Letter: Kontos Column encourages division in presidential election

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To the Editor-

Dan Kontos is correct. Elections are a process. And the elector for the Electoral College will certify a winner on December 14th, and then in January, Congress will declare the next President of the United States. And that winner will be Joe Biden.

He gives an excellent civics lesson on how votes are cast, tabulated, and certified—which is where his knowledge is due to his public service and experience as an elected official.

But he muddies the water when he brings up polls and the media. While he is correct that the media doesn’t declare a winner, he misrepresents the methods by which networks and news agencies choose to declare the projected winners of elections.

Let’s stick a pin in the polls. Polls are opinions—they can be accurate but they can be notoriously unreliable due to things like data pools, data collection techniques, questions, and the fact that people just sometimes lie.

Votes are NOT opinions. And they are NOT unreliable. They are hard data sets with a decentralized, local focus. But the data is collected publicly, transparently, and reported AS THE PROCESS GOES ON.

Media (which has been villainized plenty, so let’s give it a tiny break, shall we?) don’t just randomly decide to call the projected winners of elections. Believe it or not, the major media outlets actually collect the data as it is released and use teams of data analysts to determine when they are going to call elections.

CNN, MSNBC, even FOX News have a room staffed with a coterie of numbers nerds and bean counters that are comparing data. And because this is America and our voting system is transparent, public, and reliable, they look at the numbers or registered voters, the number of votes cast, the number of absentee ballots requested, the number of absentee ballots returned, etc. These are KNOWN factors. These nerds can tell you if the number of outstanding ballots will change the results of an election. When they calculate that number is passed, they make the decision to call the projected winner.

So the pundits and talking heads aren’t making the call here. It’s the data. And it’s easy to argue with a person. But it’s impossible to argue with data.

The danger of Mr. Kontos’ theory is encouraging people that these numbers will somehow change. They won’t. Even Scott Walker, with all his brutal election experience, says that a recount simply won’t budge the numbers in Wisconsin.

So what does it hurt to wait? Actually, it hurts a lot.

Joe Biden is President-Elect of the United States. And it’s more than just courtesy to deem him so. It’s vital to national security. Daily National Security Briefings, Intelligence, and government resources are vital to the next administration hitting the ground running to meet the myriad of challenges facing the county.

So naming a President-Elect in November gives the next Administration 75 days to prepare for the toughest job in the world. We owe it to any administration to do this. It’s nearly impossible to prepare in less than three months.

By waiting until January, we shorten the next Administration’s preparation time to 20 days! This has been the norm across elections and parties in every modern election in this county.

So this isn’t a Media problem. This is a dangerous precedent being set to salve the battered feelings of a minority of the electorate and the infantile president they voted for.

Lisa Pett