Tom Evslin: Most of us will be somewhat disappointed by election results

This commentary is by Tom Evslin of Stowe, an entrepreneur, author and former Douglas administration official. It is republished from the Fractals of Change blog.

The only certainty about Tuesday’s election is that almost half of us are certain to be disappointed by the results. If Rs win the House and Ds keep the Senate, more than half of us will be disappointed. Local results have the potential to add each of us to the disappointed ranks.

So are we going to act like Donald Trump and Stacey Adams and refuse to recognize defeat? Are we going to question the legitimacy of those we didn’t vote for? Are we going to blame fraud, lies, media bias, advertising, the Russians, or someone else? Are we going to help assure that elected leaders fail or will we hope they succeed for the good of the country even if we’d like to replace them in the next election?

Tom Evslin

There have been and will be fraud, lies, media bias, advertising and the Russians at least exist. There should be recounts in close elections. There should be swift and thorough investigations of fraud and suppression allegations with prosecutions of any guilty parties resulting. Faith in elections must be constantly validated.

Media bias and lying politicians of all stripes have been with us since the birth of the republic — and in its predecessors. They don’t invalidate elections. We’re the jury and we must decide whom to believe about what. That’s the way democracy (and advertising) works.

In these very polarized times (but not most polarized times — we did have a civil war), it’s easy for people on either side to be incredulous that the other side really won. “Everybody I know voted for HRC. Trump could have only won because the Russians got to the deplorables.” Or “Everybody I know voted for Trump. Biden could only have won because of boatloads of fake ballots and rigged voting machines.”

Back when I was a kid in Brooklyn, we knew the Dodger’s woulda won if we wuzn’t robbed by duh tree blind mice (umpires). We didn’t take ourselves too seriously, though, and learned to wait until next year.

Voting is the best defense of democracy; neither side has a monopoly on either democratic virtue or totalitarian vice. Policing elections against both rigging and intimidation is essential and is nothing new. Accepting the fact that your fellow citizens decided to vote differently than you and everybody you know wants them to act is what ultimately makes this country work. Then you wait for next year and work like hell to vote the bastards out — assuming you haven’t changed your mind.

Good luck to the USA Tuesday. May the best people (or the lesser of evils) win every race.

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16 thoughts on “Tom Evslin: Most of us will be somewhat disappointed by election results

  1. Elections are incredibly important and the only way of fairly having citizens choose their leaders. The validity of elections in Vermont are verified by the fact that the most important Democratic leader, Speaker of the House Mitz Johnson in the last election lost her seat by a few vote margin to a Republican. She requested a re-count and the results were the same.There have also been narrow elections in many other contests often separated by as narrow as one vote as has been the case in some Central Vermont House contests over the years.

    To throw up our hands and say all is corrupt is to give in to dispair. Work to get out the vote and support the candidates who themselves have the courage to put themselves out there. Challenges to precieved problems must be made and examined and then, when the results are in and the courts make their rulings, should be respected.

    • A false dichotomy – again.

      Recounting votes that aren’t verified as being legally cast only verifies the vote count to be accurate, not the legitimacy of the voter who cast the vote in the first place. The problem we have is with an over-simplified mail-in ballot process. Counting and recounting bogus ballots only ensures that the bogus ballots were accurately counted.

      In the past, there was a stringent identification process for any request for an absentee ballot. Today, the State, not local Town Clerks, mail ballots to every name on every town’s voter checklist, without any verification the voter exists. And while the ballot envelope must be signed (ostensibly) by the voter, there is no way to match the voter to the ballot because Towns don’t have signature files on each voter.

      And again, its not that we can’t trust our local election workers to do the right thing. The problem is that they don’t have the tools to do the right thing in the first place.

      And another common false dichotomy is the claim that any verification process is a form of voter suppression – when, in fact, a verifiable voter identification process only suppresses illegitimate votes.

      • According to the Secretary of State’s website, “It is unlawful to give fasle information concerning your qualifications to be a registered voter in a town or city in Vermont”. “The penalities are serious, including penalties of up to a $10,000 fine or imprisonment for not more than 15 years or both”.
        When registering, you need to provide a photo copy of a valid ID.

        It would be interesting to know how many people have been caught and prosecuted for not being properly registered voters in Vermont. Senator Randy Brock wrote about this issue some 15 years in a VTDigger commentary ago finding a extremely small number, but given how very small numbers can make a difference in legislative contests, it would be worth knowing more current information.

        • Come on, man – Mr. Freitag, when are you going to stop with the false dichotomies and deflections from the topic at hand?

          We’re not talking about fraudulent ‘registration’. Registration is an entirely different aspect to this discussion. Oaths are self-administered. Virtually any form of ID is acceptable. Signatures aren’t required – or kept on file.

          The point, again, is that it doesn’t matter if someone fraudulently registers to vote. How can anyone discover the fraud? And you’ll still never be able to verify if a given ballot is actually cast by a duly registered voter, because the verification process doesn’t exist. This is but one of the nasty Catch 22s of our automated election system.

          If, for example, someone leaves the State, notifies the Town Clerk that they’ve left, and the Town Clerk fails to correct the voter checklist, who is deemed to have breached the law? Does the Town Clerk go to jail and pay a $10K fine… for every occurrence? Can Vermont extradite the voter who left the State unannounced? Talk about closing the barn door after the cows have gotten loose.

