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Election integrity is fundamental to our freedoms

Election integrity is fundamental to our freedoms

As I was re-reading last week’s issue of The Smoky Mountain News and about the Juneteenth celebrations in the mountains, I started thinking about the upcoming July 4 holiday and of the freedoms Americans take for granted. As a white man I won’t presume to know what Juneteenth means to Black Americans, but there’s little doubt that their experience of being an American is much different from mine. 

Since emancipation and since the new laws enacted because of the Civil Rights movement, though, one common thread we can now all embrace is the very basic act of voting. It’s heartbreaking to realize that our Black brothers and sisters — until 60 years ago — were still fighting for the basic rights we white men have had since the founding of the republic some 250 years ago. Our democracy, imperfect as it is and has been, at least now upholds that basic right to vote for every one of its citizens.

Sort of. This past weekend in Texas, the state Republican Party endorsed a measure calling President Joe Biden’s election illegitimate. Here’s an excerpt from the Texas Standard:

On Thursday, the Republican Party of Texas Permanent Platform Committee advanced a resolution claiming the 2020 election “violated” the Constitution.

“We reject the certified results of the 2020 Presidential election, and we hold that acting President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States,” part of the resolution says.

Biden received about 7 million more votes than Donald Trump. Biden also won 306 Electoral College votes to Trump’s 232. Numerous election audits have found no evidence of widespread fraud or vote tampering. Despite these facts, many are still unconvinced of the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

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Here’s a quote from the Texas Standard from one of the GOP convention attendees: “There’s no way in hell Biden got 81 million votes,” said Mary Jo Bloomquist, a resident of Granbury. “Are you kidding me?”

I’ve spent my life reporting in mostly small communities. In each of those towns and counties I’ve known and worked with employees of the local boards of elections, people of both major political parties. I’m acquainted with election volunteers. These are people who would consider it against their personal moral code of conduct to in any way participate in voter fraud. I suspect that’s the same in most communities throughout this country. You work or volunteer as an election official because you recognize it as one of the most important civic duties of our republic, one of the basic rights that sets this country apart. You’re not there to sway the outcome of an election.

Mistakes happen, but a grand scheme by an organized cabal to overturn the 2020 election? Thankfully, that did not happen. Not in the USA.

At least not yet. As has been reported in many media outlets, some GOP leaders who still doubt the results of the 2020 election are recruiting volunteers to monitor voting sites throughout the country. In some states GOP leaders who still doubt the 2020 election results are setting up systems that will allow them to challenge future election results they don’t like.

I’m hopeful all of this will be for naught. We’ve been reminded by the January 6 hearings that Donald Trump knew he had lost but refused to listen to the truth and deliberately tried to get state leaders and Vice President Mike Pence to do his bidding to illegally overturn the results. 

As we mark our independence during these summer weeks, let’s remember that we are Americans first, not members of a political party. We have more in common as human beings than we disagree about as members of one political party or another. 

Many Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and independents lost their elections in 2020. After various recounts and some very tight races, all of them — except one — accepted defeat and carried on with their lives. For the good of the country, Trump should do the same and quit crying foul. If he doesn’t, I fear the fights after our next national election in 2024.

(Scott McLeod can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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  • Deni Gottlieb, wherever the hell you were from.... believe me, you and your ilk are actually the ones who are going to hate the consequences.

    posted by Roy Anderson

    Sunday, 06/26/2022

  • Women have had their freedoms taken away, and now we are just vessels, second class citizens, to a country where we've been taken over by Christo-fascism. This country is now in a position to be taken over by authoritarian rule, and we will lose even more freedoms. Cangratularions Republicans, but you may hate the consequences.

    posted by Deni Gottlieb

    Saturday, 06/25/2022

  • Thank you for your comments Scott. I too believe that in each political party there are more things we have in common than are differences. But one thing I know, neither is the party it was 50 years ago. Philosophies have blended and intertwined. I am a Republican but I think of myself as a Reagan Republican. There are things that Republicans do and believe in that is NOT that of the conservative party it once was. I’ve been watching the Jan 6 hearings and am appalled at the level of deceit and coercion that took place to try to support the subversion of the Constitution and the false charge that the 2020 election was not legitimate. What happened after the election and the events of Jan 6 should never have happened. There are many Republicans who feel this way. But also many that still believe Trump was robbed. What I see that could happen is a divide within the Republican Party that will result in a new party altogether. I fear until we put this all behind us and accept what the American people voted on, the country will never begin to heal. We are divided already in so many ways, but we can come together and see where we have commonality and do what is best for the American people, with God’s help.

    posted by Martha Bowman

    Wednesday, 06/22/2022

  • Joe Biden did not get 81 million votes. He did not receive more votes than Barack Obama while campaigning from his basement. Tell me that with a straight face. Joe Biden was not elected. He was installed.

    posted by Lucille Josephs

    Wednesday, 06/22/2022

  • Really important message. Thank you!

    90 judges in 60 election trial courts- many appointed by Pres. Trump- his own Attorney General- Wm. Barr... dozens of Republican state election officials- all agree there is no evidence of ANY fraud in the 2020 election. Republicans won many of these contests. In Georgia (or was it Arizona?), for example- I think the number was 28,000 split tickets- folks voting for the Republican candidate for Senate, etc, but who did not vote for Pres.Trump. He lost-like Al Gore lost in 2000 but accepted defeat like a man or woman should- respecting the Constitution. Its hard to admit when you are wrong.-for all of us. There are many Republicans in my family- and most of them have come to realize that supporting Donald Trump in his efforts to undermine a democratic election is a terrible thing to do. I hope angry voices- from the left and the right- can calm down and have a decent conversation about all this.

    posted by steve wall

    Wednesday, 06/22/2022

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