stock image with example of mail in ballot

Mail In Voting Is Secure And Fraud Resistant – Writer’s Lounge

 

Mail In Voting Is Secure And Fraud Resistant – Writer’s Lounge

This week, (impeached) president Trump amped up his gambit designed to discredit what he now sees as the inevitable outcome of the election in November. He’s been persistently attempting to undermine the election process in America for months now.   

 Trump upped the ante this week, with various public statements, including this tweet, which engendered a fierce reaction from a wide sampling of the political spectrum, with the exception of Trump’s core voting base.

Most remarkable was the reaction from the likes of Federalist Society leader, Steven Calabresi, whose rebuttal to Trump’s innuendo about delaying the election, was published in the New York Times.

Calabresi told readers that:

“Until recently, I had taken as political hyperbole the Democrats’ assertion that President Trump is a fascist,” the conservative legal scholar wrote. “But this latest tweet is fascistic and is itself grounds for the president’s immediate impeachment again by the House of Representatives and his removal from office by the Senate.”

George Conway, fellow Federalist member, husband of Trump media flak Kellyanne Conway and father of Claudia Conway (who also has been torching Donald Trump), responded to Calabresi’s editorial enthusiastically,

Trump, a hostile occupier of the highest office in the land, who admires the arbitrary power of dictators and strongmen, and who constantly tests the atmosphere to see how far he can push his impulses, is seen by most observers as attempting to poison the well regarding the results of the upcoming election, despite there being no scenario in which he would be permitted to remain in the White House beyond January 20 of next year.

“Everyone knows mail-in ballots are a disaster.”

– (impeached president Donald Trump)

The core of his argument is a false proposition; the assertion being that mail in ballots are vulnerable to manipulation by Democrats and foreign countries.

One rebuttal to that fiction, comes from George Stern, Clerk and Recorder in Jefferson County, Colorado. Stern, in a CNN editorial, outlines the many layers of the onion that are incorporated into the security protocols designed to thwart illegal voting.

Whereas Trump asserts, “Mail-In Ballots will lead to massive electoral fraud”, Stern objects that in fact:

In Colorado, candidates, political parties and issue committees appoint election watchers to observe teams of bipartisan judges, who are tasked with verifying every voter’s signature on the back of the ballot envelope before they move on to opening each one. Those signatures are checked against the ones we have on file, which include those that were submitted when voters registered to vote. If the signature doesn’t match, the vote is set aside for further investigation. It’s that simple.

As to “illegitimate ballots” conceivably introduced into the incoming mail stream by foreign entities, Stern points out:

Because we compare the signatures on to the ballot envelopes to the signatures on file, it is extremely difficult to introduce illegitimate ballots into the system. Illegitimate ballots could conceivably show up in our office’s mail, but our bipartisan election judges would catch the lack of signature or a fraudulent signature, and would remove the ballot envelope from the process before even opening it. (That ballot envelope would then be turned over to the district attorney for investigation, and the data mentioned above indicates how rarely the DA has to investigate election fraud.)

Among other safeguards added to the mix, is the fact that election officials in the hundreds of voting districts, employ a mix of styles of ballots and envelopes and have unique codes that are passed through off-line scanning systems for verification that they are in fact, the self same ballots that the individual district has issued to voters. 

These and many other components are models for mail in voting across the nation and many of them are already widely incorporated and can be adopted as needed before the election. But the fact remains, there is no evidence in existence that there now exists any of the risks of or history of voter fraud involving mail in ballots.

Mail in ballots as opposed to “absentee ballots” involve a distinction without an essential difference. The simple distinction is that in some of the states, election officials mail ballots to everyone that is already in the registration system.

There is nothing sinister or conspiratorial in any of this, except what we are seeing coming from Trump in his attempt to subvert the essential basis of our democracy – the universal enfranchisement of the vote for each of our citizens and the peaceful transition of power.

And on Friday, in a closed door meeting between lawmakers and intelligence officials, cold water was poured on Trump’s assertions regarding the prospects of a “rigged election.” 

