The sanctity of an arbitrary vote counting deadline

The sanctity of an arbitrary vote counting deadline

by digby

Back when I first started blogging, the 2000 election was still fresh in many of our minds and we used to chatter a lot about Republican electoral tactics. (Also known as GOP cheating.) 

I wrote this comment way back in 2003, about a different election dust-up in New Jersey, in which the Republicans once again decided that their best friend, the arbitrary deadline, overrides every other consideration, particularly the counting of all the votes.:

Despite their varying objections, there was one overriding matter of principle that every last Republican agreed upon, --- a matter so serious and of such fundamental importance to our system that any legalistic hairsplitting or judicial interpretations of it are, by their very nature, antithetical to the practice of democracy. 

This principle is not, you understand, that old liberal clap trap about “counting all the votes” or “whoever wins the most votes wins” or even something silly like “short of incapacity or corruption, office holders who have been certified in a legal election should be allowed to serve their entire term.” These are nice concepts but they don’t carry any serious philosophical weight. 

No, Republicans hold that the single most important principle upon which our electoral system rests is the sanctity of the arbitrary deadline which under no circumstances shall ever be overruled, even if it conflicts with another arbitrary deadline, is incomprehensibly vague or was instituted by the legislature for purely administrative purposes that had no bearing on anyone but a couple of election workers in outlying suburbs (if anyone can even remember why it was instituted in the first place.) 

If an arbitrary deadline is on the books it is sacrosanct under any and all circumstances and no court in the land has a right to tamper with it. 

This is because a deep and abiding fidelity to bureaucratic timetables that mean absolutely nothing is the very foundation of our democracy. You can look it up. 

*This rule only applies to those elections in which Republicans might lose if all the votes are counted.

They are still at it 15 years later:

This suppress by delay was the key GOP tactic in 2000 and it worked due to SCOTUS and the electoral college deadline.

There’s no reason in 2018 why Florida shouldn’t take whatever time is needed to count EVERY vote.
— Ronald Klain (@RonaldKlain) November 12, 2018

And some of them are so dumb they are just literally saying that any vote counted after election day is null and void:

The president of the US on Veterans Day is calling for military and overseas ballots to be ignored in state voting. Most of the uncounted outstanding Fla. ballots after election day were provisional or military & overseas.
— Garance Franke-Ruta (@thegarance) November 12, 2018