I survey the wreckage of our Democratic electoral process left after Tuesday night’s presidential “debate,” I believe we Democrats must start where we live, and vote, to buttress this election to keep it fair and safe.
As I said last week, we citizens of Pima County and the State of Arizona enjoy enviable and stable election systems managed by public servants committed to allowing everyone to cast their votes. However, we should take the President seriously when his rhetoric about potential voting fraud; and the actions of his enablers and sycophants – such as the Attorney General, the Postmaster General, and various “leaders” of the Republican party very seriously.
It’s time to take proactive steps at our local level, after the President’s remarks on Tuesday evening about “voting fraud” and his message to a documented right-wing hate group to “Stand back and stand by.”
First, we Democrats must continue our efforts to reach out to every registered Democrat and let them know that their vote is important and needed. We must tell them to develop a plan to vote before the polls close on November 3. Our family has such a plan. We are also helping efforts to do a safe canvass of voters on our Legislative District. Help is always appreciated everywhere.
Second, we should encourage our elected officials — city and county – to put law enforcement agencies on alert to ensure that polling places for both early voting and election day are safe and orderly. Polling places should not be allowed to become locations where voters are subject to intimidation as they wait to vote. Vigilante “poll watchers” should not be allowed inside polling places under any circumstances. It’s unnecessary to have law enforcement officers at a polling place constantly. Still, law enforcement should be ready to respond promptly to election officials’ calls if illegal and disruptive activity occurs at a polling place.
Third, when polls close, ballots and voter information must be safely transported to the election center where votes are tabulated. The workers there need to be secure and feel safe. Procedures already exist for a reasonable number of observers from both parties to witness counting and tabulation processes. This should not include gun-toting, self-appointed “militia observers,” but reasonable and responsible people sanctioned by party leaders.
I recommend that our Party leadership specifically encourage our elected officials in city and county government to see that these recommended steps be taken. A show of local government action to assure a safe and unbiased election will go a long way toward undoing the anxiety and suspicion engendered by the President’s false and unfounded statements.
After Tuesday night and considering the President’s earlier remarks, I don’t think this is alarmist. I believe it’s being prepared given the rhetoric and the actions swirling around us.