The Path Forward

Rick Turnquist reflects on the need for election reform and the challenges Colorado's Republican Party must overcome going forward.

‘I cannot read the fiery letters,’ said Frodo in a quavering voice.

‘No,’ said Gandalf, ‘but I can. The letters are Elvish, of an ancient mode, but the language is that of Mordor, which I will not utter here. But this in the Common tongue is what is said, close enough:

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,’

One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.’(1)

‘For into the midst of all these policies comes the Ring of Power, the foundation of Barad-dûr, and the hope of Sauron.

‘Concerning this thing, my lords, you now all know enough for the understanding of our plight, and of Sauron’s. If he regains it, your valour is vain, and his victory will be swift and complete…’(2)

In contemplating the one-party tyranny in Colorado that I wrote about last month in Tyranny and Bankruptcy and with the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden on January 20, I feel as if the One Ring has fallen into Sauron’s hands and we are heading into a new Dark Age.

Am I being overly dramatic or pessimistic? I don’t think so. After the two Senate seats in Georgia were won by Democrats, they will take full control of the executive and legislative branches of the United States government. They have been quite open about their goals which include statehood for Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, virtually cementing 4 more Democratic senators, packing the Supreme Court, eliminating the filibuster and implementing the Green New Deal. Along with tax hikes and more redistribution of wealth, of course.

With this virtually unlimited power, unrestrained by a Constitution they have no respect for (except when lip service to it serves their political purposes), they will work to enact an agenda that will not only increase their power but will vastly increase the size and scope of the federal government (which is already far bigger and more intrusive than it was ever designed or intended to be). The sovereign default I wrote about will loom even closer, as President-elect Biden tosses around $1.9 TRILLION “stimulus” ideas. Any concern for economic realities has fled Washington as the Democrats scramble to give “free stuff” to (almost) everyone.

What can we do about this? In this post, I will discuss election reform and refocusing the Republican Party on the core values of government limited to its proper role and the idea of Liberty, which is our God-granted right.

Election Reform

The bedrock value of any functional constitutional republic is secure elections in which only those people who are legally qualified to vote are able to vote, and that every legal vote is counted.

It’s been my perception for years that those of us on the Right suspect the Left of widespread voter fraud while those on the Left accuse us of voter suppression.

With record turnout in 2020, I think we can lay the voter suppression myth to rest once and for all. According to the Washington Post, 66.3% of Americans voted in the 2020 presidential election – two-thirds of the voting eligible population. It was the highest turnout rate in over 120 years.

When it comes to election fraud, the results are murkier. President Trump and his most ardent supporters firmly believe that widespread voter fraud in several states contributed to his electoral loss.

(Disclaimer: I voted for Trump in 2016 and again, enthusiastically, in 2020.)

After Election Day, the Trump campaign filed over 60 lawsuits in various states contesting election processes, vote counting and vote certification processes. Virtually all of the suits have been dismissed or dropped for lack of evidence. Attorney General William Barr found that there was no evidence of widespread election fraud.

I know many of my conservative friends believe that there was widespread fraud, but I’m an evidence-based kind of person and I just haven’t seen sufficient credible evidence to support that belief. With that being said, I do believe that voter fraud does exist and I see several problems with voting in America today.

First, voting should be in person, except for limited, extenuating circumstances in which absentee ballots can be used; and every voter should present a valid, government issued identification document like a driver’s license or passport in order to be eligible to cast a ballot.

All-mail voting allows for the opportunity for fraud and ballot harvesting. Fraud can take place through the collection, signature verification and curing processes. Ballot harvesting is when political operatives pick up ballots from voters to submit to the drop boxes or other collection locations. It’s all too easy to discard ballots that are suspected to be for the “wrong” candidates. It’s also possible to “misplace” containers full of ballots, only to be “found” (or not) at the most opportune time.

As of July 2020, only five states – Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington – hold elections almost entirely by mail. Postal voting is optional in 33 states and the District of Columbia. What do four of these five states have in common? With the exception of Utah, they are all completely controlled by the Democratic Party. No wonder Democrats love mail-in voting.

Another reform that needs to take place is this: There’s a lot of people in the United States. In a population of over 330 million people, there are between 195 and 215 million registered voters. (Because each state manages its own voter rolls using different criteria and rules, there is no one definitive number of registered voters nationwide.)

