There’s an old joke almost everybody in politics has heard involving former Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, the “big boss” of Chicago at a time when that meant something.
Daley ruled the city for many years with an iron hand. As he was dying, the story goes, he used his final breath to extract a promise from his closest associates that after he died, they’d have him buried on the city’s South Side “so he could stay active in politics.”
People have talked about fraud in American politics for years. Movies have been made about it – some serious, some not. Books have been written about it. It’s axiomatic among the political class that there are places where elections are routinely stolen by political machines that owe their allegiance to a party, a boss, or a cause and that “the dead” do sometimes make political contributions and vote.
In the abstract, it can be funny; when it happens, it’s no joke. Maryland Republican Ellen Sauerbrey narrowly lost the 1994 gubernatorial race because of it, as did Louisiana GOP St. Rep. Woody Jenkins, who said his less than 6,000 vote loss in a 1996 race for U.S. Senate was the result of last-minute fraudulent votes coming out of New Orleans.
In both cases, the courts disagreed, but that didn’t mean the fraud didn’t happen. Sauerbrey and Jenkins couldn’t prove it to the satisfaction of those in a position to make a difference in the result. Even many Democrats now acknowledge that some votes cast for JFK in the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon presidential contest – at its time the closest in U.S. history – were fraudulent even if (or especially because) they wouldn’t have changed the outcome.
Former President Donald J. Trump will likely go to his grave believing the 2020 election was stolen from him. He can’t prove it – and is voluble in his criticism of GOP leaders and elected officials who don’t want to spend time trying. Before casting too much shade in their direction, however, consider the issue here may be a practical one rather than a matter of principle.
Fraud is hard to prove. The people who are good at it know how to do it so that most times it is at best undetectable. At the very least, they do a lot to ensure what they do is unprovable to a legal certainty, thereby gaining an edge with state and federal judges who typically insert themselves into electoral outcomes with the greatest reluctance. But just because it can’t be proven doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
Getting back to Trump, some of the more outrageous charges made on his behalf – like the idea that machine vote counts were manipulated on servers located outside the United States before they were reported – lack credibility on their face and take attention away from the systemic changes in the voting process made before the election that activists working against the former president could have exploited to alter vote totals.
An examination of those issues, says one researcher, shows patterns worth looking into further.
Statistician John R. Lott Jr. examined the results from six swing states and found voter turnout on behalf of the GOP improved between the 2016 and 2020 elections while support for the Democrats dropped “except in places where voter fraud was claimed,” The Washington Times reported Monday.
His review of data from the 2020 election showed Joe Biden getting what Lott called hundreds of thousands of “excess” votes in Democratic-controlled areas in the 2020 election, the paper reported.
“More heavily Democratic counties actually had a slightly lower turnout in 2020, except for counties where vote fraud was alleged. In those counties, you had a huge increase in turnout,” Lott told The Washington Times in an interview.
In some of those swing states, you had counties where vote fraud was alleged. In some of those swing states, you had counties where vote fraud wasn’t alleged. And yet you only had huge increases in turnout where vote fraud was alleged,” he said.
Crucially, Lott’s examination of the data revealed that while in-person voting numbers were consistent with overall trends in both parties, the “absentee or mailed balloting tilted toward Democrats in the Democratic precincts” for what the paper described as “no clear reason.”
“Time after time, the news media keeps on saying there’s no evidence of vote fraud there. I think it’s at least a little bit harder for them to go and claim that” Lott told reporter Stephen Dinan.
The results of Lott’s number-crunching are not conclusive. It is not evidence that will stand up alone in a court of law as proof that fraud occurred. They are, however, provocative – especially when considered in conjunction with the proliferation of drop boxes – which destroy any idea of an intact chain of custody of ballots – and the lack of an audit trail to determine what happened to non-request vote by mail ballots that were sent to voters who no longer lived at the addresses attached to their registration. No one can discount the possibility that highly motivated partisans might, for reasons of their own, run the risk of breaking the law to help drive Trump from office.
