A new stigma: Election integrity


Jake Wilsted

As election season comes and goes, questions of election integrity have been posed increasingly in previous years.

Jake Wilsted, News Editor

Midterms are here, and the results that follow will be challenged with political parties’ new favorite propaganda: the election was stolen, and recount the votes!

Subsequent to the 2016 election results, Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party claimed interference in the elections. Clinton stated, “The Russians actively interfered in our election to help Donald Trump. There is no hoax.” 

Following the results of the 2020 election, President Donald Trump said the election was “stolen.” One poll reveals about 70% of Republicans believe Biden was elected illegitimately. 

Trump’s team posed lawsuits and called for votes to be recounted, but questions regarding the integrity of elections do not just occur at the national level. 

Rita Hart, the defeated Democrat by her Republican opponent Mariannette Miller-Meeks, called for the recounting of votes in Iowa’s second district, citing that election ballots were not included in the count.

Irrespective of the validity of such claims, it is becoming a new norm to question election results. 

PVHS government teacher Joe Youngbauer affirmed the media’s role in spreading misinformation and speculation. 

“I think that the lines between fact and opinion and truly what constitutes fact have been blurred. We live in a world with so much information that facts can easily get misconstrued and opinions can be portrayed as facts,” Youngbauer said. “Our media has fostered a societal echo chamber, where Americans know where to go to get what they want to hear. Media outlets ignore or over-emphasize information so that their viewers’ interests are supported.”

Recently, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate reaffirmed the integrity of Iowa elections and encouraged voters not to be discouraged from voting. Pate stated, “I can’t emphasize enough, the integrity of the vote and the safety of voters are my top priorities.”

Youngbauer continued, “America’s media companies still operate as for-profit businesses. They will continue to do what they need to do to attract viewers and consumers…possibly, no matter the consequences to our society.”  

Will the fear of misinformation and fear of fraudulent election results deter voters? No. 

Senior Bryce Vining has an avid interest in U.S. politics and follows the midterm elections, stressing the importance of voting. “Voting is the responsibility of every citizen. Those in office are elected to be representatives of the people. How, then can they represent us if we do not vote? By voting, one makes their voice heard and has a direct impact on who’s in office which in turn has a tremendous impact on our everyday lives. By neglecting to vote, one gives all of this up.”

Youngbauer does not feel the validity of the people’s votes will influence their voting. “I think Americans, from both political parties, are going to turn out strong to support their respective side, whether it be supporting or disapproving of the results of previous elections or simply to support their political beliefs,” he stated. 

As election results start pouring in and it becomes apparent which party will occupy the House, Senate, and local seats, there will likely be claims of fraudulent voting. It is imperative to be informed before voters jump to conclusions about the integrity of elections.