This is about as political as I’m going to get. I don’t use social media as a secular partisan platform because I prioritize my citizenship in the Kingdom of God over this fallen, earthly realm.
As an ambassador representing that unseen realm, I do what I can – what I see needs to be done, and what I’m called to do – to make this world better. Although retired from a consecrated order in the United Methodist Church, I still take my commitment to “love, justice, and service” seriously.
I love and appreciate my country and want to see the continuation of our republic. That includes voting my conscience.
I haven’t voted yet, but I plan to go to the polls on November 3rd.
Two weeks from today, this current election cycle should technically end on the traditional day set aside to cast ballots, the first Tuesday of November. We all realize that won’t be the case.
I know our Probate Judge in charge of local elections and believe he is a man of integrity and precision. Between the in-person voting and absentee ballots, I trust our local election process will be free, fair, and accurate.
I do have great concern for what I hear about the process of mail-in ballots in other areas of the country.
Mail-in ballots are not the same as absentee ballots.
Admittedly, I haven’t done a lot of research on this. In this time of fake news, it’s difficult to know which reports can be trusted as factual. If half of the accounts are true, it is still concerning, since localized national elections have consequences for the rest of us.
I trust you’ve heard about the lax distribution procedures, questionable verification of eligible voters, and the varieties of unsecured ways ballots can be collected. The extension of time given beyond November 3rd also seems to open up additional opportunities for voter fraud.
I have to ask, is this gross negligence, utter incompetence, or a blatant attempt to steal the election?
In any case, why are we allowing this to happen? Whether you’re an I, R, or D, this should concern you too. At best, it looks like the determination of the next president will be thrown into the courts for who knows how long.
When I worked for a school system, I had some responsibility for my school’s yearly state standardized testing. If you haven’t had experience with this process, you can’t imagine the stringent security measures taken to ensure the results are valid, accurate, and free from corrupt influences. Of course, people will find ways to cheat, but extreme measures were put in place to prevent that from happening.
You would think we were protecting the gold in Fort Knox or the codes to the nuclear arsenal.
Let me share just a few of the rigorous policies and procedures that guided student assessments.
- All personnel must be trained in policies and procedures of the testing process, including professional staff, school support staff (including custodians), and volunteers. Signatures of those who received this training, verifying the agenda, time, and place of training were required and submitted to State Department of Education. (SDE)
- No one was allowed in the building during testing who had not been trained. Unauthorized visitors were either escorted out or immediately received training.
- Test materials were to be kept in a secure location with limited access to the keys to that space. Never less than two trained people at a time could have access to the test storage/workroom, and they had to sign in and out with date and time, every time they entered or exited that space.
- When testing materials were transported anywhere – building to building, or room to room, two trained people must accompany them. That applied to one test booklet as well as boxes full of materials.
- The chain-of-command with accompanying documentation with on-going signatures from test materials arriving on campus, test preparation, assessment window, and returning materials to the district office was overwhelming.
- Test booklets and answer sheets with barcodes, student names, and numbers were checked and double-checked to verify accuracy. They were compared to school student enrollment lists and classroom lists.
- Student attendance and absentees were carefully checked and followed up to ensure that every student had the opportunity to participate in the assessment during the testing window. When the window closed, it was closed.
- The District Administrators as well as State Department of Education could arrive at any point to monitor and report compliance with all regulations. Irregularities were examined with excruciating detail. Any breach of protocol was reported to the SDE. An individual responsible for a violation (employee or volunteer) could be fined a hefty fee. Depending on the seriousness, a professional employee could lose their license.
This kind of rigor, integrity, and security is the rule for certifying the accurate assessment of our children’s yearly educational progress.
So, why shouldn’t the checks and balances over the validity of our nation’s election process be just as careful – if not more so?