Deeley: Running a Clean Election – with a Better System

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PHILADELPHIA City Commission Chair Lisa Deeley demonstrates a voting booth to a young constituent. Deeley’s bipartisan body of three elected commissioners administered the city’s challenging November 2020 election process, the results of which are to be announced in Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.

Philadelphia City Commissioners’ Chairwoman, Lisa Deeley, released the following statement regarding the Dec. 4, 2020 letter that Republican lawmakers sent to the commonwealth’s congressional delegation, requesting that the delegation object to Pennsylvania’s Electoral College votes.

“In this country, when an election is held, regardless of the results, there is a transition of power. This transition after free and fair elections is vital and it is what separates us from all of the phony democracies around the world whose leaders are able to cling to power. What these Republican lawmakers are asking Congress to do is unamerican and desperate – it is something straight out of a third world dictatorship.

“Representatives in the General Assembly, including the Speaker, members of leadership, and chairpersons, are leaders in this commonwealth. The voters of their districts elected them to lead, in the same election that they are alleging was somehow tainted. These lawmakers should lead instead of weakly bending to the pressure from their party’s presidential candidate and perpetuating the lies that the election was illegitimate.

“There are all kinds of false and fantastical conspiracy theories floating out there, some that have been pushed by the President, his lawyers, lawmakers, and an army of misinformed, sad individuals online. We have already seen some of these online keyboard warriors try to turn their words into action. Last month, armed individuals drove over five hours to Philadelphia in order to ‘straighten things out’ and were arrested just blocks from where we were counting the ballots. There are people who want to do harm to myself, my fellow commissioners, and my staff just for doing our jobs – the job of upholding democracy.

“I urge the state’s leaders to work to tamp down the hate and properly inform the populace, not feed into the hysteria.”

“Any leader who feeds the lies and hate can save their thoughts and prayers, because they will be culpable when one of these zealots act on their words and does harm to someone.

“Commonsense needs to prevail. There was no rigging. There was no massive fraud. There was no steal. It was a contentious election. The voters of Pennsylvania went to the polls, or mailed or dropped off their ballots. When everything was counted, 50.01% preferred the President-Elect while 48.84% preferred the incumbent. When an election happens, it triggers certain responsibilities that every elected or appointed official sworn to perform their duties and uphold the Constitution must perform, regardless of personal preferences. It is now time for the Electoral College to do their part and there will be a transition of power next month.

“If the Republican legislature is interested in reforming the electoral process, then they should start with giving the counties the ability to begin pre-canvassing the ballots before election day. The American public is used to knowing the winner on election night. However, elections have changed, and as such, local and state officials need to adapt along with them to prevent uncertainty.

“The so called ‘blue shift’ was a direct result of counties not being able to begin the pre-canvas until 7a.m. on election day. If we would have been able to start even a few days earlier, the results needed to call the presidential race would have been reported on election night, which would have kept these conspiracy theories from gaining such traction.

“While they are at it, lawmakers could pass actual early voting, like many other states have, where early votes can be cast either on a voting machine or scanned in the early voting locations. This would also allow for the results to be uploaded right at the close of polls with the election day results, which, once again, will give clarity to outcomes of elections faster. Finally, they can address the still thousands of voters who had their ballots, and therefore their votes set aside, because they failed to place their ballot in a secrecy envelope.

“The votes are counted and certified, the courts have ruled, and the election is over. We live in a democracy, and it is now time to move on.”

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