If we are going to require in-person voting, we should open the polls ahead of Election Day – maybe even a week before – and make Election Day a national holiday so that people can easily cast their ballots. Then close the polls at 6:00 pm on Election Day. Votes can be counted and tabulated overnight, and the results announced the next day or when 85% of the votes have been counted.

Even a casual perusal of the United States Constitution shows that nowhere does it say that national news organizations have the power to declare who wins elections. News organizations should be prohibited, by law, from declaring winners in elections until all votes have been counted and certified. This goes against the “instant gratification” that most of us desire, but it will make for a more rational election process. And under no circumstances should national news organizations be allowed to call ANY races before the last polls have closed on Election Day.

I call for Republicans in Republican-controlled states to enact these changes. I further call for them to audit the voting mechanisms and processes in their jurisdictions. I call for an end to all-mail voting. Let’s restore sanity to our election processes and ensure that voter fraud is a rare and limited exception.

The Republican Party

Let’s recall that the Republican Party was formed in the 1850s specifically to fight against the expansion of slavery. The Republican Party, under the first Republican president – Lincoln – successfully prosecuted a civil war to end the evil of slavery in the United States (which the Democratic Party fought a war to preserve.) It was the Republican Party that fought for the right for women and African Americans to vote, and the first elected representatives of those two demographics were Republicans. We have a proud history and it’s a travesty that the Democrats have been successful in perverting and suppressing that history, meanwhile ignoring their own checkered history.

Fast forward to today, and we see that the Republican Party in Colorado is in disarray, and the party nationally is reeling. The actions of the protestors who stormed the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 deprived our side of the moral high ground when it comes to denouncing political violence and gave the Left a cudgel with which to beat all of us. Progressives now are trying to paint us all as white supremacist domestic terrorists, ignoring the domestic terrorism perpetrated all summer long by BLM and Antifa.

While we made some great gains, particularly among minority populations, it’s time for us to re-embrace the principles upon which our party was founded: the idea that all men (and women) are created equal and have equal natural rights endowed to them by our Creator; and that governments are instituted among men to protect Life, Liberty and Property. (And that’s all!)

These rights apply equally to all human beings regardless of race, color, gender identity, sexual orientation, or whatever other identifier the Left uses to divide us. It is not the government’s role to tax us for the purposes of redistribution of wealth nor to allow unelected bureaucrats (looking at you, health departments everywhere) to have complete power over our economy.

It’s time to focus on these core values and elect party leaders who live them. Here in Colorado, I want to see a party chair elected who understands these principles and is prepared to re-build a party based on them. I want to see elected Republicans hew to these values and stand firmly on these principles, not “go along” to “get things done”. Sometimes, indeed most of the time, the less government does, the better for our economy and our state.

On a national basis, it’s time to be grateful to President Trump for all of the good, conservative things he accomplished during his four years. An objective look at his legacy will reveal that there were a lot of good outcomes during his administration. It’s also time to move on and work to recruit and support candidates who can win elections in 2022 and more importantly in 2024.

Finally, it’s important to recognize that Republicans are at a structural electoral disadvantage here in Colorado and nationally because of the progressive infrastructure. I’ve written about it and talked about it every chance I get. Reading my review of Jason Chaffetz’s book Power Grab reveals it’s about to get worse. Our side needs to get busy organizing and building our own infrastructure. Our wealthy donors need to step up and help get these organizations funded.

And all of us need to re-embrace our Founding Principles and fight for the American Ideal.

By Richard D. Turnquist

January 20, 2021

(1) The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ballantine Books, © 1955, 1965, page 75

(2) The Return of the King, R.R. Tolkien, Ballantine Books, © 1955, 1965, page 171



5 Responses

  1. Mr. Turnquist:
    I believe firmly that “in person” voting is the pivot to honest voting. I’m an accountant by trade and believe regular “independent” audits of the vote results need to be prescribed by law with real consequences for failures. I recommend various audits using sampling to allow for cost effectiveness: 1)Audit the vote for whether the individual meets the citizenship, residential and single vote requirements. Seek primary evidence rather than depending on voter registrations which in CO include aliens. Backward review the address and name seeking possible multiple votes. 2)Audit from the vote summary to the original vote entry (not by name but using the voter system number to retain confidentiality) to make sure that there is consistency from source to summary. 3) A limited number of confirmations could actually be sent to the registered address of voters asking their voluntary participation asking their freely given vote choices to compare to the summary vote for them. You, as a writer, have a platform for justice. Thanks for your consideration.

