Note To Republicans: Don't Try To Throw Out My Vote!

Jan 5, 2021

Commentary: Representative Yvette Herrell, R- N.M. has announced that she will object to counting Pennsylvania’s Electoral Votes.  This has a direct impact on me!

I first registered as a Republican voter in Pennsylvania in 1965.  In the intervening years, I’ve voted for candidates of both parties—sometimes for winners, sometimes not.  Last year, the Westmoreland County Elections Board gave me a certificate as a member of the “Voters Hall of Fame” for voting in over 50 elections.

After my late-wife and I retired, we began frequently moving back & forth between our “permanent residence” in PA (where we have 4 grandchildren) and La Cruces (where we have two).  We were frequently here in early November to celebrate her birthday with her daughter’s family, so we voted by absentee ballot.  (The PA Republican State Committee sent me two applications every year.)

In 2019, the Pennsylvania General Assembly (with a Republican majority in House and Senate) changed the Election Code to permit any voter to request an absentee ballot without providing a reason.  As the Covid-19 pandemic developed in 2020, applications arrived at County Elections Boards by the thousands.  The Boards asked the legislature for another change—to begin the process of verifying absentee ballots before “Election Day” as states like Florida and North Carolina, which long have had more liberal absentee voting, do.  Their request became bogged down in dispute between the Republican legislature and Democratic governor and no change was approved.

So by Election Day, 67 county election boards faced thousands of ballots to verify, open, and count, as well as “in person” voting to administer from 7:00 AM until 8:00 PM.  The result was predictable for anyone who knew how votes are counted in PA.  The first totals were from “in person” voters.  Only after all of them were tallied could officials begin to tackle the unprecedented accumulation of absentee ballots.

Given President Trump’s months-long pattern demeaning “mail in ballots” it is hardly surprising that more of his voters chose not to vote that way (despite Pennsylvania Republicans’ success with absentee ballots in the past).  The “in person” vote showed President Trump ahead.  As the absentee ballots were processed, the lead shifted to Mr. Biden.  Recounts and numerous court challenges confirmed that result.

But now Representative Herrell wants to throw out my vote because the candidate she favored did not win.  In 35 years teaching social studies (including civics/government) I never expected to see this!