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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.

Jayne: Confusion on how elections work

By Greg Jayne, Columbian Opinion Page Editor
Published: October 24, 2021, 6:02am

While the world remains filled with inexplicable mysteries, one thing has become clear over the past year.

No, we are not talking about anything to do with COVID-19, although that has taught us much. And we are not talking about climate change or supply chains or the realization that Russell Wilson is not indestructible.

Instead, we are talking about the remarkable fact that some Republicans, many Republicans, too many Republicans do not understand how elections work. Or maybe they just don’t like how elections work when they are fair and square.

Now, before we delve into this, there are a couple caveats. One is that the real losers in this ongoing melodrama are the reasonable, honest Republicans of integrity. There are many of them, even if the wingnuts of the party get the bulk of the attention, and those reasonable people are dismayed by the direction of their party.

The same can be said of Democrats. Guess what — most Democrats don’t want to defund the police or turn the United States into a socialist hellscape. But focusing on the extremists is the most effective way to score political points.

The other caveat is that we have written about this before. Several times. But it is imperative we recognize the threat that is being posed to our democracy. It is imperative we point out danger when we see it and that we call upon Republicans of good conscience to rescue their party and, in turn, our country.

Policy differences are one thing; attempting to overthrow the government is quite another, and the threat to our nation should not be understated. We ignore it at our own peril.

And so we turn our attention to a letter signed by 138 state legislators from 38 states that falsely calls the 2020 election “corrupted” and calls for “forensic audits” in all 50 states. You know, like the one in Arizona that found Joe Biden won by more votes than previously believed.

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Typically, we would not care about a letter signed by 138 state lawmakers when there are more than 7,300 legislators throughout the country. But one of those 138 is our own Vicki Kraft, a state representative from the 17th District.

One might think Kraft would be cautious about calling the 2020 election “corrupted,” considering she won by only 1,771 votes. Or that she would realize dozens of judges rejected Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud — including judges appointed by Trump. Or that she would know Trump’s own Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency called the 2020 election “the most secure in American history.”

But the Big Lie virus that has infected a handful of Republicans has a way of separating its victims from the truth, rendering them unable to grasp reality.

The letter asks states to “decertify” their electors if results were certified inaccurately. And it demands that the U.S. House of Representatives hold its own vote for president if enough states express doubts. Never mind that Biden was inaugurated nine months ago or that those actions would be unconstitutional. When you are acting in service of Donald Trump, the Constitution is immaterial.

So, with a faction of Republicans continuing to embrace fantasy, we have one serious example of them not understanding how elections work. But a comical one was recently added to it.

“If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 … Republicans will not be voting in ’22 or ’24,” Trump said. “It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do.”

We could ask whether that is a threat or a promise, but that would be unnecessarily snarky. Instead, we will point out that refusing to vote is not an effective way to stick it to the libs. And we will point out that Trump doesn’t care about party or country or anything but his own fragile ego.

And in the process, we will note that far too many Republicans have wasted an entire year talking about nonexistent fraud and focusing on voter suppression when they could be developing policies that people will support at the polls. Because in a functioning democracy, that is how elections work.