It could be done. That doesn’t mean it was. It is nonetheless an argument for tightening up the system to make sure the obvious flaws are addressed. No more unattended drop boxes. No more opportunities for people to drop off more than one ballot at a time. No more “no request” vote by mail ballots. The opportunities to make mischief with any or all of these are too high.
You would think these would be reasonable positions to take, motivated by a bipartisan desire for free, fair, and clean elections. Instead, they’re controversial, which suggests one side sees them as an electoral advantage while the other sees them as a way to cheat. That alone ought to be enough to bring them under greater scrutiny – but it won’t. Because of all the insurrection, Jan. 6, overthrowing an election nonsense the politicians of one party and their allies in the mainstream media are peddling. There are even some who have gone so far as to suggest any Member of Congress who voted against the counting of the ballots from any state be kicked off the federal ballot in November 2022 for violating the 14th Amendment.
So far, none of those efforts have led to anything more than excitable news coverage. But they have been a useful distraction to help drown out any reasonable calls for election process reform. Are American elections honest? Can we trust the results? The winners will almost invariably say “Yes,” at least in public. The losers, not so much – especially if they think they can get mileage out of complaining. Either way, that doesn’t mean in any way that the process cannot be improved and that we must be serious about the safeguards we put in place to discourage fraud. It’s time for a real debate about where we go – which means moving on from where we’ve already been. Stop fighting the last battle and get ready for the next one.
Bill would restore voting rights to felons, require states to provide mail-in voting
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) on Monday threatened to scrap the upper chamber’s filibuster to pass Democrats’ controversial election reform bill.
Schumer said the Senate will “debate and consider changes” to Senate procedures by Jan. 17 to overcome the filibuster’s 60-vote threshold, saying Republicans have exploited the rule to “embarrass the will of majority” and block Democrats’ so-called voting rights legislation.
“In June, August, October, and once more in November, Republicans weaponized arcane Senate rules to prevent even a simple debate on how to protect our democracy,” Schumer wrote in a “Dear Colleague” letter. “We must adapt. The Senate must evolve, like it has many times before.”
Schumer’s letter comes as the Freedom to Vote Act languishes in the Senate amid staunch Republican opposition. Without a change to Senate rules, Democrats would need 10 Republicans to back their legislation—a number they have thus far failed to reach.
Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema’s (D., Ariz.) opposition to eliminating the filibuster has stymied previous efforts to alter Senate voting procedures. A group of Democratic senators, however, have in recent weeks tried to persuade the two lawmakers to back reforms that would weaken the vote threshold, according to Politico.
The Democrats’ election reform bill would restore voting rights to convicted felons, require states to offer mail-in voting, and mandate two weeks of early voting, among other measures. Republicans have long opposed the legislation, calling it a partisan power grab.
“This is clearly an effort by one party to rewrite the rules of the political system,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said in March 2021.
Congressional Democrats are pitching their H.R. 1 “For the People Act” as a necessary salve for a broken electoral system. If enacted, they claim, the bill’s provisions will fix a broken campaign finance system, protect voting rights, and make the average American feel once again like they can trust the system we use to select our leaders.
Truthfully, it doesn’t do any of those things but they’re hoping no one catches on. Or because they fear being called “racist” or worse for failing to fight “voter suppression,” won’t fight. That’s unfortunate, at least for the GOP – whose strategy to stop the bill depends on the filibuster – because it’s a bad bill that would keep the Democrats in power almost in perpetuity.
Among its many outrageous provisions is one that would essentially vitiate state laws requiring voters to produce some form of government-issued photo ID before being allowed to vote. To most Americans, that’s a commonsense kind of thing, backed by 75 percent of likely voters in one recent poll.
Look at the facts. We’re asked to show ID every day, whether we’re trying to get on an airplane, make a bank deposit, or enter a federal government building. Democrats say, without offering a convincing explanation as to why it’s so, that asking the same of voters at a polling place would be racist and constitute voter suppression rather than protect the constitutional guarantee of “one person, one vote.”
