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Thu Jul 23, 2020, 09:10 PM

How to safeguard against the worst possible outcomes in November

What can U.S. citizens do to help protect the integrity of our November presidential election, after President Trump’s refusal last Sunday to pledge he’ll accept the outcome and his unfounded claims that the election could be “rigged”?

Be prepared, is the obvious first requirement. Knowing there’s likely to be a challenge to November’s results, state election officials should work diligently to provide safe and secure ways to count the votes, in-person and absentee. The coronavirus pandemic makes this planning harder — and more essential.

Be patient, is the second obligation. It may take a week after the Nov. 3 vote to confirm a reliable national tally. Partisans on both sides will be tempted to mount raucous demonstrations while the tense vote count continues. But that would play into Trump’s hands. As the country moves toward a possible political transition, law and order — and their essential companion, justice — will be the people’s friend.

The United States isn’t Russia or China, whatever fantasies of lifetime rule Trump may entertain. Our top military leaders — from Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on down — have stated emphatically that their oath is to the Constitution, not to Trump. And the Supreme Court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. this year reaffirmed the independence and the integrity of our judicial system.


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