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Challenging Validity Of Election Is Outrageous

In 1970, in the first general election in which I was a candidate, I lost. I didn’t like losing, but I learned a big lesson: in a contested election, there is always someone who wins and someone who loses. Losing does not mean that you are bad, it just means that you didn’t have enough votes.

I never doubted the outcome of that or any subsequent election. The tradition of free and fair elections is part of our American tradition. Four years later, I ran again for the same position, state Assembly. That time, I won. Though I was the first Democrat in 100 years to hold that seat, my Republican opponent accepted the result. The voters had spoken.

Now, we have a situation where our President, fearing that he may lose an election, is challenging the validity of the election itself. That is outrageous and, for me, confirms just how egocentric and disconnected from our history the current occupant of the White House is.

In New York state, as in all states in the Union, there is a process where both national parties (Republican and Democrat) are represented in counting the votes. In New York state, both parties have election commissioners in each county, and these individuals pride themselves in running free and fair elections.

Four years ago, Hillary Clinton got about 2 million more popular votes than Donald Trump, yet she lost the election in the Electoral College. She didn’t challenge the results of that, she knew the “rules of the game” going into the election. She lost and, in the vernacular of ages gone by, she “took it like a man.”

As of the time of writing this article, we still don’t know the final results of the election — but, it appears that Vice President Biden (also leading in the popular vote) may win enough votes in the electoral college to become President.

Whatever the outcome, it is outrageous that the President is now trying to undercut the legitimacy of the election. Hopefully, his party, the nation and the courts will coalesce to ensure that whatever the vote of the electorate is will be honored when the results are finalized.

No President has, to my knowledge, besmirched the election process itself until now. By calling it a “fraud,” President Trump is trying to perpetrate his own fraud on our democratic system of government.

Donald Trump has said he will challenge the vote counts in several states. He has a right to ask for recounts. In some states, like Wisconsin, he will also have to pay for the recount. They have a statute colloquially called the “sore-losers law” which was passed to discourage frivolous and expensive recounts when the results of an election are not deemed to be close enough to justify taxpayers picking up the tab.

Joe Biden has asked for patience and pledged to abide by the results of the election. That is the kind of commitment to free and fair elections that has prevailed in our Presidential contests since the Republic was founded.

Rolland Kidder is a Stow resident.

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