Forum, Oct. 31: Don’t honor claims of victory until all votes are counted

Published: 10/30/2020 10:00:17 PM
Modified: 10/30/2020 10:00:08 PM
Don’t honor claims of victory until all votes are counted

The Los Angeles Times editorial “Avoiding a ‘meltdown’ ” (Oct. 27), states that “President Donald Trump ... seems likely to question the legitimacy of the election if Democratic nominee Joe Biden prevails in a close race — or even, perhaps, if Biden wins in a landslide.” It lists a number of actions Trump might take.

Because it is likely that many votes will not be counted by election night, it’s possible that Trump may try to prevent further counting by one means or another.

Lifelong Quaker activist and sociologist George Lakey recommends that we urge every elected official at all levels, of all parties, all across the country to make a public pledge to honor no claims of victory until all votes are counted (or, of course, until a winning margin is greater than the number of votes still uncounted).

Please call or email your elected officials at every level and ask them to make such a public pledge, and urge your friends to contact their representatives as well.

Making this pledge widespread — flooding the airwaves and social media in the few days left before the election — would inhibit the administration from even trying a vote-counting shutdown.

More of Lakey’s ideas about how ordinary people can head off or, if necessary, defeat an election-related illegal power grab can be found at the Choose Democracy website ( Also, the website of Protect the Vote ( lists efforts supported by dozens of organizations for taking action after Election Day.



Most media fail to cover Biden family finances story

Before I alarm all my friends, I want to remind them that I am a longtime Democrat, have campaigned for Democrats for decades, have consistently voted Democratic, and was a press secretary for a Democratic congressman in Washington.

Even with this background, I am dismayed at the refusal by so many media outlets to cover the financial dealings of the Biden family. Broadcast media especially have been guilty of following this path. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether the allegations against the Bidens are true or false. What matters is that the American people have the right to find out which is the case, and for this, they need the full participation of all the media.

I worked for the Army in West Berlin during the Cold War. I don’t wish to overstate the case, but the failure by many of our media to cover the Biden story seems to resemble the techniques used by the media to shield the leaders of the totalitarian German Democratic Republic.

The American media that have chosen to ignore the Biden problem will, one of these days, look back and regret their partisan policy. Too many of them have ignored the democratic norms of American society. If the Democrats win on Tuesday, they will need the people’s support of the very norms they may be undermining in the presidential campaign.


West Lebanon

Tool of the corrupt Republican Senate

The scene of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court reminded me vividly of the panel in The Cloisters’ Unicorn Tapestries series in which armed, fierce and predatory hunters surround the Unicorn as they advance toward her capture.

My first glimpse of Judge Barrett, though, during the hearings, was radically different. She looked familiar, rather like an attractive school friend, was obviously competent and appeared both responsible and attentive. I couldn’t, in fact, imagine such a woman actually voting to undo our health care or abortion protections.

However, I’m afraid I see her now as the happily acquiescent tool of our increasingly corrupt and debased Senate Republican majority — not an unwilling victim like the Unicorn but an active colluder in an audaciously unprincipled procedure, and I’m deeply ashamed for our gender.



The benefits of social democracy

Some say they will vote for President Donald Trump no matter what because “I choose freedom over socialism.”

Even if former Vice President Joe Biden were a socialist, which he isn’t, he has no intention of shutting down the free market economy in America. Why are seemingly intelligent people willing to vote for Donald Trump in spite of his lack of dignity and moral compass in order to protect the country from socialism? What do these well-meaning people understand socialism to be? This is the question I ask myself as Tuesday approaches and my fear of four more years with Donald Trump keep me up at night.

What I would suggest to those who fear the “S word” is that no responsible person is suggesting we replace American democracy with a Marxist uprising or the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. No one is talking about reviving Fidel Castro.

Social democracy seeks to humanize capitalism and maintain a more egalitarian society. It seeks to curb inequality. It seeks to create public services that care for the elderly, provide affordable child care, education and health care. Aren’t these things everyone wants? Where would Americans be without the Social Security system created in the wake of the Great Depression? Don’t people realize that the American Social Security system is the product of social democracy?

I’m a born and bred American who lived in France for past 38 years. I am grateful for all that social democracy in my adopted country has given me: affordable health care and an excellent education for my son without saddling us or him with enormous debt. Yes, I pay taxes, yes public service comes with a cost, and no, everything is not perfect. But the security that social democracy provides to the people of France is what I wish for my fellow Americans.



Trump preserves our cultural and political economy

Even before President Donald Trump was elected, the Democratic Party did not like someone running who had only a business background and was running for the first time. What has been exposed since then is that the members of the Senate and the House are interested primarily their own careers; the needs of the country and its long-term direction come second.

Trump’s success, for example, at completing 400 miles of southern border wall exposes other politicians’ inability to get things accomplished.

Trump’s frank, brash statements have irritated the establishment. In essence, Trump was elected to serve the people, and as he stated in one of his recent rallies, “I am not a politician.”

