by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Editors at National Review Online explain why they believe official vote counts should be completed Tuesday.
In nearly every area of American life, the 21st century has accustomed us to faster service, faster delivery, and faster information. We get news as it happens, not from the evening news, the next day’s newspaper, or even the next hour’s broadcast. We get movies on demand at home, not months after their release or from rental stores or mailed DVDs. We get same-day deliveries of books, groceries, even furniture. We can order coffee from our phones so it’s ready when we reach the front of the line. We can hold instant arguments with strangers a thousand miles away over politics.
Yet somehow, the counting of votes only seems to get slower. Worse, the glacial pace at which some cities and states count votes is ever more visible to voters. Websites and cable news can keep us glued to screens as the tallies rise, and then stop, before those counting go to bed for the night, or even sometimes subtract things that were added to the count by error. The marriage of more transparency for the totals with less speed and the necessary limits on transparency of the counting process itself have combined to provide all sorts of dry tinder for rigged-election conspiracy theories, especially when there are patterns of tranches of Democratic votes being counted last. Demagogues have been predictably swift in throwing lit matches.
Different jurisdictions have different problems. Blue cities are almost always the last in their states to report tallies. New York and California seem to count in geologic time. Republican state legislatures in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have resisted the pre-canvassing of mailed-in ballots, a procedure used in Florida and other states to expedite the counting of those ballots on Election Night. Liberal activist courts have been barred by federal law since 2002 from holding the polls open late in favored locales, but they still create mischief in other ways. …