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Tags: mail | voters

Assuring Integrity In a Divided Nation Begins With Transparency

Our Votes Should Count

A large banner with Our Vote Should Count at a Rally to Secure Our Borders in Lincoln, Nebraska at the State Capital Building. Aug. 2, 2014. (Tamara Lee Harding/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Wednesday, 11 November 2020 05:35 PM EST

In the week following Election Day, two indisputable truths emerged from the data.

President Trump won almost every battleground state voting in the traditional, in-person manner; and his opponent, Joe Biden’s campaign had seemingly profited from the months of early and mail-in voting campaigns.

However, as many of these mail in votes have surfaced in counts after election night, in counts occurring in cities with long-standing democratic political machines and histories of corruption in patterns that pose statistical improbabilities — our country has become more and more distrustful of the process. President Trump’s campaign has responded by filing lawsuits to stop the counting of mail-in votes states like Nevada, Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania; and the states of Pennsylvania and Arizona have recently been pulled from the Biden victory column due to the evidence arising that the count is far from over.

The key argument offered by the Trump campaign is that there is an unprecedented lack of transparency in the vote counts, specifically as certified poll watchers are not being given the ability to inspect the count. In Pennsylvania, President Trump had won the state on election night with a lead of over 600,000 in-person votes. However, the next day after mail-in votes were counted, the Trump lead had shrunk to a 320,000-vote lead. As of the morning of Nov. 6, the lead has supposedly completely disappeared, which has many residents of a state that is over 85% Republican wondering how that is even statistically probable.

The 2020 election, regardless of who wins, raises serious questions as to how transparent our state and local governments are – and how a prevalent lack of transparency leads to a serious distrust in state and local government.

Here in Pennsylvania, these include the fact that:

  • Election integrity is governed by the Pennsylvania Secretary of State and locally in Philadelphia by the City Commissioner’s office. If an allegation of fraud occurs, the Philadelphia District Attorney and Pennsylvania State Attorney General are charged with investigating it. However, the conflicts of interest posed by a history of anti-Trump public communications by these officials would likely be enough to force their recusal from any legal case, had the issue reached a courtroom.

  • Despite the state capitol of Pennsylvania being in Harrisburg, the state’s mail-in votes are being counted at Philadelphia’s convention center over 90 miles away. Not only is Philadelphia a city that is 7:1 Democratic and plagued with a history of election scandals; but the convention center itself is largely staffed and allegedly controlled by electrical union local 98, which is led by John Dougherty — Philadelphia’s reputed "Democratic Kingmaker" who has not only supported the Biden campaign, but has been under a multi-count federal indictment for years.

  • Despite the counting of mail-in ballots being received from outside Philadelphia, the officials on site are not run by state officials, but primarily members of the Philadelphia City Commissioner’s Office — chaired by Lisa Deeley, who lost her notary license in 2019. Deeley is a longtime member of the local political machine and daughter of Barbara Deeley, who served in the Sheriff’s administration of John Green. In 2018, Barbara Deeley testified under a grant of immunity that her boss, Sheriff Green accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for lucrative Sheriff's Office contracts relating to property foreclosures and auctions. In 2010, Lisa Deeley was a legislative aide for the City Controller’s office that was charged with auditing the Sheriff’s Office her mother was a senior official in, in where regular audits seemingly overlooked the pattern of illicit contracts therein.

  • As the City Commissioners are not law enforcement, election law enforcement and security in Philadelphia is under the jurisdiction of the Philadelphia Sheriff’s Office, which was formerly led in interim by Commissioner Deeley’s mother Barbara. The current Sheriff is Rochelle Bilal who sources say was reportedly "told to resign" from the Philadelphia Police Department and was later fired by nearby Colwyn Borough — where she apparently was Director of Public Safety. In just the first two years of her term as Sheriff, Bilal has already been the subject of corruption scandals, and has publicly voiced "outrage" against President Trump.

  • Republican poll watchers and minority inspectors have been barred from polling places and told to stay 30 to 100 feet from vote counters at the convention center, making it virtually impossible to inspect any ballots for the first three days of counting.

Despite these factors, City Commissioners Chairwoman Lisa Deeley said "I feel very comfortable in the progress we made so far and I look forward to continuing that progress."

Whether it is at traditional polls or at counting locations in Detroit and Philadelphia, full transparency could have helped restore trust in the system and alleviated concerns of corruption in these primarily Democratic cities.

Simply denying corruption in the media doesn’t negate the first-hand knowledge people in places like Detroit and Philadelphia have about their long-standing history of corruption.

The long-standing lack of bipartisan checks and balances in cities like Philadelphia with a total lack of journalistic integrity have caused a culture of corruption among public officials who feel as if they can do whatever they want to without getting caught — despite the fact that Philadelphia leads the nation in public corruption indictments.

I saw this firsthand two years ago, when I was engaged by the Fitzpatrick for Congress campaign to record and cover events by his then-opponent, Scott Wallace.

After assessing the assignment, I determined that I had to cover the Wallace campaign under a pen name, because Wallace campaign aides were blocking access and physically obstructing anyone with opposing viewpoints from recording or questioning their candidate.

Despite my submitting content to the Washington Examiner and Bucks County newspaper and having bylines in The Hill, Arizona Republic, Daily Caller, Washington Times, Buffalo News and other papers; I was negatively portrayed by local reporters working with the campaign who covered me as "a former police officer posing as a journalist."

The point is, whether it’s the Biden Campaign, local politicians or the process of government  if you are in a role paid for and serving the public, you should never have an issue with transparency. If you want a public job, you should never be concerned with having the public see or hear what you say and do. If these officials welcomed citizens with opposing views to see what they were doing, we may be able to find common ground as a nation.

As President Trump is able to point to his election night numbers and claim, rightfully, that his votes are legitimate because the majority of his voters appeared, in person, to physically cast their vote — it is therefore important for the Biden campaign to go out of their way to prove their mail-in votes are legitimate. Considering the fact that there are already public videos being posted showing that dead (120 year old) voters send in mail-in ballots in Michigan, one wonders why the Biden-Harris campaign would take issue with President Trump’s offer to join his campaign in inspecting mail-in and assure the integrity in the 2020 election.

A. Benjamin Mannes, MA, CPP, CESP, is a Subject Matter Expert in Security & Criminal Justice Reform based on his two and a half decade career on both sides the criminal justice system. Mannes served in both federal and municipal law enforcement in though the 9/11 attacks, D.C.-area sniper task force, homeland security exercises and natural disasters. Mannes' work in D.C. led to personal encounters with the D.C.'s unlawful personnel actions, unconstitutional gun laws and criminal justice inequalities, which led him to become an advocate for public integrity. Thereafter, Mannes served for nearly nine years as the Director, Office of Investigations for North America's largest medical board, as a Chief Compliance Officer, consultant, expert witness, nonprofit board member and political adviser. Read A. Benjamin Mannes' Reports — More Here.

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President Trump is able to point to his election night numbers and claim, rightfully, that his votes are legitimate because the majority of his voters appeared, in person, to physically vote. It's important for the Biden campaign to prove their mail-in votes are legitimate.
mail, voters
Wednesday, 11 November 2020 05:35 PM
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