In this election year, the biased TV media have not been covering the massive Chinese military buildup or its efforts to control the South China Sea, including movements of cargo ships and thus trade beyond its jurisdiction. The Chinese government has also been indirectly assisting U.S. political families. One example is the Biden family. According to The Wall Street Journal, Hunter Biden owned 10% of a Shanghai-based private-equity firm, which set a fundraising goal of $1.5 billion and got financial backing from a large Chinese-controlled bank.

This corruption reminds us of the days of Republican Dick Cheney and a few others.

President Trump is a pragmatist, has taken a progressive and bold stance in the world economy and wants to see the country get its domestic manufacturing back. For example, the recent dissolving of NAFTA and an agreement with China to offset its trade imbalance by $50 billion.

Other actions include improved U.S. border control to reduce human, drug and sex trafficking, wall construction to reduce cross-border plant and human diseases, long-term financial support to African American institutions, and many others not mentioned here.

No one should vote for or against drama, but for the person who has and will preserve our cultural and political economy for the long term, and that means “ruffling” some politicians’ feathers and exposing corruption, as President Trump has been doing.



Half-truths weaken our ‘shared reality’

The op-ed column by Daniel T. Worts III (“Mass media’s distortions spiral us into division,” Oct. 23) and his hope that the people of America have a “shared reality” is well-written and, for the most part, commendable. Unfortunately, it puts the cart in front of the horse.

Where were the worries about a “smear” campaign when Hillary Clinton was subject to chants of “lock her up” during in the 2016 campaign? The dismissal of President Donald Trump’s tax situation as “everybody does it” ignores Trump’s refusal to release his returns so everyone can see what a crook looks like. Clinton’s advice to Joe Biden not to concede pales in comparison to Trump’s repeated statements that the upcoming election will be fraudulent, undermining the very foundations of our democracy. Citing a judicial ruling in a municipal election in Paterson, N.J., and the striking of ballots in a primary in Brooklyn as evidence of fraud in the national election is deceitful at best.

I was born at night, but not last night.

I worked for the Postal Service for almost 29 years. As far as I knew, everyone I worked with was entirely imbued with the sanctity of the mail. To suggest that the American Postal Workers Union’s endorsement of Biden is in some way connected to mail-in ballot fraud is a terrible insult to the hundreds of thousands of dedicated postal workers across this land. Should I suppose, then, that the endorsement of President Trump by police unions means that thousands of hard-working, decent, honest, caring police officers are really brutal, fascist thugs with their knees on the throat of American democracy?

No, I’m going to need more than a half-dozen specious half-truths in order to drink the milk of human kindness of our “shared reality,” although I would love to raise a glass.



Donald Trump has ruined the country

Donald Trump’s father must be so proud as he looks up to see his son as president, totally ruining the country in four short years. A one-man wrecking ball.

Of course, he’s had a lot of enablers along the way, but I’ll give him the credit for destroying all that we stand for. And he wants to get rid of health insurance, Medicare, and Social Security, if he gets the chance to.


West Lebanon

Sue Prentiss shows her commitment to public service

I would like to put in a recommendation for Sue Prentiss for New Hampshire Senate for District 5.

I have lived in Lebanon for 20-plus years and have had various reasons to contact the city for “occasional citizen concerns.” As a Lebanon city councilor representing my ward, Prentiss responded to each of my inquiries promptly, thoughtfully and professionally. In each case, she stuck with the issue and followed through until it was resolved. I have no doubt that she will provide the same level of service and commitment to her constituents in the New Hampshire Senate. Please join me in casting a vote for Sue Prentiss on Tuesday.


West Lebanon

Larry Satcowitz will serve us all well

I am writing to offer my support for Larry Satcowitz in his campaign to represent the towns of Braintree, Brookfield, Granville, Randolph and Roxbury in the Vermont Legislature, and I encourage you to support him as well.

I have known him and his family since they moved to Randolph. We have had many conversations about local topics such as the schools, the condition of town facilities such as roads and sidewalks, the local police department, recreation opportunities and the state of the local economy. He is thoughtful, rational and has a very even disposition.

He has represented Randolph citizens well in his terms on the Selectboard. Having been a Selectboard member myself, I know that these qualities will serve us all well if he is representing us in the Vermont Legislature.

Vermonters are facing many challenges. We must keep addressing COVID-19 with Vermonters’ health as the priority. Our economy will need support and creative thinking to come back strongly. Climate change is impacting all of us, and even a small state like Vermont must do its part to help start heading our society in a sustainable direction. His calm demeanor and keen intellect will be a real asset as the Legislature works on all these issues. Please join me in giving Larry Satcowitz your vote.



Jenn Alford-Teaster will fight for quality education

Jenn Alford-Teaster is running for the District 8 seat in the New Hampshire Senate. I have spoken with her several times and listened to her enthusiasm and passionate responses to the issues concerning all of us here in New Hampshire.

She is resourceful, energetic and clear with her support of health care accessibility and cost. She also sees the necessity for broadband for our economic growth and educational access.