The American public isn’t buying the criticism, something Red State Democrats like Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Arizona’s Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema, and Montana’s Jon Tester should be thinking about when Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York tries to twist their arms and get them to vote for the bill. There is room for a principled objection to the bill because voters still back the idea that a valid photo ID must be shown before a ballot can be cast by overwhelming margins.
A recent Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey found 75 percent of likely voters agreed voters should have to show a valid driver’s license or some other form of government-issued identification before they could cast a ballot. Less than a quarter of all those surveyed – just 21 percent – said they were opposed.
When an issue has nearly 80 percent support, a smart politician just stands next to it. As it now stands, on top of the near-universal support it has nationally, 36 states have some form of voter ID law that would be nullified to one degree or another if H.R. 1 – which passed the House with only Democrat support — becomes law.
In its analysis, Rasmussen reports said, “Support for voter ID laws has actually increased since 2018, when 67 percent (of likely voters surveyed) said voters should be required to show photo identification such as a driver’s license before being allowed to vote.”
Voter ID laws are strongly backed by Republicans, with 89 percent saying they support making people prove who they are before they can cast a ballot alongside 77 percent of non-affiliated voters and, remarkably, 60 percent of Democrats sharing that view. The party in Congress, it seems, is out of touch with its rank and file.
As to the claim that voter ID laws are discriminatory, Rasmussen Reports says, voters, reject it by a margin of nearly 2-to1 as “60 percent say laws requiring photo identification at the polls don’t discriminate.” Just under a third, 31 percent, said they do while 10 percent were not sure either way. Unsurprisingly, a bare majority of Democrats – 51 percent – say such laws do discriminate 79 percent of Republicans and 67 percent of independents said they did not. Somewhat shockingly, the pollster said, “Voters under 40 support voter ID laws more than do older voters” as do most whites (74 percent), blacks (69 percent), and other minorities (82 percent).
The abolition of voter identification requirements is but one of several odious provisions contained within H.R. 1 that would, many analysts have claimed, make it harder to prevent election fraud in the future.
Other provisions contained within the legislation would mandate same-day registration in all 50 states, expand early voting that in some states runs into months rather than weeks or days, and establish rules for handling ballots that would essentially codify the practice of ballot harvesting some states have already made illegal.
By winning control of the House, Senate, and White House in 2020, Democrats created an opportunity to make it easier for them to win in the future and harder for anyone to criticize them. Their first order of business, which House Democrats call the “For the People Act,” is largely an exercise in taking the worst election laws in some of the worst-governed states and imposing them on the entire country.
The bill has passed the House, and plenty of worked-up activists (including much of the media and the still-Never Trump establishment) think Democrats should abolish the filibuster to pass it through the Senate.
H.R. 1 would override state election laws and impose all sorts of mandates, including automatically registering adults to vote, even if they don’t want to register. Democrats passed the For the People Act in 2019, too, but the newest version has some new ideas that they apparently gleaned from the 2020 election.
The bill would bar states from even requiring that identification be provided as a condition of obtaining an absentee ballot.
With these and other provisions, H.R. 1 would nationalize the administration of elections. And it goes even further in nationalizing other bad ideas.
The Democrats’ bill aims to normalize ballot harvesting by striking down any state safeguards against the practice. Yes, some states’ anti-ballot-harvesting laws might accidentally criminalize innocent activity, such as letting Joey run your mail-in ballot up to the mailbox. But if we really believe the vote is sacred, basic safeguards against coercion, fraud, and bullying are necessary.
Taking up Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s “dark money” obsession, the bill requires corporations, unions, trade associations, and other advocacy groups to disclose campaign-related expenditures over $10,000, as well as the donors who fund them. That would function as a clear deterrent to constitutionally protected political speech and association.
California has a law like this, and it’s a bad law, aimed at curbing criticism of politicians. Groups as ideologically divergent as Citizens United (yes, that Citizens United) and the American Civil Liberties Union are lobbying the Supreme Court to strike down California’s mandate.
