The legendary rocker knew “the waiting is the hardest part.” But why are we waiting? In the case of Pennsylvania, the most populous of the states whose counts we are hanging on, the delay is a feature, not a bug. The sand in the gears was placed there by Republicans who control the state legislature.
But they could not resist attaching partisan poison pills to the legislation, like outlawing satellite drop boxes and allowing poll watchers to operate outside their own county. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf threatened to veto the measure, and it ultimately died.
However, the problem of clerks being unable to begin processing mail-in ballots before Election Day remained. The solution, called “pre-canvassing,” is to simply allow clerks to begin processing mail-in ballots as they arrive. No poison pills. No ban on drop boxes. And no allowing poll watchers to drive across the state to potentially intimidate voters in a county they’re not familiar with.
Kevin Mack, the Pennsylvania political genius with the Voter Project, a nonpartisan organization devoted to ensuring voter protections in Pennsylvania, believes the GOP legislators were more interested in pleasing Trump than in helping their fellow citizens count the votes efficiently. “Pennsylvania passed bipartisan legislation to make it easier to vote,” he told me in an email. “Then Donald Trump upended common sense … Republican legislative leaders chose Trump over voters. It’s that simple. The good news is that all votes are being counted and the chaos is ending.”
So, as you alternate between agony and ecstasy with each new tranche of votes; as you shift from coffee to tequila (or, since it’s Pennsylvania, Rolling Rock beer) to balance your humors; as you scream in frustration at John King standing beside the magic wall, keep in mind: This delay was brought to you by Trump and Pennsylvania’s partisan Republicans. They remind me of another Tom Petty song: “Don’t do me like that.”
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