Stangl

Well, that was quite an election, wasn’t it?

As I write this, the vote counting in the presidential race is continuing and neither candidate has reached the required 270 electoral votes to be president.

The extended time it has taken to count the record number of mail in and absentee ballots has provided additional stress to a process that frankly didn’t need anymore stress. But every vote must be counted. This is true in any election from the school board to the presidency. It is a fundamental tenet of our nation and needs to be defended.

Every election cycle, there is a push to get people to be involved. Voter registration drives are held and public service announcements from celebrities and sports figures are aired. It seems we want as many people as possible to participate in elections and cast votes.

That’s one of the reasons the 2020 election is taking more time to resolve than other recent elections. A lot of people voted in this election. It’s the way people voted and the systems in place to deal with absentee ballots that have caused delays in counting in some areas.

With the coronavirus pandemic continuing unabated, many chose to vote absentee. Traditionally, the number of absentee ballots in an election are a small fraction of the total votes cast. Dealing with the strict regulations regarding the handling of these ballots is manageable when the numbers are low. When they increase, it becomes more of an issue to store and process the ballots.

Then there’s the issue of 50 different states dealing with absentee ballots in their own way.

We are a nation of states and residents of each state elect officials to come up with the way many things are done, including elections. Some states did not allow ballots postmarked by election day to be counted if they arrived after Nov. 3. Court rulings have allowed some states to count ballots postmarked Nov. 3 to be counted as late as the end of the week. Some states allow absentee ballots to be opened and processed as they arrive, other force election officials to store the ballots until election day. Some states allow these waiting ballots to be removed from their envelopes, others don’t.

The way laws read concerning the handling of these ballots vary and in a normal year, it probably wouldn’t have much of an impact on the election. But this isn’t a normal year.

I voted absentee this year. It was easy and took much less time than potentially waiting in line to cast an in person ballot. It turns out, I wasn’t the only one. Nationally, over half the number of people who voted in the last presidential election voted absentee or in person during early voting, an estimated 69 million.

That’s a lot of counting.

I read Florida changed the way it counts after the 2000 presidential election and had enough of its results in so the results were known Tuesday night. Hopefully after the dust has settled from the 2020 race, states will look at policies and procedures regarding the counting of absentee and mail in ballots and find a way to expedite the process without sacrificing the safety or integrity of the election process.

We need to have at least one silver lining from 2020.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.