Eight agonizing days and nights after the 2022 midterm elections were held, the New York Times finally called the race for the House of Representatives for the Republicans. Although the balance of power equation in the Senate is now sealed, the Alaskan Senate contest is yet to be decided. Incumbent Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R) is expected to eke out a win against GOP challenger Kelly Tshibaka under the state's new ranked-choice voting system.
The world's oldest democracy and wealthiest country can and should do better. Even in heavily contested districts, voters should know the results before they brew their first-morning coffee the day after. Any other outcome is unacceptable.
Liberals scream at this thought. During the Gore v. Bush fiasco, the world waited five weeks before the Supreme Court stopped the Democrats' efforts to take a state-wide recount in Florida and handed the election to Bush. Then, the Democrats created their mantra to which they adhere to this day: "All votes should be counted!"
By insisting on the word all, the Democrats make it a well-polled talking point that anything less than "all" inherently discriminates against the poor and communities of color. The media has embellished this narrative over the years, further fueling the Democrats' frenzy when people debate election reform.
No one is suggesting that any vote be excluded. But requiring voters to submit their choices before the polls close is a reasonable stipulation. The "Compelling Interest" principle applies. The interests of the state and every voter in the country who voted on time should overtake those whose votes are not in by election night, even if such action may burden some voters.
The case in Maricopa County last week is a prime example. Some voting machines were faulty and Republican activists filed an emergency motion to a state judge to extend polling for a few hours. The judge refused, saying that Arizona law was clear and that the erroneous machines did not constitute a sufficient-enough emergency to alter poll station times. Extending the times at one booth could give some who showed up late at the voting booth for the first time an unfair advantage.
In effect, the judge disallowed the principle of allowing all votes to be cast, even though voters were not at fault, under the principle that the state's interests to protect election integrity outweigh the former's interests.
So, if a walk-in at an electoral booth is denied the chance to cast a vote after the polls close, why do states extend the courtesy to absentee voters to mail ballots postmarked as late as Election day?
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, ultra-Left states like California, Maryland, New York, and D.C. are over-generous in accepting mail-in ballots after Election Day. In Illinois, ballots must be received within 14 days of the election if postmarked on or before Election Day. These states have deviated from 30 states, including liberal states such as Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont, which require that mail-in ballots be received by the close of polls on Election Day.
The idea of postmarked mail has a tradition of acceptance by government agencies. Tax returns must be postmarked before 11:59 p.m. on April 15. It is customary to see postal employees stand at mailboxes on April 15 to postmark these returns so that taxpayers are assured that their returns were accepted before the deadline.
Ultra-liberal states should change their laws to require that votes arrive at the counting station no later than election night. Postmarked mail can continue to have relevance in an election if that date is set about a week before election day. A bank does not care about when a credit card payment is postmarked; it only cares about when the payment arrives.
If these states feel that changing laws is a burden, they should invest in infrastructure to encourage voters to mail their ballots early enough so their votes have a meaningful chance of being counted. States could enlist the U.S. Postal Service for specialized ballot pickup runs using dedicated postal vehicles.
If voters hand over their ballots to the specialized mail carrier, they should be assured that their votes will be counted; otherwise, they will not. The latter case is not dissimilar to someone who rushes to the booth an hour before polls close. They might make it, or they might not.
A significant election integrity issue for the last two elections has been that ballots begin arriving at counting centers long after election night when the country returned to work. In Nevada last week, the Republican challenger for the Senate seat was up by 5 points on Election Day.
Nevada has one of the most bizarre rules pushed through by Democratic operatives during the 2020 election. Ballots must be received by 5 p.m. on the fourth day following the election if postmarked by Election Day. Worse, ballots with unclear postmarks received by the third day following the election are deemed to have been postmarked on or before Election Day.
Bad actors can safely dump boxes of ballots after Election Day, knowing they will be treated as valid.
And to sow doubts among election skeptics, the Republican slowly gave up his 5-point lead and finally lost to the Democrat incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto.
Geopolitics And Geoeconomics
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he had held a meeting the day prior with CIA Director William Burns, currently in the region, to discuss the war in Ukraine.
Burns visited Kyiv as Russia showered the city with missiles. Zelenskyy reported that the CIA head had spent time in a bomb shelter before the two men met.
"We had a meeting with him... (we) talked about all the issues that are important to Ukraine," Zelenskyy told a televised news conference, saying the two men had discussed what he described as Russia's nuclear threat.
Western leaders moved to calm fears of a dangerous escalation in Russia's war in Ukraine, saying a missile blast in Poland was likely an accident.
