Politicians Need To Work For Voters, Not Extremists


This text is a part of TPM Cafe, TPM’s residence for opinion and information evaluation.

James Madison wrote in Federalist 49 that “the persons are the one respectable fountain of energy.” At the moment’s overheated Pennsylvania Republican politicians in search of to undermine our elections would do effectively to chill off in that fountain. 

Because the election, these politicians have eagerly forgotten that they report back to the voters, not the opposite means round. Supported by extremist rhetoric, some politicians and pundits have launched a bevy of baseless assaults on the election outcomes just because they don’t like them. However maybe much more pernicious are the jabs at election officers for the excessive crime of doing what the Structure says.

Sadly, this tried historic revision exhibits no indicators of abating. In preparation for the following legislative session, a bunch of payments attacking voter entry have been launched in Pennsylvania. Amongst these are cherry-picked identification necessities for mail ballots, requirements for signature matching primarily based on pseudoscience and an try to wipe out the power to vote absentee with out an excuse. 

Somewhat than attacking nonpartisan election officers and voters, these politicians ought to keep in mind and embrace their accountability to the general public, take away obstacles to the poll, make voting extra truthful and simple by growing funding for early voting websites and drop bins in each county, and to supply paid postage for mail-in ballots.

Not too long ago, sixty-three Pennsylvania lawmakers despatched a letter to the state’s congressional delegation asking it to invalidate Pennsylvania’s electoral votes. The missive quantities to an assault on the integrity of election officers, lodged just because voters didn’t select the result that these politicians needed on the poll field. The letter comprises zero proof of a smoking gun, however loads of bitter grapes.

However it’s not solely an assault on election officers who’re doing their job to assist voters, no matter their political affiliation — additionally it is an assault on each voter who braved a pandemic to make their voice heard.

Finally, it’s an assault on democracy itself in service of harmful extremism. 

This conduct from politicians is unacceptable. It comes on the heels of a wave of death threats to election officers final month. Election officers, like politicians, are accountable to voters first. Politicians knowingly have put the lives of the folks answerable for counting our votes in danger.

Sadly, elected officers’ anger at being held accountable hasn’t ended with these assaults, or even with the dozens of baseless and error-filled lawsuits geared toward overturning the outcomes of the election. The whole lot however the kitchen sink has been thrown at courts and election officers in an try to get them to stymie the need of the voters.

Politicians should reject such cynical assaults and work to take away obstacles to the poll which are put in to suppress and manipulate who can vote. It’s time that politicians work with election officers, not in opposition to them. We’d like the politicians and officers who work for us to go legal guidelines to make voting safer, truthful, and accessible. They need to sustain with rapidly transferring expertise and supply readability on the insurance policies, processes and procedures that voters comply with to train their rights.

Lawmakers ought to develop the success of Act 77, which made it potential for tens of millions of Pennsylvanians to vote by mail. Pennsylvania’s legislature should go a pre-canvass coverage that might put the Commonwealth in step with quite a few states run by legislatures and governors throughout the political spectrum and permit for processing and scanning of mail-in ballots for 30 days main as much as Election Day. This could shorten the time it takes to depend votes and relay correct outcomes, and it could save tax {dollars} by lowering extra time from lengthy hours processing on the final minute.

It’s gone time for politicians to respect the outcomes of our truthful and free election. Voters have made their voice clearly heard, and election officers labored laborious in unprecedented situations to take action. Now, let’s make sure that politicians keep in mind who it’s they work for, and take heed to the voters.


Scott Seeborg is the Pennsylvania state director for All Voting is Local.