T he street corner – Signs of the times. Lots of signs. They are all for candidates in the last elections. By law these signs are supposed to be removed after Election Day, and it’s easy to see who should remove what – their names are on the signs. Most will stay here. The winners are gloating snobs and the losers sulk away. But don’t take down your own lawn sign and don’t peel off your bumper sticker, because this past balloting was only Round One. (Were you tired of these midterm elections about last June?) In some cases there will be run-offs, the rest of the results will end up in court, for we are living in the Age of Challenged Elections. Every loser will demand a recount. And get ready for cries of Voter Fraud! Hidden Ballot Boxes! Lawyers are no doubt already lined up to sue. Fox News (an oxymoron if ever there was one) will breathlessly host an army of GOP losers wailing about how they really won but Deep State operatives stole the ballot boxes. MSNBC will do the same for the Dems.

The reason for all these challenges is Donald Trump. He has made a cottage industry out of challenging the outcome of an election. It works. Polls show that 70 percent of Republicans believe Trump was elected president. Also a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll shows that heading into the 2022 midterms, about 20 percent to 25 percent — the vast majority of them Trump voters — were deeply skeptical of the legitimacy of all U.S. elections, while another 20 percent to 30 percent said they were not sure what to think. So about half the country could be considered at least open to rejecting the election results.

Election experts say that “challenges are rarely successful, and that solid evidence is needed for a court to take them seriously,” but how many concession speeches did you hear on election night? Many Republican candidates have already said they will not accept the results of their election if they lose. That Yahoo poll shows that fewer than half of Americans (46 percent) now believe that candidates “should commit in advance to accepting the results” of this year’s midterm elections. Instead, a majority of Americans either say that candidates should not (19 percent) or that they’re “not sure” (35 percent). Among Trump voters in 2020 just a third (33 percent) said candidates should agree in advance to accept the results in the midterm elections. The Washington Post asked 19 “Republican candidates in competitive races for governor and Senate … whether they would accept the results of their contests.” A dozen declined to say.

Why would anyone today want to help with our elections, run for office or be elected? How about our suffering election officials? In a survey earlier this year, of about 600 local election officials nationwide, found one in six faced threats. You want to be a member of Congress? According to data provided by the U.S. Capitol Police, cases “concerning statements and threats” jumped from 3,939 in 2017 to 9,625 in 2021. In the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the Capitol, the entire Congress was in danger. And watch out for your family, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was telling her husband, Paul.

In many states the official in charge of elections is the secretary of state — elected or appointed. Texas’ SofS, who was appointed by Gov. Greg Abbott and is in charge of our vote-counting, is John B. Scott. He briefly represented Trump in a lawsuit seeking to overturn the election results in Pennsylvania. Trust him.

But what about our new losers, and there will be hundreds of them? Here are a few tips that may make them a winner. Demand a recount. Then, if that doesn’t work, declare that the recount was a fraud. Show photos of voters voting twice. Do not point out that the pics are from both the 2020 and 2022 elections. Losers can charge that the voting machines were rigged to give their opponent more votes, but be careful. Fox News time and again charged that Dominion Voting Systems rigged the 2020 election in favor of Joe Biden. Dominion is suing Fox for $1.6 billion. Claim this: “The dog ate my ballot – along with ten thousand others.” Follow the example of LBJ. He won due to late ballots from Duval County. The voters voted alphabetically. So backers of losers, keep your yard signs.

Lynn Ashby is a Houston-based columnist. Contact him at ashby2@comcast.net.

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