Why would you want to impose this disclosure burden on groups that might criticize a politician or simply express a political opinion? We don’t really have to guess. Democrats are known to use the power of elected office to punish political dissenters. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has practically made a career of this, and he is about to be promoted into the Biden administration for it.
As usual, Democrats want to intimidate and silence people whose views they don’t like. They also want to deputize Big Business to do it for them — as when they demanded that Amazon deplatform Parler and Twitter deplatform former President Donald Trump. Now, Democrats are pressuring AT&T to drop Fox News.
Democrats know that with forced disclosure, they can scare any businesses or individuals out of funding groups that oppose the Democrats’ aims or criticize them.
The bill also nationalizes another bad state-level policy: the politics tax. H.R. 1 would establish the taxpayer funding of political campaigns — and you can be forgiven for reading that as welfare for the political consultant swamp-class. The House bill tries to cover up the fact that the money ultimately comes from taxpayers by claiming that it comes from criminal and civil penalties on corporations and rich people. But money is fungible. And whenever politicians lack the courage to admit they are funding their proposals through tax dollars, you know they’re ashamed of it.
Coercing voters by normalizing ballot harvesting, coercing donors through forced disclosure, and forcibly funding politicians and their consultants — one wonders why Democrats believe more in coercion than in freedom and debate.
Pardon us if we are a little confused regarding the current status of the 2020 election results. We have been saying all along that we are dedicated to following the rule of law. Now, however, we are watching all levels of the Judiciary — who personify the law in the USA – rejecting what appears to many of us as highly suspicious behavior on the part of the vote counters. Some without even hearing the evidence of the plaintiff. These rejections are north of 60 cases, at all levels of the judiciary from Circuit courts to federal appellate courts.
What is going on? And where are the chief law enforcement organizations, the Justice Department and the FBI, who should be leading the investigations into allegations of monumental crimes of election fraud? Instead of leading the search for truth, they are nowhere to be found. Attorney General William Barr, thought to be a non-partisan pillar of integrity, ducks out of his responsibilities by saying that his department could find no crimes which would change the outcome of the election. This without citing any such investigatory efforts.
The only Judge showing enough true grit to hold the state officials to their oath of office is Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, who is hot on the trail of the Pennsylvania mess. Of course, the end game of most of these lawsuits will be the actions of the Supreme Court as a whole when some of the current cases have traveled the gauntlet of judicial rejections in order to get standing for the high court to act.
So, here we are, days before the traditional certifications of the electoral college to begin, waiting to see what the Supreme Court will do. Will they accept the case(s) and issue a decision as in the case of Gore v Bush in 2001, or will they also decline to exercise their duty? If they do accept the case(s), what will their verdict be?
The very vastness of the suspected corruption is a challenge which gives everyone pause. What is being alleged is a conspiracy which touches nearly every state in the Union. A pattern of ballot tampering which has eerie similarities in nearly every suspicious state, which in turn strongly suggests central planning. The remedy may mean declaring the entire election null and void! Then what? Another election? Extension of the present terms while the new election is organized. For the first time in American history?
Alternatively, the selective decertification of certain votes among the many cast in person and by mail? Who would enforce strict behavior of the recount and the responsibilities of the poll watchers?
There are other issues as well, particularly the widespread use of the Dominion software (some 34 state users) which has been roundly criticized as an instrument of ballot tampering. A prohibition against use in an American election could cause an upheaval in the many states which relied on this technology to operate their balloting.
The other factor is, if the Supreme Court does accept one or more cases, how will they vote? Will the Chief Justice retain his posture of going with the wind as he has in some notable previous cases? Or will he be guided by the Constitution? What will be the effect of the new Justices on the rest of the Court, if any?
Yes, these are exciting times we live in. But also very confusing.
We might be in an Obi-Wan Kenobi moment, wherein striking Trump down will make his movement more powerful than anyone can possibly imagine.
If Joe Biden walks away with a presidential victory, conservatives will have many reasons to despair. This would portend some terrifying realities about propaganda and the manipulation of public opinion, the acceptance of potential fraud, and the willingness to accept the curtailment of basic liberties.