    1. Ken, as a fellow accountant I completely agree with you. I’m adding this audit suggestion to my list of proposed reforms. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Like the world from which you quote at the start of the article, this is a bit of fantasy.

    As soon as Republican led states begin reverting to all mail-in voting, democrats will scream about voter suppression.

    And you can’t have it both ways: if you haven’t seen evidence of voter fraud, there is no legitimate reason to change the way we vote.

    Regarding the “insurrection”:

    It’s time that republicans and liberty-minded folk quit complaining about the violence (which was pretty minor, compared to other violence that happened on private property throughout the summer), and start praising the feeble effort.

    For the first time in a very long time, government was afraid of its citizens. That is a very good thing. What the insurrection lacked was a common goal and leadership.

    Republicans should have praised the effort, provided the common goal, and assisted in a better insurrection.

    Now, that might sound a bit harsh. But there is no alternative way to return to the government you and I wish for.

    We can’t do it through elections. Because of the election systems that have been implemented, democrats will continue to rule. Even if republicans could recapture some majorities, they are too weak and feeble, yet too power hungry and unprincipled, to return sovereignty to individuals.

    And it will take too long. By the time we have an opportunity to vote out the democrats, society will have become firm in their conviction that more government is better. In the meantime, the damage from the pandemic panic is killing people and businesses, destroying lives. It’s too urgent to wait for uncertain elections.

    And government makes more more dollars out of nothing to satiate the masses that believe they are owed something for their inconvenience. That, my friend, is inflation, the hidden tax. And people love it, have grown accustomed to it, and will continue to elect the people that promise it.

    You can’t count on courts to do the right thing.

    Here in Colorado we have seen how courts constantly side with government over people, over liberty.

    Even the US Supreme Court refused to hear the Texas case regarding the election. It is undeniable that the US constitution, and probably state constitutions, require legislators to write the rules for elections. It is undeniable that the pandemic panic led many state election authorities to rewrite the rules without the participation of their legislatures. That is unconstitutional. It is undeniable that we will never know who would have voted or how they would have voted if the rules had been followed.

    Yet our new “constitutionalist majority” punted, wouldn’t even hear the case. Courts are not the answer.

    The peaceful transfer of power, lauded by republicans, scorned by democrats unless it suits their situation, is over. It was not the goal of the founders. Their goal was to protect individual rights, and acknowledged that when the government was destructive of those ends, it’s time to abolish government.

    1. Brian,

      I think you misunderstood me about mail-in voting. I certainly don’t want Republican-led states to “revert” to it, and in fact I want it abolished.

      As I stated in the article, I think the “voter suppression” canard can be laid to rest after the record turnout in the last election.

      Regarding the “insurrection”.

      I didn’t like it because, as I said, it took away our moral high ground since we’ve been denouncing leftist violence for months. It gave the enemy ammunition against us. And it was not “pretty minor”: 5 people died.

      Is it time for violent revolution in America? Do we on the Right want to tear it all down and start over as we know the violent Left does?

      I’m not there yet. In this article I called for some significant reforms surrounding elections. I’ve called for the Republican party to return to the core values of limited government and personal freedom. I want Republicans to stop fighting amongst themselves and focus on fighting the pernicious agenda of the progressive Left. I want our side to build a political infrastructure better than the one that the Democrats have in place to win elections.

      Real world results demonstrate the Democrats are unfit to govern. It’s up to all of us to help people understand that and vote accordingly.

      Thanks for your comment.

  3. Excuse my typographical error. I typed on an iPhone, and don’t catch all the mistakes Siri doesn’t catch. I meant revert to in-person voting. In context, you can see that I meant what I meant, not what I typed.

    Regardless, I raised some serious issues abut the urgency of the problem and the inability of your solutions to adress the problem. I’d like to hear your response to those issues.

    Moral high ground can be reclaimed if Republicans had the stones to do it.

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