Two of former President Donald Trump’s most prominent allies are leading a coordinated, multistate effort to probe for election system weaknesses in Texas and other key states ahead of November’s midterm election. https://t.co/IBj2zB5zEK— Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) September 30, 2022
“If France can do it, we can do it!” shouted Steve Bannon, Trump’s former White House chief strategist, on his “War Room” podcast earlier this year. Mike Lindell, his guest and a prominent conspiracy theorist who is also the owner of My Pillow, agreed. “Terminate the machines!” Lindell yelled. There are several differences between French and U.S. elections that make hand-counting more effective in that country.
In France, the election was a single contest. Voters selected a candidate card and stuffed it in an envelope. Those cards were then placed into piles for each candidate and counted. “It’s certainly easier than the U.S., where there are often many more races you are dealing with,” said David Levine, elections integrity fellow at the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund.
The voting population of France is 48.7 million. About 35 million voted in the last election there. In 2020 158.4 million Americans voted; across six time zones. France has one time zone. France also has, as that paragraph above states, a fairly simple ballot.
The ballot in Texas I will face this November includes one Federal House district, a state Senate and House District, and a Texas Board of Education district. In addition to that, there are 14 state offices I can vote for, including Justices on the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. So, 18 envelopes, if we use the French method. And I have to show up somewhere to cast those votes. No mail-in voting, no early voting.
And that's just for Texas. In a mid-term vote, with no US Senator on the ballot.
I've voted on machines all my life. It's convenient, and clutter free. Imagine 18 envelopes per voter (or just one, large enough to hold 18, or more, cards), and the people it would take to keep all that organized. Imagine the number of cards a voter would have to select from: upwards of five for one office alone, so easily close to 100 choices to make, in cards, not circles on a piece of paper or boxes on a screen. And that's just the number of cards they need available for me. Obviously I don't need them all, but what if they run out of my choice for an office?
We rely on volunteers as election judges around here; mostly retired people who can sit still all day ("Hello!"). We'd need multiples of 10 more for each polling place, as well as far more equipment/boxes/space just to handle all that paper, both to get it to the voter, and get it back again. The spaces I'm familiar with now get very crowded with voters voting at machines, or waiting in line to get into the room with the machines. Turn all those machines to 10's of 1000's of paper cards coming and going, and you'd need warehouse space for every polling location.
Sure, we could do that. Why would we think that was more reliable, though? Or, for that matter, less confusing? I mean, if you're going to suspect the "algorithm" (quick: somebody get Mike Lindell to define "algorithm" in a way that means something to a computer programmer) is going to skew the vote, who's to say nefarious clerks aren't checking envelopes and switching cards behind closed doors? Aside from voters being confused as to which card to put where.
Honestly, all this smoke and mirrors about "election integrity" is just the same racist bafflegab that led to the Voting Rights Act (Gone But Not Forgotten!). The same impetus is still there: don't let the "wrong people" vote! They don't deserve it! This country belongs to the crazy rich white men, and they're gonna keep it!
If we let them.