Dan Rodricks: Good people still needed to work in polls, counter Trump’s ‘big lie’


Before offering four observations on the findings of the House Select Committee on the January 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol, a public service message: Citizens are needed at this time to continue the long series of fair and accessible elections in the country. In Maryland, you can be as young as 16 and serve as an election judge (more on that in a minute), and hiring good people as scrutineers has never been more important.

Donald Trump continues to claim widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, and it’s a toxic big lie.

Having healthy elections is a great American tradition – a great achievement – ​​and the 2020 elections were conducted with the usual care and integrity. Joe Biden beat Trump soundly.

Despite Trump and Republicans’ efforts to constantly raise suspicion about the voting process, we need it to continue. For this to continue, able-bodied, rational American citizens must be engaged — not just as voters, but as election workers.

In some states, getting good people to do it again — or getting new recruits to work in the polls — is a challenge.

In March, in a survey by the Brennan Center for Justice, 1 in 5 local election officials said they were likely to leave their jobs before the 2024 presidential election. Some have faced death threats. Even poll workers, citizens who volunteer to work on election days, have been harassed.

Atlanta-area election workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter, Shaye Moss, were targeted by Trump and his confused, conspiracy-obsessed adviser Rudy Giuliani with baseless and racist claims that Freeman and Moss were engaged in election rigging. The attacks on these women were disgusting, and anyone who listened to their moving testimony before the House committee will understand why they want nothing more to do with the election.

But if the right people don’t intervene, the terrorists win.

In Maryland, more election judges are needed, says Linda Lamone, the state’s election administrator.

Maryland’s primary election will take place on July 19. Hurry up. Lamone says that, if possible, voters should apply by June 30 to become a poll worker for the primary.

In Maryland, you must be registered to vote in the state; have the ability to speak, read and write English; be able to work 15 hours a day, sit and stand for long periods of time, and be willing to work outside of your residential area.

“No experience is required,” says the election committee, “and your local county election committee will provide full mandatory training. Computer literacy is desired but not essential. Bilinguals are encouraged to apply.

You can do this through the State Board of Elections website or by contacting your local election office.

The summer primary is a great opportunity for young people to get involved.

You can be as young as 16 and work in the polls, with permission from a parent or guardian. (In Maryland, you can register to vote at 16, but you can’t vote unless you’re 18 in the next general election. The next general is Nov. 8.)

Allow me to invoke the late President John F. Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask yourself what you can do for your country.

Announcement of end of public service.

Now, four observations on the January 6 hearings:

1. Republicans reject the committee’s findings and insist that Americans are more concerned about inflation and the cost of gasoline. Maybe Republicans think Americans have a limited ability to absorb information — “I like people with little education,” Trump said — but I think a majority of us can deal with the price of the essence and Trump’s attempt to overthrow democracy at the same time. The problem is the bigoted nature of Trump’s support: embrace a liar and you’re stuck with his lies.

2. Some observers say that despite all the evidence the committee has gathered that puts it at the center of efforts to overthrow democracy, an indictment and prosecution of Trump would be politically untenable. I listen to this argument and I weigh it, but I always come back to this thing called “rule of law”. If Trump isn’t charged with crimes related to the ultimately violent attempt to void the 2020 election, no former president would ever be held accountable in court.

3. Federal law experts say it would be difficult for prosecutors to secure any convictions because Trump may have “honestly believed the election was stolen.” But that’s despite all the evidence to the contrary and numerous advisers, including Trump’s second attorney general, repeatedly telling him the claim is nonsense. And forgive my skepticism, but I have a hard time associating any form of the word “sincere” with Donald Trump.

4. Former Attorney General Bill Barr testified candidly about Trump’s voter fraud allegations, saying he found him “detached from reality.” Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers refused to break the law on Trump’s behalf. As offended as these two Republicans were at Trump’s attempts to stay in power illegally, you’d think they would have joined the Never Trumpers by now. Instead, the two said they would still vote for Trump if he were the GOP nominee in 2024. Sounds cracked, but maybe Bowers and Barr are just good Christians who forgive the sinner — except that in this case the sinner admits no sin, asks no forgiveness, and refuses to go away.


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