Trust But Verify — By John Reed

Trust But Verify
This phrase comes from a Russian proverb “doveryay, no proveryay.” Ironically, President Reagan used it often to describe his dealings with the Soviet Union. It’s even more apt today, not just in international relations, but while dealing with things here at home.
Case point: the electoral mess in Iowa following the Democratic party caucuses. Multiple mistakes led to a botched counting of votes, calling the validity of the whole into question. Problem #1: new technology was introduced to supposedly streamline the counting and reporting process. Not surprisingly, the new tech proved buggy and unreliable.
The bigger problem was the political party run the process themselves. That should have been a no-brainer: do we let students grade their own final exams? If the Democrats can’t even run their own primary election in one small state, how can we expect them to be up to the task of running the country in November?
So on to the next question: could something like that happen here in Georgia? The answer is “no.” After the very close gubernatorial election in 2018, many questions were raised about our state system—the fairness of the voter registration process, the accessibility and schedule of voting sites, and the counting process itself. Much of that stemmed from Sore Loser Syndrome, but still it was clear there was room for improvement.
This time around, voters will generate a paper trail in the voting booth that will provide a physical backup to the machines that tally the votes. That should go a long way towards answering any questions that may arise after the fact. Another way to “trust but verify” is using poll-watchers. It’s not widely known, but each political party has the legal right to have representatives present at each polling station while it is open on Election Day. Their job is merely to observe, not campaign or otherwise interfere. Guidelines and policies are available at the courthouse.
It’s hard to have confidence in the veracity of anything in these days of fake news, false social media threads, and manufactured outrage for the smallest of issues. Having paper and human backups to the voting process will hopefully lay some of that mistrust to rest. We’re not Iowa!

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