But it need not. In fact, conservatives have reason to be quite hopeful. We might be in an Obi-Wan Kenobi moment, wherein striking Trump down will make his movement more powerful than anyone can possibly imagine. Beyond the typical takes on the election that give conservatives hope — we appear to have kept the Senate, and socialism and critical race theory lost — we have five long-term reasons to be hopeful.
At some level, the left has to be jealous. For any chance of defeating Donald Trump, look what they had to settle for: a dementia-addled, 78-year-old fossil who’s spent 47 years in the Senate as a pandering politician straight out of Central Casting. But the Democrat establishment pushed him because he polled best against Trump and, as Democrats are so quick to remind us, “science and data.”
Ah, I remember those days. I remember hearing the smart set tell us how a Herman Cain would be an abject failure as a candidate or president, so we’d better go with a traditional politician, such as John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Jeb Bush.
Then came Trump, dismantling the entire paradigm. One of the most beloved politicians in our history, he showed us how a successful American with a love for his country can do great things, things politicians have been promising for years, such as lowering unemployment for minorities, increasing wages for the working class, sticking it to communist China, creating peace in the Middle East, giving us energy independence, restructuring bad trade deals, withdrawing from foreign entanglements, and revolutionizing the federal judiciary.
Meanwhile, the Democrats get to watch a doddering hack grapple with the wily Sen. Mitch McConnell for four years, while trying to pick up the pieces of an economy they tanked to get Biden elected president and nothing else. Or maybe they’re looking forward to a President Kamala Harris doing her “Excuse me! Excuse me!” routine like that vice principal you mocked in high school.
You almost have to laugh. While they’re locked into “establishment mode” for four years, pantomiming gravitas with their whole “adults in the room” schtick to impress the seven remaining people watching CNN, the right will be having a blast retaking the House, nurturing a new generation of Trump-like candidates, and choosing another unconventional leader for president in 2024 that we actually like and don’t have to hold our noses to select. We’re done with the establishment, and it feels so liberating.
Let’s get into that new generation of conservatives. Trump brought in a significant swath of working-class voters. The Blexit movement continues, with obvious results in the increased turnout of black voters for Trump. With Trump’s Hispanic gains, can we say the whole “demography is destiny” theory officially ran out of juice at, of all places, the Rio Grande and southern Florida?
The last these demographic groups tasted of genuine Trumpism — prior to the Wuhan virus — they were doing outstanding. Now they got Biden to build his case that destroying the energy sector and subsidizing green energy will really get things going again.
Who better than an old, pandering white guy to convince young minority Americans that maybe it’s time for a second exodus from the Democrat plantation? And who will be on the sidelines with a megaphone the whole time saying, “I told you so. Remember what you had under me?”
That of course leads to our third reason for long-term hope: Trump isn’t going anywhere. This is a man who did five to six rallies a day, speaking an hour and a half at each one, for two weeks after recuperating from COVID-19. He’s also a man who hates losing, and his family is completely invested in the movement he started.
Who knows how this will translate. There’s talk of him beginning a right-leaning media outfit to compete with Fox News. Will he continue doing rallies to inspire support for a transformed Republican Party? Will he do a Grover Cleveland number and run for president again?
Whatever it is he chooses to do, he remains the same person uniquely suited to the task at hand, of disrupting the status quo in Washington. He clearly has the support of half the country. Many love him like they’ve never loved any other politician because of how he spoke up for them. That doesn’t end.
The left displayed a real logic problem this year. I became alert to this problem when I heard Biden and others blame Trump for the COVID-19 deaths. Huh? Do people really fall this easily for the “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy, the logic that “X is president during Y, therefore X caused Y”?
Of course they do. That defines the leftist mind, the hive mind, the belief that agency doesn’t reside in the individual but in collective systems. This is how they think. Consequently, they must run those systems. They must have power.
Their attraction to the swamp comes with an underlying presumption of incredible self-importance. They manage the economy. They keep peace in the world. They take care of us all, good people that they are.