The Department of Homeland Security’s office that assesses and responds to internal and external threats to systems that are critical to elections and protecting sensitive data , the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) – issued an assessment on mail-in voting Friday afternoon — shortly after Trump’s prediction that China and Russia would “forge ballots”
It was obvious that the report was alluding to Trump’s behavior of late and over time:
“Mail-in voting has already become an issue among partisan political voices, which makes it a target for threat actors to exploit.  These threat actors may mislead and confuse the public about the mechanics of mail-in voting, and leverage limited understanding regarding mail-in voting processes, in order to cause chaos and provoke distrust in the election administration and electoral results.”

It’s clear that the intelligence officials that authored this report, see in Trump’s irresponsible and fictitious rhetoric, the actual risk being that the counter-intelligence actors in Russia and China and elsewhere, will exploit his statements to destroy confidence in our election processes.

Bill Evanina, the top official in the CISA, told committee members in his statement, that tampering with votes and corrupting the intent of the voter, is “extraordinarily difficult.” Evanina expanded on that observation, adding:

“The diversity of election systems among the states, multiple checks and redundancies in those systems, and post-election auditing all make it extraordinarily difficult for foreign adversaries to broadly disrupt or change vote tallies without detection.”

by Richard Cameron Link to Richard's Facebook Profile Link to Richard's twitter profile  


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Concussion

Rated PG-13 for thematic material including some disturbing images, and language.

Available on most streaming services

promotional image of the film, "Concussion" starring Will Smith

It’s been said that, when you poke the bear, prepare to be attacked, and even bitten on occasion. This is what happened in the 2000’s, when a Pittsburgh doctor took on the might of the National Football League, exposing what was perhaps one of the greatest medical cover-ups in sports history.

Based on the GQ article, “Game Brain,” – “Concussion” tells the story of a Pittsburgh pathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu, who, during a routine examination of deceased Pittsburgh Steeler and Hall of Famer Mike Webster, re-discovers CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

A native of Nigeria, Dr. Omalu (Will Smith) begins seeing a pattern of massive brain damage in deceased Pittsburgh Steeler’s players he examined after death. Men suffering from serious mental conditions, such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and even schizophrenia despite having no prior history of mental illness. Men who died young, and often tragically.

With the blessing of his mentor, Dr. Cyril Wecht (Albert Brooks), and support from his wife, Prema (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), and former Pittsburgh Steelers doctor, Julian Bailes (Alec Baldwin), Dr. Omalu takes his findings to the National Football League.

What begins is an uphill battle with the sports/capitalist complex, everyday Americans, and even the federal government, to expose a major health catastrophe, long covered up by the same forces Dr. Omalu is determined to help.

While most Will Smith films are hit or miss at best, “Concussion” is one of his hits. Nominated for an Oscar for his role, Smith captures all facets of Omalu’s character; his intelligence and devotion to truth, faith, tenacity, his desire to be a “true American,” and tenderness toward Prema.

Through his eyes, we also witness the ruthlessness of power. Determined to keep the real suffering of their players a secret, the NFL, and the sports/capitalist complex in general, is determined to shut Dr. Omalu down by any means necessary, even though government intimidation.

Dr. Omalu’s response to these efforts is captured best in a dialogue early in the film, painting the brilliant portrayal of a man who places people before profit.

“Do you know what history does to people? Trained physicians, who ignore science? History laughs. If you continue to deny my work, the world will deny my work. But men, your men, continue to die. Their families left in ruins.”

He ends with perhaps one of the most chilling statements of any film to date, “Tell the truth. Tell the truth.”

When the faith of this immigrant, progressive Christian is challenged in ways few of us can ever imagine, Dr. Omalu finds the strength and support he needs in his wife. She offers these beautiful, provocative words.

“If you don’t speak for the dead, who will? You are of the Igbo tribe, Bennet. When you have the truth, the thing you are told you cannot do is the thing you must do. Embrace that, and nothing created by man can bring you down.”

In the end, the truth comes out as more and more former and current players continue dying, dramatically, tragically, and without explanation, throughout the 2000’s.

These tragic, high-profile deaths catch the attention of the federal government, at last willing to take Dr. Omalu’s findings, and the NFL cover-up seriously.

To this day we don’t know how many have suffered needlessly, or for how long the NFL knew about it. Never the less, Dr. Omalu’s story gives us all the hope that, no matter how rich, powerful or well-connected; the truth always finds a way out.

by Tiffany Elliott



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