FREE ELECTIONS; FREE PEOPLE?
The presidential elections fiasco of 2000 resulted in the stealing of the election from the
people’s choice. Antiquated machines, antiquated procedures, and a partisan vote in the
Supreme Court assured us of at least four years of questionable legitimacy in the Whitehouse.
Florida was just the tip of the iceberg. It is likely
that the uncounted Democratic votes outnumbered the uncounted Republican ones nationwide by
millions – but no one will ever know. The real margin of victory in Florida was estimated at
20,000 for the Democrats – again estimated. And then there was the shoddy handling of military
ballots which would probably have gone the other way in unknown numbers. Who really won? And
how many other races were affected by the same sloppy procedures?
At the time I pointed with pride to recounts done in several tightly contested Maine elections,
recounts in which I heard no partisan voice raised saying that determining the true will of the
voters was somehow detrimental to the cause of freedom. I sneered at those states that
couldn’t even manage their elections properly. Maine, I decided with
parochial pride, was civilized.
Then came the 2002 elections. A disputed count in this election would determine which party
had the majority in the state Senate. The seating of a majority in the Maine Senate is not as big a
deal as the seating of a president, but it is pretty important to due process in this state.
The issues at stake are significant to us here.
The legal procedures in Maine were at least clear, if incredible; first, the apparent winner
was seated. Next, based upon the then majority in the Senate, a committee was selected to
examine the ballots in question and determine a winner. The apparent winner was a Democrat
giving that party a one-vote majority in the Senate – and on the all-important committee. Guess
who was declared winner? If you said the Republican – well, you didn’t. Nobody with the
literacy skills to read this far would be that dumb.
Let’s cut the horsemanure, folks. All public officials are elected with minorities, partly
because so many of the voters doubt, evidently with reason, the integrity of both the electoral
process and the political process. We cannot survive as a free society without maintaining – or
achieving – integrity in the electoral process. Next we’ll work on integrity in the political