So what do you suppose it means when precisely nothing happens 10 years from now, about the time the world is predicted to implode from climate change? If the left is in charge of things, you know exactly what that will mean: “Thanks to President Ocasio-Cortez’s extreme measures, we’ve saved the world from catastrophe.” We’ll get a preview of this propaganda when a President Biden announces the end of the pandemic due to his wise governance.
This is why they not only needed to win this year but win big, big enough to enact the Green New Deal. That, in turn, could only be sustained with court-packing and a few new states to ensure a friendly Senate for the foreseeable future. With each radical measure, they would use the COVID-19 response as a template. “We came together before to defeat coronavirus; let’s do the same to defeat climate change!”
Alas, this is not going to happen thanks to the GOP’s other 2020 election victories. Without new states and new senators, the midterms will remain seasons of GOP success. It’s difficult to imagine the next presidential election generating excitement for a second Harris or Biden term, at least enough to create coattails for a Democrat takeover of the Senate and House.
2030 will come with glorious weather, and the left will have had nothing to do with it. After a string of exposed lies — Russia, COVID-19 “science,” systemic racism, polls, climate change — how soon before the nation becomes wise to the fact that leftism is synonymous with lying?
The answer to that last question gets to the American DNA. Americans distrust power. The left does well appealing to that distrust, promoting a false narrative blaming the “powers that be” whenever they’re out of power. They milk that “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy for everything it’s worth. It comes more naturally to them than it does to the right.
How often, these past four years, did the leftist mind resort to “Orange Man Bad!” and a primal scream into the cosmos every time their car didn’t start, or they encountered a long line at McDonald’s, or they just felt blue? It’s their psychic makeup.
No more. The left is running their asylum now. They’re great at manufacturing fear about the bogeymen behind “the system,” but in actual governance, they do nothing but lose. Of course, the leftist answer to that conundrum is, “If we all just work together, nothing is impossible.” So they can continue to blame the Senate, disinformation, gridlock, those on “the wrong side of history,” and Trump.
The whole point of leftism is that it can’t succeed without total investment by everyone in its program. That’s why it’s “all hands on deck” from Big Tech, Big Media, Big Business, Hollywood, Wall Street, human resources departments, and the Washington swamp. That’s why cancel culture is integral to their success. Dissent, alternative information, and a muscular minority topples the whole house of cards.
We’re America. We left the tyrannies of the world to come here. We left our cultures and even families. We’re all just a few generations away from incredible risk-takers, fighters, and survivors. Rugged individualism is in our blood.
Add to that the brilliant system set up by the forefathers with its many checks and balances. The newly conservative federal courts, red state governments, and that troublesome right to free speech aren’t going anywhere for now. Meanwhile, the free market is begging for new social media platforms and a FBexit or Twexit movement.
The left tells Americans, “We’re all in this together,” but it won’t be too long before, well, 70 million people say, “Speak for yourself. We’ll speak for ourselves, thank you.” That 70 million isn’t going anywhere. It’s only growing.
Voters might not have had concerns about irregularities, if fundamental steps were taken, and problems fixed.
No wonder half the public is concerned about irregularities in the 2020 voting.
No wonder they would support Donald Trump’s skepticism, once a reputable legal team quickly, publicly, and transparently presents to the nation justified concerns about constitutional violations in changing state voting laws and documented accounts of computer glitches, inexplicable late arrivals of ballot troves, and systemic efforts to prevent transparency — all at a level that reasonably could question the authenticity of the final vote count or even serve a dire warning of things to come.
Voting sanctity was not just questioned by Trump. It became a recent issue in 2016. Then-Green Party candidate Jill Stein was used as a surrogate by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment — to the chagrin of her own supporters — to sue in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania to overturn the 2016 election. The charge was deliberate voting-machine irregularities, for which there was not even much anecdotal evidence.
When that failed, the Left went full Hollywood with a media blitz to convince the American people that the election was a fraud and the electors had to do their “patriotic” duty to overturn the mandates of their own state — and reject Donald Trump.
