and true."

In this pandemic year, people want to vote absentee because they don't want to stand in long lines and potentially be exposed to the virus.

"Voters should understand what that means," Teague said. "States that don't permit processing absentee ballots before Election Day will report their results late, possibly quite a few days after Election Day. The results, and the winners, will change as the absentee ballots are counted."

In other words, early outcomes that may seem conclusive early may shift as all ballots are counted.

"This is NOT evidence of incompetence or fraud and it does NOT mean that the election is in some way illegitimate. It is simply the process of vote counting playing out. We hope that the political parties will not mislead voters and that media will not play into misperceptions about this by attempting to 'call' elections before all absentee ballots are counted. This election matters too much to become embroiled in manufactured controversy."

So here's what state legislators need to do when they return next month: Make it easier for South Carolinians to vote absentee by allowing the pandemic as an authorized excuse for a mail-in ballot, just like they did in the primary. And, they need to allow county election officials to start counting the expected deluge of absentee ballots early so there aren't delays in reporting.

Such a process worked in June, S.C. Election Commission Executive Director Marci Andino wrote in a letter to legislative leaders in July: "The primaries were successful overall as voters were able to vote in a timely and efficient manner, and election officials were able to count those votes and report totals on election night."

She requested legislators to allow all voters to vote absentee and be able to apply for an absentee ballot online. She asked for removal of a witness requirement for absentee ballots and to allow use of ballot drop boxes and curbside voting. She also sought more time to count ballots and certify election results.

Legislators: Rise to the occasion and make the changes that worked in the primary so election officials can do their jobs in November. Voters: Trust the system and postal service, not the president's blatant attempt to con you.


Andy Brack is publisher of
Charleston City Paper. Have a comment? Send to: feedback@charlestoncitypaper.com.

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