Real concerns about democracy should go way beyond election denialism

BRATTLEBORO — Whenever anyone asks me if I think the 2020 election was fair and whether Joe Biden legitimately won, my response has always been, “I don't know, but I think there is about a 60% chance that Biden legitimately won.”

The reason for my response is obvious. How could anyone know, whether you are an election denialist or not, that the election was fair and Biden's win was legitimate?

The fact is that there were many opportunities for cheating in the 2020 election that have gone unexplored. There are voter machines counting votes that operate with proprietary software that the public cannot inspect so that we can be assured what happened to our votes when they are cast.

There are voter drop boxes that provide magnificent opportunities for ballot-box stuffing. Ballot harvesting allows many opportunities to skew the results. The fact is that our election system is not transparent enough so that anyone could actually know that the results are fair.

I welcomed the extensive audit of ballots in Arizona, as incomplete as that audit was. I wish similar audits had been conducted in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin so that we could be better assured the results were fair.

I find it quite offensive that Tim Stevenson suggests that election denialism is somehow a form of corruption and yet he complains that America is facing the triumph of fascism. The idea that election denialism is corruption and somehow illegal is a fascist proposal. It is never a corrupt thing to question the results of elections or seek to audit votes.

To counteract corruption and illegal activity, we must demand that all electronic vote-counting machines operate with open-source software and those that do not be junked. Also, the only voters who get mail in ballots must request them. There should be no more voter drop boxes, and ballot harvesting must be outlawed. There are other ways to accommodate disabled people seeking to vote.

Mr. Stevenson's concern that the 2022 election could lead to the end of democracy if the Republicans win is way overblown. If he cared that much about democracy his concerns should go way beyond election denialism. The fact remains that our “democracy” is not actually very democratic. One reason I supported Vermont congressional candidate Liam Maddon is because he understands this.

America's corrupt two-party system will never be jettisoned by America's elites because they understand how useful this system is to them. The same elites fund a system where politicians of both major parties every two years advocate certain cultural issues that are of concern to voters but they avoid like the plague advocating for anything that might adversely affect the pocketbooks of their elite sponsors.

That is why you rarely hear politicians advocating for stronger unions, for Medicare for all, for an end to excessive military spending, against more foreign interventions, or for wealth taxes.

Anyone who is truly concerned about democracy knows better than to put the blame for lack of democracy squarely on one party. The real problem with our democracy is lack of transparency and the two-party system itself.

I hope we can someday chuck the two-party system here in Vermont. Each state representative could be chosen through instant runoff voting, a system that would allow minor parties with innovative ideas to participate. Also, the state Senate could be chosen by a statewide vote that uses proportional representation to include minor parties.

These ideas plus election transparency will actually cure what is wrong with out democracy. I can guarantee you it is not the Republicans.

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