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OP-ED: Time to stop the stupid

Deborah Yonick-Kalina
Codorus Township
State Rep. Rep. Dawn Keefer, R-Franklin Township, and other GOP state lawmakers called for the formation of an investigatory committee Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, of voting in Pennsylvania,  following a slew of lawsuits filed by President Donald Trump's campaign claiming, without evidence, widespread fraud. Photo by Lindsey O'Laughlin

To all the poll workers across York County, Pennsylvania, and the nation — thank you for your service. That is something I say to everyone at my polling place in Codorus Township every time I vote.

These folks are our neighbors, who work from sun up late into the night to faithfully deliver the vote for their precincts. As a certified poll watcher for the Democratic Party of York County for nearly a decade, I can say with confidence that our local poll workers, Republican and Democrat alike, are public servants dedicated to executing fair and lawful elections.

So, it must be especially difficult for our election officials to have to watch the undertaking of Pennsylvania’s Republican legislators, including YoCo’s own Rep. Dawn Keefer, R-Franklin Township, to “Stop the Steal” following Trump’s electoral loss.

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While the slogan makes for a catchy yard sign, these claims of voter fraud are baseless, and frankly, dangerous, as they cast doubt on our election system, with nearly 80% of Trump supporters believing there was widespread irregularities. I encourage anyone clinging to this latest conspiracy theory to serve as a poll worker next year to understand the multiple layers of security and accountability involved in running our elections (check out www.eac.gov/help-america-vote).

Believe me, I know how Trump supporters feel, even more so in the knowledge that Hillary Clinton lost while receiving nearly 3 million more in the popular vote than Trump did in 2016. As I write this, Joe Biden has 290 electoral votes, and over 77 million in the popular vote, 5 million more than Trump.

Allegations of fraud and illegal activity have been repeatedly debunked and dismissed by the courts since the election. 

Yet the Trump campaign was in court litigating against the Montgomery County Board of Elections over 592 ballots in a county Biden was ahead by 130,000 votes, and in a state where Biden leads by more than 50,000. To what end?

Delaying the state from certifying results, our Republican-controlled State Assembly, prompted by “a flurry of calls and e-mails from voters concerned and outraged by the circumstances surrounding this election,” is conducting an audit of the election to “ensure public trust” in an electoral system it has no proof was defrauded.

But the Pennsylvania GOP is good at wasting time on stupid, refusing to allow Pennsylvania to pre-canvas mail-in ballots early. Democrats in the state, including Gov. Tom Wolf, tried to pass legislation that would allow counties to begin pre-canvassing ballots to verify their validity before Election Day, but were obstructed by the Republicans.

Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, said in September: “The longer it goes on, the more opinions and the more theories and the more conspiracies [are] created.” Surely, our Republican-led legislature could be working on myriad things like property tax reform — a can they’ve been kicking for nearly two decades, after mismanaging the state’s pension fund.

Partisanship is not a leadership style. But Keefer and cohorts are true politicians, not a stateswoman or statesman among them. They remain silent after Trump levels false attacks against Al Schmidt, Philadelphia’s Republican election commissioner, inciting death threats against him, his family and staff. State Republicans would rather say nothing, than what they know to be true, in order to temper emotions.

The Republican Party wastes a lot of time on stupid, from politicizing mask wearing to casting doubts about mail in voting.

“Stupid is, as stupid does,” Forrest Gump reminds us. Sadly, we have a lot to do, with so little time to waste on this kind of stupid.