She is a fighter for quality education and a wonderful example of a New Hampshire public education. She is accessible, intelligent and honest. She has everything we need in our Senate. She has my vote. I hope she has yours.



Kirk White is a true community leader

I’m writing to encourage others to join me in supporting a true community leader as the next representative for Bethel, Stockbridge, Rochester and Pittsfield: Kirk White.

I’ve had the honor of working side-by-side with him for many years now, launching creative community projects with the Bethel Revitalization Initiative. Whether on Main Street or in Montpelier, White has the skills and commitment to help people bridge divides and work together.

Even before the pandemic, our rural Vermont towns needed to find unique and unlikely solutions to big challenges: growing their local economies and increasing affordability, retaining youth and offering opportunities. White has a track record of thriving on that challenge itself, from creating the pop-up Bethel University to supporting small businesses to attracting volunteers to creating partnerships. When there isn’t a clear answer, he excels at listening to others, brainstorming solutions and building relationships.

As divided as America seems today, I believe that we small-town Vermonters have more in common than most. And I believe in White, because he knows how essential it is to help communities discover and celebrate that common ground. I believe we need more of the qualities he has shared in Bethel: thoughtfulness, optimism, diligence and inclusivity. And I believe we will all benefit from Kirk White’s commitment to smart policy over partisanship, to finding possibilities amidst our problems and — above all — to prioritizing people over politics.



Ed Rajsteter is the choice for District 15 House seat

On Tuesday, there are two choices for Grafton 15 district representative — David Binford, of Bath, and Ed Rajsteter, of North Haverhill. How do we choose?

Binford was a representative for the district from 2017 through 2018. During that time, he voted against marijuana legalization and for repealing the greenhouse gas initiative; against prohibiting gender identity discrimination; against allowing people with medical needs to grow their own marijuana; and for allowing loaded firearms to be carried everywhere, including into polling places. He didn’t even show up to vote on 87 bills brought to the floor.

In addition, as reported in the Valley News, Binford offered to provide security for a Rivendell Academy basketball game against a mixed race/mixed nationality Winooski, Vt., team. He showed up at the school auditorium, crowded with children, openly carrying a loaded sidearm, much to the chagrin of the Orford police chief and the school’s athletic director.

The other candidate, Ed Rajsteter, retired from 40 years of working in the banking industry and has dedicated his life to helping people fight the scourge of drug addiction. He is the founder and president of the Friends of New Hampshire Drug Courts, which provides substance abuse services for people in need. He was awarded the Advocacy in Action Award for his work. He has a long history of volunteerism and, when elected, will continue combating the opioid epidemic in our state, reducing prescription drug costs, and finding better ways to fund the state’s troubled education system.

Ed Rajsteter will work for all New Hampshire residents, regardless of their gender, race, sexual orientation or social status. David Binford’s record speaks for itself.

Character matters. Vote for Ed Rajsteter for New Hampshire state representative for the Grafton 15 district.


Landaff, N.H.

Vermont needs leaders like Larry Satcowitz

Our legislative district is very fortunate to have Larry Satcowitz running for the Vermont House.

He is skilled and experienced at the nuances of government, having served impeccably as a member of the Randolph Selectboard since 2017. Anyone who has worked with him or has sought him out learns immediately that he takes the time to listen fully and respectfully to others. He contemplates all sides of each issue and all citizens’ opinions, becoming well-informed about the nuances of each issue, before he makes a decision.

He is articulate, discreet, good-natured and insightful. He has been an accomplished teacher of Vermont’s youth and college students for 15 years. He is a caring father and husband, and a reliable and constant friend to many. Among his legislative goals are to help create reliable, affordable, high-quality preschool and child care for all. He also is committed to working hard to support the Vermont State Colleges, especially Vermont Technical College.

Please vote for Larry Satcowitz on Tuesday, and encourage your friends to vote for him, too. We need exceptional leaders like him in Montpelier.



Vote, or don’t complain

Voting is a right we have that citizens of many countries around the world only dream of. I suggest it is an obligation as well as a privilege in a democracy like ours. There are no valid excuses for not voting. Absentee ballots are readily available so in-person voting is not required.

Every vote counts, as some recent elections proved when only one or two votes separated winner from loser. It does not matter if it is a local election for school board or selectboard, town clerk, town treasurer or many other positions we elect, each affects us in some way.

The same is true of our local representatives and senators as well as statewide officers, which we will elect on Tuesday. They determine so much of what impacts us, from taxes to regulations we have to live by. The elections for president and members of Congress likewise have a huge impact on us, our families and our friends.

We get to vote for every position I have listed above. Make sure you do.

You may not especially like any of the candidates, but one may be more in line with your beliefs. Voting for that one. We should always choose the one we feel is best suited for the position. Rarely will we agree with every position that person has.

I have long angered people who complain about an issue, either local, state or national, when I ask, “Did you vote?” If they respond with a “no,” I say then don’t waste my time as you obviously did not care enough to do anything about it.


Bradford, Vt.

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