The never-ending election

It is now two weeks since election day and four Congressional seats are still undecided as votes are still being counted. Perhaps the most turbulent one is in Utah where Republican incumbent Mia Love is locked in a tight race with Democrat Ben McAdams. The lead kept switching as votes came in from various districts and the latest reversal has McAdams up by just 739 votes out of nearly 270,000 cast. He seems to feel confident enough that this lead will hold up to declare victory when the final votes are certified later today.

It seems ridiculous that the US cannot count election votes in a timely way.

Meanwhile, Democrats picked up another seat in a Republican stronghold in New Mexico.

Democrat Xochitl Torres Small is the apparent winner of a hotly contested House race for New Mexico’s 2nd House District, according to NBC News, defeating GOP candidate Yvette Herrell and flipping the previously Republican-held district blue.

Torres Small, a water rights lawyer, ran on expanding access to health care and increasing funding for education, workers and veterans.

The district’s Republican incumbent, Steve Pearce, lost the state’s gubernatorial election against Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Currently the totals stand at 232-199 in favor of Democrats in the House of Representatives, a gain for them of 37 seats.

Given that the Democrats gained seven governorships as well, the only upside for Donald Trump and the Republicans has been the gain in two seats in the US senate. But since the Democrats were defending 26 senate seats, many in strongly Republican states, while the Republicans were defending only nine, this is small comfort since the situation will be reversed in 2020 where it will be the Republicans defending most of the Senate seats that are up for grabs.

There is one other encouraging sign. In North Dakota, as part of their voter suppression efforts, Republicans made voter registration very difficult for Native Americans. The cruel irony of denying the vote to the original inhabitants of this country who had been the victims of genocide seemed to escape them. But the move so outraged local activists that they mounted a vigorous voter registration and get-out-the-vote movement that resulted in greater Native American voter turnout than in previous elections. Not only that, the person who sponsored the restrictive voter ID law in the state legislature lost his own seat to a Native American woman. The activists are vowing to keep up the momentum for the 2020 elections.

This is the kind of grassroots organizing that Democrats did not do when Obama was president and Obama himself never consolidated the young activists who were energized by his two campaigns nor did he build a lasting organization. Bernie Sanders has been relentlessly following up on his campaign to get more progressive policies and it has paid off in that things like the livable wage and Medicare for all are now issues that are becoming standard Democratic issues.

In politics, you have to be in it for the long haul.


  1. says

    There is no doubt that there was a blue wave this election. Without a LOT of cheating by the Republicans (the most blatant being in Georgia), it would have been even worse for them. It’s no comfort but a small bit of delight in the knowledge that Brian Kemp knows Stacey Abrams would have won if he didn’t screw over the voters.

  2. springa73 says

    The length of time needed for some recounts does suggest that at least in some areas of the country, the electoral bureaucracy is understaffed and under-resourced.

  3. Dunc says

    It seems ridiculous that the US cannot count election votes in a timely way.

    True, but a lot of things about US elections seem ridiculous to an outside observer.

  4. seachange says

    Speaking as someone who staffs the roster at the precinct they live in, it is NOT ridiculous that it takes that long. (and yes. we’re underfunded, because nobody voting cares about this and legislatures regularly get away with financially starving county clerks/secretary of states, but it’s not relevant)

    Your vote counts. Your vote counts a LOT. The extra care and all that time that’s just boring you to death and fueling your crotchety snickets has a purpose. We put into every dang idiotic-seeming procedure we go through is designed (usually, in non-voter-suppressing jurisdictions) to make sure that every-vote-counts is absolutely as true as we can make it.

    Fake news and fake blogs and fake gossips all act as if the US Constitution didn’t say that what powers the federal government doesn’t have the States have. The federal government can say “have a federal election”. But how this gets implemented is by the States themselves and has been broadly interpreted by the States and all the courts. Some states are godsawful. But the ones who are still counting probably aren’t those states. These are the ones who are going out of their way to count each and every vote.

    Here in California our legislatures and records-keepers go out of their way to ensure everyone can vote. Sometimes pretty relentlessly because just about any interaction with government may result in you being told “do you want to vote” or “here’s a registration form!!!!eleventy11”. Yet voters all ungruntled by President Draftdoger McBonespurs accuse me and my panel of suppressing votes all the same.

    How nice for you?

    Voting is a public process and democracy in the US has always been a full-contact support. You are entitled to your opinion.

  5. Dunc says

    Other countries with higher rates of both registration and turn-out manage to count votes (often fully manually) and even do multiple recounts much, much quicker than this, even in cases where ballots have to be transported from remote outlying districts via difficult and unreliable transport routes. This is just one more way in which the US lags the rest of the developed world (and a great deal of the developing world) in implementing the basic features of a functioning democracy.

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