Thursday, May 19, 2022
May 19, 2022

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In Our View: Election lies continue to erode our democracy

The Columbian

Drip by drip, the lies continue to erode our democracy. They unravel the threads that tie us together and shred the social compact that represents the difference between a functioning society and anarchy.

By itself, the case of a local man is of minor consequence. But it is reflective of actions — in Clark County and elsewhere — that threaten to destroy our democracy. The nadir of such stridency and abdication of common sense could be seen on Jan. 6, 2021, when insurrectionists attempted a coup at the U.S. Capitol. But the seeds of that discord are planted one by one at local levels.

Ed O’Meara had his status as a Clark County elections observer revoked following the November 2021 election. On Dec. 10, Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey wrote to O’Meara, “During the recent recounts, in violation of Elections Office rules, you repeatedly spoke to elections staff while they were sorting ballots and when they were counting votes.”

The Columbian reported this week: “Kimsey said O’Meara repeatedly touched the spreadsheets being used by elections staff to conduct recounts, noting ‘these actions continued even after being admonished on several occasions by Elections Office management.’ The conflict between O’Meara and elections staff reached its zenith on Dec. 6. According to Kimsey, O’Meara raised his voice to an inappropriate volume, made aggressive physical motions toward elections supervisor Cathie Garber and ‘showed a lack of control of your emotions.’”

We were not there; we cannot speak to O’Meara’s actions. But we can confirm that Kimsey has served as Clark County auditor since 1999 and has performed his duties with integrity. Amid a flood of unfounded complaints about the integrity of the 2020 election, Kimsey has resolutely stood for truth and the rule of law.

That led this week to O’Meara appealing the revocation of his status before the county canvassing board. O’Meara said he had not previously been engaged in politics but got involved last year because “I felt like something was wrong.” He added: “I really feel that I have earned the right to vote and to have my vote counted correctly.”

Absolutely. So has every other citizen. But persistent lies about the 2020 election have led to uninformed beliefs that votes are being counted incorrectly. Donald Trump’s claims to that end were rejected in some 60 lawsuits — including dozens that landed in front of Trump-appointed judges. And election audits in Arizona, Texas, Michigan and elsewhere have revealed minimal problems with election integrity or fraud.

“The audits are concrete evidence that November’s election was fair, secure and accurate, and that the results reflect the will of Michigan voters,” Michigan’s secretary of state said. Similar findings have been echoed throughout the country.

Despite that, some 25 to 30 citizens — including congressional candidate Joe Kent — appeared at this week’s meeting to hear O’Meara’s appeal. The Columbian reported that many of them were from the Republican-led Election Integrity Coalition.

Public access to the election process is essential, and we applaud those who get involved. But there is reason to question their motivations and their judgment. To support somebody who violates the rules of election observations, raises their voice inappropriately and makes aggressive motions toward staff is to support chaos.

Despite claims by the Republican National Committee, such actions are not “legitimate political discourse.” But they are an erosion of our democracy.

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