LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Consider sausages
The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the Bemidji Pioneer by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Bemidji Pioneer. To submit a letter, email email@example.com or mail it to Bemidji Pioneer, P.O. Box 455, Bemidji, MN 56601.
Consider sausages. ’Tis the season to process meat — and votes.
Ignore the old saying, “Laws are like sausages: better not to see them being made.” This is not about processing words into public laws, but about processing votes into public servants.
Election officials are supposed to follow instructions in the election “Bible” — the 2022 State of Minnesota Election Judge Guide — to ensure election integrity. (By extension, what if everyone followed Jesus’ instructions in the Bible, God’s Word, to ensure personal integrity?)
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By law, after the polls are closed on Nov. 8 this year, the public is allowed to observe the processing of the vote and inquire about vote totals, though no one may interfere with the work of the election judges. Observation keeps election officials accountable and reinforces our responsibility as citizens.
After the primary election in August, I observed the head judges (in Park Rapids, the city administrator and the city clerk) and other election judges:
- Open the ballot box and remove all ballots.
- Separate the ballots by precinct — Park Rapids has two. (In the general election, some precincts may need to separate ballots by school district.)
- Count the ballots in each precinct.
- Ensure the number of ballots equals the number of people who voted in each precinct.
- Print the results tape at the ballot counter machine.
- Account for “spoiled” and unused ballots.
- Fill out and sign paperwork.
- Package and seal ballots and other election materials.
- Prepare to transport election materials to the county auditor.
That’s a brief synopsis. For more detail, observe the processing of votes after 8 p.m. on Nov. 8. You may consider the voting process — and sausages — in a different light.