Ada Fisher: Post-election reforms to count every vote

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 10, 2020

By Ada Fisher

What a presidential race!

The winners are: the moderator of the last presidential debate, Kristin Walker, who gave the public a chance to hear issues relevant to the economy, the virus and a bunch of issues relating to security and the right to vote; Associate Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who called the law as she taught it and secured her seat in a politically divisive atmosphere while the Republicans showed how confirmations should be handled; the coronavirus, whose resiliency and progressive mutations will linger long past our ability to blame anyone for it; and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose power realistically exceeds that of the U.S. president in many arenas.

The losers are the media, big tech and the political parties who often appealed to the worst in us rather than “Make the USA a Great Nation Again.” Rarely has it been seen in this democracy that the confluence of stakeholders, suspect political operatives and titans of industry colluded to tell their narrative of who they felt should be the president or run this nation rather than let its people decide based on access to information, which helped voters get an honest informed opinion.

President Donald Trump, whose race it was to lose with his foot-in-mouth disease, often caused too much heartburn from his ardent supporters. Despite his efforts, not only did his minions come out, his reach was much broader than all gave him credit for, including those in his own circle. We are witnessing a Trump Age — “Trumpage” — which is not going away anytime soon. The nation is not as divided as it is simply taking up sides for democracy versus creeping socialism.

Though folks are talking up the legacy of a Trump presidency, watching votes coming in, some realities came to the fore. Though traditionally Republican, Arizona may not have forgiven the president’s attacks on its favorite son, the late Sen. John McCain. Georgia and much of the South are changing, but not as much as folks would like to imagine. Democrat Jaime Harrison lost to Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham in South Carolina though more than $100 million was spent in this effort. A dormant but very real issue in this race is, had he been elected, South Carolina would have had two Black senators. What are the odds of that?

The Hispanic/Latina vote was not to be taken for granted as in the bag for Democrats. From Maxine Waters to Steve Harvey, the dumping on Black support for Trump failed to remember Joe Biden’s racist legacy, which was worse that anything Trump may have said.

What will happen is that “when all is said and done, there will likely be more said than done.” Election reform must be done in the way voting is handled but not of the Electoral College, which insures that each state will have its say.

The biggest demonstration of voter suppression was in the media, big tech (Facebook, Google, pollsters and other would-be opinion makers) and advertisers who marketed the race with an outcome in mind they’d like to see, as if part of the antithetical “prosperity gospel,” admonishing followers to “name it and claim it.” The Federal Election Commission and Federal Communications Commission should be required to review the criteria used to determine what a news program is. MSNBC, FOX News and CNN are truly opinion and event interpreters rather than straight news.

To ensure more fair elections, voting should be made representative by requiring all votes counted must be by those who are eligible to do such and must be filed or postmarked by close of business on Election Day, with mail ins received by two weeks and rules of eligibility clearly spelled out. A national uniform ending date is paramount. In so doing, no race should be called without 90% of the vote tallied, with no more outstanding votes to be counted than such a declaration would lead to a conclusive decision.

Candidates for the presidency should be required to debate in at least three sessions so that people may see and hear from them.

The format used in the third debate, with timers and mute buttons, should be standard operating procedure. Moderators should have no personal ties to any political party or candidate being considered.

Campaign finance reform should be required, with a total expenditure from each campaign of no more than $100 for each eligible voter for that race. Political action committee ads should require the consent of the candidate before they can be used.

Each candidate, if defeated, should take the McArthur stance and simply fade away, letting the people decide what issues are important rather than trying to prop up their legacy.

Each party should be encouraged to build better farm teams, reflective not only of the issues facing this nation, but of its citizens.

Each citizen must appreciate their power, which is in their vote.

Salisbury’s Ada Fisher is a licensed teacher, retired physician, former school board member and current N.C. Republican national committeewoman.