Kyiv pushed back hard at the idea its anti-aircraft fire was to blame. Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky pointed the finger at Russia, but the United States, like NATO, came out firmly in support of Warsaw's assessment that Ukraine probably fired the deadly missile.
Two people were killed on Tuesday when at least one missile hit a village in NATO member Poland near the Ukrainian border during a mass Russian bombardment aimed at civilian infrastructure inside Western-backed Ukraine.
U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley said Ukraine had a "low probability" of militarily forcing Russia to leave the occupied territories, including Crimea.
He added that Moscow was still superior to its neighbor in terms of combat power despite suffering a few setbacks in the war.
"The probability of a Ukrainian military victory, kicking the Russians out of all of Ukraine to include... Crimea, the probability of that happening anytime soon, is not high militarily," Pentagon Joint Chiefs Chair General Mark Milley told reporters on Wednesday.
The Pentagon's top general warned that any Chinese attack on Taiwan would be a strategic mistake as bad as Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"I think it would be unwise. It would be a political mistake, a geopolitical mistake, a strategic mistake, similar to what the strategic mistake is that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin has made in Ukraine," said U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman General Mark Milley.
Chinese President Xi Jinping chastised Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over alleged leaks of an earlier meeting at the G20 summit in a rare public display of annoyance captured on camera.
In video footage published by Canadian broadcasters, Xi and Trudeau can be seen standing close to each other and conversing via a translator at the summit on the Indonesian island of Bali.
"Everything we discussed has been leaked to the paper; that's not appropriate, and that's not … the way the conversation was conducted, if there is sincerity on your part," a smiling Xi told Trudeau through the interpreter.
"In Canada, we believe in free and open and frank dialogue, and that is what we will continue to have. We will continue to look to work constructively together, but there will be things we will disagree on." Trudeau said.
"Let's create the conditions first," Xi responded through the interpreter before smiling, shaking Trudeau's hand, and walking off.
Chinese regulators asked banks to report on their ability to meet short-term obligations after a rapid selloff in bonds triggered a flood of investor withdrawals from fixed-income products.
The unscheduled regulatory queries coincided with the biggest decline in China's short-term government debt since mid-2020. The slump was spurred by a shift toward riskier assets, including stocks, prompting retail investors to pull money from wealth-management products, fueling a spiral of price declines and accelerating withdrawals. Losses also spread to top-rated corporate bonds, stoking a record yield surge this week.
French President Emmanuel Macron wrapped up his press conference at the G20 summit in Bali with a message for Iran.
He called for regional stability, referring to recent bombardments on Iraqi soil, denounced the use of hostage-taking, and reiterated support for the ongoing protest movement. Macron called on Tehran to return to calm and the spirit of cooperation.
At least seven French citizens are believed to be held hostage in Iran. France has made several diplomatic attempts in recent months to break the deadlock.
An Iranian-made drone attacked a tanker off the coast of Oman on Tuesday, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.
It added that a multilateral maritime operation led by a British Royal Navy frigate had responded to the area.
A White House official said the United States was "confident that Iran likely conducted" the hit using an unmanned aerial vehicle. Iran's Nournews, affiliated with the country's top security body, blamed Israel for the attack.
#9. Iranian Drones Contain Parts From The U.S. And Potentially Israel, Report Says – Middle East Eye
The majority of parts found in downed Iranian drones in Ukraine are manufactured in the U.S., Europe, and Western allies, according to new Ukrainian intelligence documents.
This calls into question the success of U.S. efforts to curtail the proliferation of Iranian drones.
The revelation highlights Iran's success at building a potent arms industry on the back of cheap, commercially available parts that can be obtained from the West while evading U.S. sanctions.
French President Emmanuel Macron told world leaders in Bali that Paris "supports the full and complete integration of the African Union into the G20" in the same way the European Union is a member.
"If we want to express real solidarity with the South, we must accept that the African Union, like the European Union, comes to the table," Macron declared during a press conference.
South Africa is currently the only African member of the G20.
North Korea fired one short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) into the East Sea on Thursday, its second missile provocation in a little over a week.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said it detected the launch from the Wonsan area in Kangwon Province.
Shortly before the launch, the JCS said the South and the U.S. staged a "preplanned" missile defense exercise involving the allies' Aegis-equipped destroyers.
The launch came shortly after North Korean Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui warned the North would take "fiercer" military actions if the United States sticks to a move to strengthen its "extended deterrence" commitment to regional allies.
Extended deterrence refers to America's pledge to use a full range of its nuclear and conventional military capabilities to defend its allies.
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