          What we CAN prove is that the process is flawed. And anyone who says otherwise is either delusional or … well, you get the idea.

          • With all due respect, I think you may be overstating the case. Virtually any form of ID are not accepted and the types there are such as a Vermont Drivers licenses, passports and other government documents, all require an adressed that can be verified.
            Boards of Civil Authority on a regular basis purge town voter check lists and require for those whom there are questions to prove that they still meet the requirements of residency.
            Senator Brock who actually did data comparisons found only one possible case for instance of some one who was deceased who had a vote cast in their name. Brock also used voting data to see if people voted in more than one state. There were some, primarily former students, but very few. See his VTDigger commentary.

            The point is there are some safeguards. There are also actions as shown by Senator Brock and others that can and should be taken to ensure the integrity of elections even if we do not believe in mailing ballots to all registered voters.

          • Re: “With all due respect, I think you may be overstating the case. Virtually any form of ID are not accepted and the types there are such as a Vermont Drivers licenses, passports and other government documents, all require an adressed that can be verified.”

            – Valid photo ID (driver’s license or passport)
            – Current utility bill
            – Current bank statement
            – Another government document

            Another government document??? And are the addresses verified? Who knows how thorough the BCA and Town Clerks are without looking over their shoulder?

            Re: “Boards of Civil Authority on a regular basis purge town voter check lists and require for those whom there are questions to prove that they still meet the requirements of residency.”

            BCAs and Town Clerks are supposed to purge voter checklists on a regular basis. Anecdotally, however, only under the recent scrutiny has our Town Clerk exercised this task with any fervor, and I still find illegitimate voters on our checklist every year.

            Re: “Senator Brock who actually did data comparisons found only one possible case for instance of some one who was deceased who had a vote cast in their name. Brock also used voting data to see if people voted in more than one state. There were some, primarily former students, but very few. See his VTDigger commentary.”

            Senator Brock’s 2005 audit of the voter registration system was not as you describe. His conclusion begins… “The Secretary of State’s office did not develop the statewide voter checklist system in a manner that is consistent with well-recognized information technology practices. As a result, the system is at risk of not working as intended at needed performance levels.”

            And yes, in Vermont’s small towns at least, hand counting ballots is more practical than in larger towns. But again, hand counting only verifies the count, not the veracity of the ballot. Only canvasing can do that.

            For anyone interested, here is Brock’s audit report.
            https://auditor.vermont.gov/sites/auditor/files/files/reports/performance-audits/Voter-Checklist.pdf

            And, of course, none of this discussion addresses the use (and abuse) of vote tabulating machines. This recently posted documentary on the subject is well worth the watch. https://selectioncode.com/

  2. I’m disappointed in the election process, not its outcome. The outcome is irrelevant because it can’t be verified. No one can claim an election has been stolen because that can’t be proven one way or the other. And no one can claim an election has been fair because that can’t be proven either. What we can prove is that the process is flawed. And anyone who says otherwise is either delusional or a liar.

    • Vermont Town Clerks are not allowed to have any ID, signature, date of birth, residence info, etc., on file in their offices.
      https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/state-and-local-election-reforms-are-long-overdue

      All they are allowed to have is affidavits that ask you various question to get registered as a voter

      THER IS NO SECRET BALLOT IN VERMONT

      If you put your name, and sign, and date the ballot envelope, anyone who opens the envelope can look at your ballot and quickly classify you as Dem, Rep, Prog or Independent and send that info to Condos, and his elves, who know what to do.

      Vermont has only 645,000 inhabitants, including illegals, legal non-citizens, etc.
      About 18%, or 117,000 people are less than 18 years old

      That leaves 528,000 possible voters, but illegals are not allowed to vote, non-citizens are not allowed to vote in federal election, such as for US Senator, and US House representative, and many people do not bother to vote.

      Why are out-of-state students allowed to vote in Vermont?
      It is likely they also vote in their own state.

      Mailed-out ballots were 442,000, per Condos
      That is a much greater number than for the 2020 Presidential Election

  3. Mr. Evslin is originally from Brooklyn, NY? Were you and Bernie neighbors? Classmates? I know they say the water down there makes great tasting bagels and pizza dough. It must also be the reason why the NY well-to-doers set up shop here to pontificate on how much smarter and richer they are than the average Vermonter. Hence the moniker, flatlander.

  4. Stacey Adams, you mean Abrams not Adams, don’t know how you could miss her with a nick name like TANK ABRAMS…and Donald has a valid point when the election totals in counties of 25 states had over votes.and videos of ballot stuffing.and unprecedented stopping of the ballot count and widespread mail in votes.
    I’ve long lost hope for a responsible government here since the 70’s influx of leftist sheep who would follow Commifornia over the cliff of Reason, but i will continue my effort of voting to save our Constitutional Republic not the Democratcy….

  5. I dont like this guy. Its no suprise he’s from Stowe. Charlotte or Shelburne would’ve been my 2nd and 3rd guesses. Its no surprise his roots are in n.j. and Seattle.

  6. Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia all violated the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution in 2020 election. The results should have been declared invalid and new lawful elections held. Bicameral Republicans panicked that if they followed the law the nation would be thrown into turmoil, so they certified the election results anyway. We are not going to recognize defeat, but we do recognize a scam and we do recognize the scammers.

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