Joe Biden will become president on January 20th, but the cloud of uncertainty around the 2020 election will never be dispelled because the people who could do so didn't even try.

I'm not an election or legal expert, but here are some things I've come to believe over the past two months. These are normative beliefs about how things should be, not claims about how things are under the current system.

First: Election officials bear the burden of proof for election integrity. They're the ones in possession of all the material evidence, and they're the ones with the legal obligation to execute fair elections. It's not reasonable to expect a candidate or a member of the public to "just trust us" when it comes to election integrity, and it's not reasonable to expect a candidate or member of the public to bear the burden to prove that an election was executed badly. Election officials must be required to prove they did their jobs well, and not be given the assumption of fairness or competency. Election officials should have to "show their work" transparently after every election.

Second: State election systems seem to be mostly garbage. The rules are bad, and the execution of those rules is worse. Stopping the count on election night in five cities simultaneously looked super-suspicious. I don't know exactly what rules should be in place, but I know that other countries require voters to show identification and greatly restrict mail-in or absentee voting. Some countries count ballots in place rather than transporting them to a central counting facility. Our states need to fix their election systems so that the public and election losers have full confidence in the results. I'm not sure how to fix the incompetent idiots who run our elections, especially if the courts won't grant anyone standing to challenge them -- perhaps standing could be created by law?

Third: Election audits and recounts need to be performed by people other than those accused of fraud. Obviously. No person or organization involved in the contested count should have any role in an audit or recount.

Fourth: There hasn't been a real investigation if there hasn't been discovery and hostile witnesses cross-examined under oath. Either our political system or our legal system needs to provide a way to credibly challenge election results in a timely manner. It doesn't count to simply dismiss cases on procedural grounds without forcing the production of evidence and testimony. It doesn't count for state legislators to issue statements but for the legislatures themselves to be out of session and unable to perform their Constitutional duties. All the court cases and hearings that happened in 2020 may have been handled in a legal and proper manner according to the existing rules, but those rules need to change in order to give people confidence in our elections.

Fifth: Political violence should be condemned by all Americans. Republicans condemned the violent riots that played out across the country all summer, and Republicans should also condemn rioting by Trump supporters in the Capitol. Democrats should have condemned the violent riots over the summer but mostly didn't, hiding behind euphemisms like "mostly peaceful". I'm glad we're all in agreement now that rioting is unacceptable. Peaceful protest is acceptable and American, but violence is wrong (and ineffective).

Sixth: This wasn't America's first badly run election -- I bet this kind of shoddy work has been going on for decades. It's embarrassing to America and needs to be fixed immediately.

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