Imagine your favorite NFL team advances to the Super Bowl (if there is one this season) and their opponent is an archrival. These teams really hate each other (think Steelers/Ravens) and battle hard through three quarters. The archrivals are up by a field goal, but your team has the momentum.

Instead of kicking off to start the fourth quarter, the archrivals declare victory and sue to be awarded the Vince Lombardi trophy with 15 minutes left on the clock.

Would you accept such an absurd outcome? No, you wouldn’t. Neither would the NFL. Stopping the game and crowning a champion who sued to win would destroy any trust fans have in the league and its brand. The refs would flag the archrivals for delay of game, which they would forfeit by refusing to play to the final whistle. 

The final whistle for the presidential election may or may not come today in Pennsylvania or other swing states counting mountains of mail-in ballots. Republican state legislators refused to allow early counting. Now they’re complaining about how long the count is taking.

Meanwhile, the president’s minions have descended on the Keystone state, spinning conspiracy theories and trying to cast shade on a process that has been more transparent and scrutinized than any election in recent memory. Team Trump wants counting stopped where he is behind or losing ground and continued where he has a lead or is shaving into Joe Biden’s numbers.

This is all for show, a distraction from the obvious truth at hand: There’s nothing wrong with this election that can’t be cured by counting. All votes must be counted. The fourth quarter must play out if the eventual winner is to have any legitimate claim to the presidency. Win or lose, those are the rules.  

Americans keep score. Every vote counts. Count every vote.