‘Count Every Vote’ Urges Legal Tally in Presidential Election - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

‘Count Every Vote’ Urges Legal Tally in Presidential Election

Count Every Vote activists. credit: Anthony C. Hayes

Activists from Count Every Vote prepare for a peaceful protest in north Baltimore. (BPE)

BALTIMORE — On July 2 of this year, President Trump tweeted: “Mail-In Ballots will lead to massive electoral fraud and a rigged 2020 Election.” Trump reiterated this assertion throughout his campaign, and hit on it again election night, as vote-counting was abruptly stopped in several Democrat-controlled key states.

Many on the left – and in the media – continually maintained the president’s statement was patently false – poo-pooing the notion that post-November 3 shenanigans might be afoot. Even so, some concerned Marylander Quakers took note as the campaign progressed, and pledged to lend their support to make sure that every legal ballot is counted.

The group – called Protect the Results / Count Every Vote! – kicked off their post-election contingency plans last evening with a 4:00 PM press conference at Ellerslie-St. Andrews Church in Mt Washington. Peaceful protests at six intersections along Northern Parkway followed the press conference.

Count Every Vote also staged a two-pronged car caravan which started at 4:30 PM at Stony Run Friends Meeting.

Charlie Cooper of Count Every Vote. (Anthony C. Hayes/BPE)

Charlie Cooper of Count Every Vote. (Anthony C. Hayes/BPE)

Charlie Cooper – one of the organizers and a speaker at the press conference – told the Baltimore Post-Examiner he is concerned that the President might not recognize the rule of law.

“In late September, a group of people got together, listening to what the President was saying about how certain ballots shouldn’t be counted – even though we could clearly see that these ballots would be legal under the respective state laws. People said, ‘No, if we lose the rule of law we’ve lost everything.’ So, we came together and we worked feverishly to put together this event tonight that’s going to be strung along Northern Parkway. There is also a sister event in Dundalk; another sister event in Annapolis; and there are other events all over the state which people organized through other groups.

“The point is, if all people are created equal, then all votes have to be equal. We have too much pitting groups against each other, and trying to win in politics by excluding a group. We totally oppose that.”

Picking up on the equality question, we asked Cooper – if all votes are created equal – if he believes there should there be a national standard for the national election?

“That’s a different question than we’re addressing right now,” said Cooper. “I mean, I have an opinion on that. What we’re addressing right now is the rule of law, and the rule of law says that within the state, every vote for president is the same. That’s what we’re trying to enforce right now.”

What about the concerns many have voiced about the mail-in votes – not only with the timing of their arrival at various state counting centers via the U.S. Postal Service and state-designated drop boxes – but also questions about validating post marks, legal protocols, and voter signatures?

“Some of those have to be taken one by one,” said Cooper. “And some of them are valid. We have a special situation because we have a pandemic. So for the primaries, many states, including our state, including our governor said, under the emergency law, ‘I’m declaring an emergency, and we’re going to modify the election laws.’ That’s a legal process.

“The states are in charge of the election. The Constitution is crystal clear — there is no federal election. There are 50 state elections for electors for President. The President has really no business (in this).

“As a candidate, he can have a position. He can file a lawsuit – that’s all fine – but he’s not in charge of the election. The states are in charge of the election. What’s important is that they follow their laws. And yes, there could be a case where one law is in conflict with another law, and then a court has to decide; a legislature has to decide; the governor has to decide.

“But the (president’s) statement was a blanket statement: ‘No vote after midnight on November 3 is valid.’ That’s not right. Every state counts votes after midnight on November 3.”

What about questionable ballots that arrive “late” or mysteriously appear after November 3rd?

“That’s not the statement he made,” said Cooper. “He said no votes should be counted after November 3. He also doesn’t want certain votes to come in after a certain date. That is up to the individual state laws. It’s a matter of enforcing those laws and having the process go forward in a democratic fashion.”

Given what happened in Florida in the bitterly contested 2000 election, we asked Cooper if he thought he would ever see another presidential election with the potential to be headed for court?

“Well, I probably didn’t before this particular president was elected, but he definitely breaks a lot of norms. And all I can say is what I said in the press conference: The people are the ultimate arbiters of the rule of law in a democracy, and the people must stand for democracy. So we really can’t have any officials breaking the law. And we the people have to stand up for equality and for democracy.”

Will ‘Count Every Vote’ be holding anymore events around town in the coming days or weeks?

“We have to see how things go,” concluded Cooper.

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About the author

Anthony C. Hayes

Anthony C. Hayes is an actor, author, raconteur, rapscallion and bon vivant. A one-time newsboy for the Evening Sun and professional presence at the Washington Herald, Tony's poetry, photography, humor, and prose have also been featured in Smile, Hon, You're in Baltimore!, Destination Maryland, Magic Octopus Magazine, Los Angeles Post-Examiner, Voice of Baltimore, SmartCEO, Alvarez Fiction, and Tales of Blood and Roses. If you notice that his work has been purloined, please let him know. As the Good Book says, "Thou shalt not steal." Contact the author.

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