Growing up, we were taught that American elections were the best-run in the world – free and fair.
But unfortunately, there’s a mindset, shown recently at Kane County Board meetings by some of the public, that elections are “valid if my candidate wins and stolen if my candidate loses.” This thinking shows a lack of concern and care for the basic tenet of our democracy, and shows the dangerous trend of putting leaders in power (not necessarily office) regardless of the will of the voting public.
Voting is the cornerstone of this democracy – and to do that, the voting public can only do so when the modes of voting are available. In Kane County, the voting machines used are around 20 years old. Parts are hard to come by, and even those are aging fast. As someone who’s spent many election nights as an observer of election tallies, I have found Kane County election officials to have worked hard to make sure that all elections are fair, accurate and on the up-and-up. And now they have a chance to replace an aging system with something that’s up to date and at little to no strain on the county budget.
A $2 million grant to replace the current system would go a long way to both preserve voting integrity and to make sure that public confidence in the voting process and the county’s system will be viable for decades to come. But what does this possibility face? Scorn by multiple elected officials who decry the very same machines that assured they won fair and square and misinformation and subtle racism by local (and some not local) people who want to choose by themselves who should hold office, rather than have fair elections.
Somewhere along the way, the idea of a civil discourse has been lost, but Kane County should use this grant money to make sure that democracy continues – with free and fair elections.