Experts rate the performance of recent American elections as the worst among two dozen Western democracies. Why? Some longstanding practices are to blame. Partisan gerrymandering insulates incumbents. Infotainment-dominated commercial news reduce campaigns to spectator sport. Social media amplifies angry trolls. Ballot access laws restrict third-party challengers. Women and minority candidates have to fight a hostile cultural backlash. Outdated technologies are vulnerable to Russian cyber hacks. All of these problems have been heightened by the close, heated, and bitterly divided 2016 contest. The result: an erosion of American confidence in the electoral process—despite the fact that voter fraud occurs very rarely. In mid-August, Gallup found that only six in ten Americans are “very” or “fairly” confident that their vote would be accurately cast and counted. That’s down from around three-quarters of all Americans a decade earlier.
… The courts are the first line of legal defense against charges of election fraud. If electoral rolls were attacked by cyberhackers, or voting machines without a paper trail malfunctioned, however, then it becomes difficult for the courts to establish independent and reliable evidence concerning the validity of the results. The GOP leadership would also have a duty to urge Mr. Trump to accept the will of the people. It would be unacceptable for leading Republicans to stand by passively, or even to endorse any claims of widespread vote rigging.
Other sources of evidence could help to provide crosschecks. For example, the declared results in each state can be compared against the results of the network exit poll.
… To restore confidence in American elections in the long term, however, leaders with vision need to reach across the aisles to implement pragmatic reforms. Otherwise America could be overwhelmed by a fundamental and deeply damaging legitimacy crisis which would be far worse than the events surrounding Bush vs. Gore in 2000.
Full Article: It’s Time to Fix the Voting Process | New Republic.