op-ed

After Close Elections, Why Isn’t Meticulous Scrutiny Of The Vote Routine?

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Alan Keyes Former Assistant Secretary of State
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I’ve never understood why anyone would urge a candidate to accept the outcome of an election when he or she has good reason to believe it was tainted by fraud. It’s as if there are people who believe that elections are simply a stage show, meant to give people the impression they have a sovereign role in our society, when in fact election results don’t really matter. When there is evidence that jury tampering may have occurred, tainting the outcome of a trial, do we scoff at judges or lawyers who seriously investigate it? Obviously, this would not serve justice. In fact, it would encourage jury tampering.

Americans who really care about the constitutional sovereignty of the people in our Republic should insist on strict regard for the integrity of their votes. So, after a very close election, shouldn’t it be routine to prepare for strict scrutiny of the results? Great care should be taken, for example, to assure that all the evidence needed for an investigation is carefully preserved. People anxious to destroy that evidence should be regarded with suspicion. No power of government should be allowed to order or tolerate its hasty destruction.

Under our republican form of government, the result of an election is, as it were, a message from the sovereign. Someone who purported to read the message, and then quickly tore it up so that others cannot verify their reading of it, should be held in contempt for that act of lése-majesté.

It makes no sense to suggest that this care somehow disrupts the process. It ought to be part of the process, intended to reassure every voter that their vote has not been undermined by fraudulent shenanigans. But, of course, people with the resources and power to rig balloting would likely do everything in their power to discourage an investigation that might reveal their nefarious activities. They want supine acquiescence in the outcome they engineer to become the order of the day.

These are the same sort of people who called for Judge Roy Moore to withdraw from the U.S. Senate race in Alabama before the general election, just because the media contrived to fabricate credibility for largely uncorroborated accusations of criminal misconduct, alleged conduct said to have occurred so long ago that investigating it is rather like investigating an election outcome after the physical ballots have been destroyed.

These people can pretend, if they like, that questioning the outcome of elections somehow undermines their legitimacy. But this pretense involves the fallacy that the legitimacy of the people’s self-government is a matter of insubstantial opinion, however erroneous, rather than reasonably established and fundamental principle. It reflects the elitist faction view that the people’s claim to govern themselves is just an opinionated fiction, resting as it does on the authority of a Creator whose very being they deny, along, of course, with Creation itself.

Manipulate the people’s opinion, with elections contrived deceitfully to usurp rather than respect their power, and real power passes to the lying manipulators. Using an electoral mirage to Induce people to surrender their power is a far less costly, dangerous and distasteful way of acquiring it than physical force and intimidation. One gets to rule like Stalin or Hitler, without the grotesquely hideous aspect that has made their names synonymous with evil.

Anyone who presses Roy Moore to drop his demand for an investigation into reported irregularities in the recent Alabama election gives thoughtful people reason to suspect that they are part of the poisonous fog rising from the much-ballyhooed swamp of power-mad concupiscence (in its widest sense) that has, for the time being, replaced the political process that is supposed to implement our self-government as a people. Americans tempted to listen to the dark-side Jedi who tell the “move along, there’s nothing to see here” should instead insist on a rigorous and thorough investigation. They should hope that Alabama’s secretary of state is serious about his decision to conduct one.

Indifference to the validity of the election process is a symptom of the profound disrepair into which the character of our self-government has fallen. In this regard, our times are indeed “out of joint.” Seeking for truth, even in the strictly factual sense of the term, is contemned as naiveté. But aren’t people willing to brave that contempt precisely an antidote to the poisonous miasma that presently cuts off the once bright prospects for our constitutional self-government?

Judge Moore has been such a person. Now the adversaries of our God-endowed sovereignty as a people have contrived to make his chance to uphold that sovereignty in on our national councils the very thing at stake in the sincere search for truth about Alabama’s recent election. It’s ironic that the fate of our self-government as a people, practically so dependent on the integrity of our electoral process, stands bound to that stake along with his.

It makes sense, however, that his foes discourage efforts to secure the integrity of the process obviously most critical to the actual existence of self-government in the United States. “That’s a dead issue,” they seem to say. But if that’s so, why do they clamor so strenuously against examining the remains — if only to make sure they don’t turn out to be last remains of our God-endowed right of liberty?

Alan Keyes is a political activist, a prolific writer and a former diplomat.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.