In the United States, the states are in charge of elections. Every state has a Board of Elections. Usually, a secretary of state is in charge. Her job is to make sure the ballots are cast and counted in an honest way. Depending on the state, the governor appoints the secretary, or she is elected by the people.
In most states, the counties manage election day. Paid workers at the polls make sure the person standing before them has registered to vote. In small towns, people are likely to know each other. The voter signs his name and goes into the voting booth.
“Poll watchers” are also at the polling places. They are volunteers from the parties. They also make sure the balloting follows the rules. They write down the names of voters. Why? They match the names against a list of voters believed favor their candidate. A few hours before the polls close, volunteers go to telephones. They call people who have not yet voted.
Election Day is like a sporting event. Challenges to voters at the polling place can become loud arguments. When lines are long, and the polls are near closing time, the patience of voters gets frayed.
Charges of “fraud” and calls for recounts are common. Close elections can become tense events. If an election is close, there may be a call for a recount in that state.
There was a close presidential election is Florida in 2000. In the end, certain ballots were counted by hand. Some people thought the results were too close to call. The U.S. Supreme Court decided the winner. George W. Bush became president.
There are thousands of election districts in the United States. Thousands of people monitor the votes. Officials add up the results from each district. People from both parties are watching.
There is room for error and fraud. There is an old saying, “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” America’s elections are not “rigged.” That does not mean they are without controversy.