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Getting our money’s worth at polls

“Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” –Abraham Lincoln

There have been many times throughout my life when I have pondered the why of it all, only to be left with more questions than answers. Today is no different. I look around and see intelligent individuals buying into the rhetoric and half-truths that they hear from the “news” media, their neighbors and social media. It makes me wonder if it is just easier to accept than to question.

Take for example the controversies regarding the voting process as it relates to absentee and mail-in ballots. We have our president and many other elected officials already questioning the outcome of the election – and this a full month before the last vote is cast. This past week we have heard rumors that the White House is preparing for a “Disputed Presidential Election.” The economists are not staying silent either. Clete Willems, former deputy director of the National Economic Council, told CNBC, “I think it’s a high risk and I do think markets need to pay attention to it. I’ve detected a real shift in the election dynamics in the last six to eight weeks.” Elected officials of both political parties are touting concerns, albeit not for the same reasons.

The Democrats are encouraging the absentee and mail-in voting process, saying that there is no reason to feel that the USPS will not deliver on time, nor will they mishandle the ballots. While the Republicans continue to question the security and delivery of said ballots, even though the Post Master General Louis DeJoy told NPR that he will, “treat ballots like gold.” Regardless of which side one resides, it is becoming more obvious each day that this back and forth among our elected leaders will lead up to even more chaos than we have seen so far during this election cycle.

Absentee or mail-in ballots aside, predictions of further political wrangling and the refusal to accept the election results may very well end up before a judge, or judges. Going back to Clete Willems who said on CNBC, “I do think, unfortunately, we may not have an outcome immediately, and there will probably be litigation that follows …” Clete is not alone. Both Democrats and Republicans are lining up lawyers using the old maxim, “just in case” things don’t go their way.

Things going the way one party or the other is unhappy with is not out of the question. With President Trump continuing to state his unwillingness to commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election, and Mitch McConnell, Senate leader, saying this past week, “… there will be a peaceful handover in January as there has been every four years since 1792,” one must wonder just what roller coaster they are on and what is in the Kool-Aid in Washington, D.C. All of this is causing some of our constitutional experts to scratch their heads, and the market experts to look for creative strategies to protect their investors.

According to a recent report in the Economist, an international weekly newspaper, a spokesperson for Goldman Sachs noted this past Thursday, “the worry is overblown, and that between early voting results and high voter turnout, there will be a victor on election night, And, in turn the market will stay steady.” However, a report by UBS (Union Bank of Switzerland, a wealth management firm) stated, “we should expect strong volatility in the market if there isn’t a clear winner on election night, or if president Trump contests the results.” My recommendation is simple – flip a coin!

So, what do we have to look forward to? If all politics are local, let’s focus on what is happening here in Chautauqua County. Due to the COVID Pandemic, campaigning has mostly been done via social media. Door-to-door, meet and greets, the kissing of babies and large fund-raising events have been brought to a halt. Just as the national campaign kicks into full gear, so will the local ones. The individuals elected to our local, regional and statewide offices will have a greater impact on our daily lives than those we send to Washington.

This is not the time to vote without knowing the candidates and what they stand for. Voting is a privilege, and it is my sincere hope that everyone who is eligible to vote does so … and not just party line, but by voting for the most qualified candidate.

With the pandemic, the economy, and this election season, it seems there is little else on the minds of many of us. Our yard signs are going up, television ads are interrupting our peace and tranquility, and everyone and their brother is reminding us of that most important date of Nov. 3; don’t let it go by without your input. Susan B. Anthony said, “Someone struggled for your right to vote. Use it.”

It’s your money … your vote! Have a great day.

Vicki Westling is a Dunkirk resident. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com

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