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OpinionEditorial

Disrespecting the votes and the voters

Democracy demands we count all the ballots.

Votes are still being tallied in some states,

Votes are still being tallied in some states, including Georgia and Florida. Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images / Robyn Beck

Here’s the most important thing to understand about the vote counts and recounts taking place in Georgia and Florida: This is how the process plays out. It’s how we do things in America. A slow count or required recount doesn’t mean something nefarious is going on. It means we believe every vote must be counted.

Assertions of voter fraud in Florida, coming mostly from Republicans, so far have no basis in fact. They damage the nation’s trust in the electoral process. President Donald Trump tweeted that only the election-night count matters, which would produce GOP wins in races for senator and governor but void absentee ballots arriving late but legally — like those from military members overseas.

In the Senate race in Arizona, it took time to count paper ballots mailed in by three-quarters of state voters. With no evidence, Trump cited “corruption” as Democrat Kyrsten Sinema overtook Republican Martha McSally, who conceded when the result was clear. That’s how it ought to be.

Meanwhile, voters around the country have been approving referendums to make voting easier, as it should be. And Georgia and Kansas tried to suppress voting, particularly among minority voters. That’s despicable.

New York’s problems include 19th-century laws on ballot design that forced a two-page ballot in NYC, which led to poll confusion and scanner breakdowns. And voting here is too difficult. Reform is overdue. Early voting, even just one weekend day, must be adopted. Ditto no-excuse absentee voting, and those mail-in ballots should mirror election-day ballots so they can be fed into scanners for easy election-night tallying. Voting reform should be top of the agenda for the new State Legislature in January.

Another problem: board of election incompetence, from Broward County to NYC. These patronage pits must be professionalized. Poll workers must be better-trained and more machines made available for expected high turnouts. There is no excuse for voters receiving bad advice, enduring long lines, and leaving without casting a ballot.

Voting is our precious right. We should do whatever we can to respect, protect and expand it.

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