Within days of that failure, a Democratic narrative appeared that Donald Trump was an illegitimate president due to “Russian collusion.” Soon Hillary Clinton joined the “Resistance,” on the basis that Russians, not the American people, had chosen the president — a charge that eventually sabotaged Donald Trump’s first two years in office, as Robert Mueller’s 22-month, $40-million “Dream Team” failed to prove that a myth, born in efforts to delegitimize an election and a president, was after all a myth.
Indeed, within days of Trump’s inauguration, dozens of Democrats voted for impeachment, as activists wrote about the need to either impeach him, or declare him crazy — or whispered about the need for the military to become vigilant — in a manner later to be dubbed “coup porn.” Again the pretext was a false charge of Russian collusion that had delegitimized the voting.
After that, a new narrative took hold, eventually flagrantly so in the 2019 Democratic primaries, that the Electoral College was illegitimate and should be junked, and the present Supreme Court had to be packed to ensure correct decisions. So the idea that the future voting itself would be politicized started nearly as soon as, or even before, Donald Trump was elected.
Millions of voters now find it rich that suddenly the Democratic Party is vouching for a pristine voting count, after for four years warning in venues like the New Yorker or PBS that new questionable electronic voting machines and dubious state officials were toying with deliberate distortion, and that foreign interests would “again” be seeking to disrupt the election.
Activists spent much of 2019 and 2020 seeking to overturn constitutionally mandated laws of the state legislatures. Their efforts in key states often succeeded in ensuring that federal elections would be radically transformed into a long process of weeks on end, through both early and predominately mail-in voting, with allowances for troves of ballots arriving well after the polls closed.
The point is that after being lectured by Clintonites, by the media, and by big tech for years that voting was likely to be suspect, the Left did all it could by lawsuits and radical changes to voting statutes to ensure that the count would be, well, suspect by its own prior standards.
Still, half of the American people might not be so angry had just one state — as Florida in 2000 — failed to deliver a final, transparent, and timely tally.
But by 2020, we had 20 years to learn from Florida’s endless days of recounting and warped chad auditing. Although the suspicious circumstances were different — this time state executives and judges changed the state voter laws to enhance mail-in balloting in a way inconsistent with the Constitution’s directives — states were nonetheless courting the same disaster of delays, popular outrage, and inconsistent rules of counting and certification.
Now two decades later, Americans, in third-world fashion, suffered five Floridas — Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania — all of which for some reason could not produce a transparent result on Election Day or in the hours shortly after. All had been warned that in some cases new computer voting systems, or in other cases radical transformations to mail-in voting, or in all cases insufficient awareness to transparency might once again provoke popular distrust. And in addition, a deadlocked Supreme Court ignored clear warnings that state judges and executives were overruling constitutionally mandated legislative laws of voting.
So the public is mystified that the center of global high tech; the bastion of transparency and civil rights; the birthplace of the computer, the Internet, and automatic voting; home of the $4-trillion Silicon Valley masters of the universe; and the nation that vowed never again to suffer another 2000 has again failed.
A nation whose tech wizardry can ferret out a single improper tweet and block an individual account in a nation of 330 million surely can use such omnipresence to ensure a nearly instantaneous voting result in certified machines. Or is the opposite true? Precisely because of that scary omnipotence, we need to be ever more vigilant?
Mutatis mutandis, will the same Bush standard be extended to Trump, to go through the process of reexamination that the Bush team rightly demanded? It would not require much effort for the Supreme Court to determine whether particular states followed or ignored the Constitution in radically changing voting laws in 2020. Either they did so by votes of the Legislature or they did so by executive and bureaucratic mandates, which are not what the Constitution seems to direct.
It would not take much effort simply to reexamine voting machines and computer software, to determine whether hundreds of personal anecdotes of illegality are signs of either systematic failure or mere disgruntled partisans.
Still, the deplorables might have kept quiet had allegations of fraud occurred along bipartisan lines — that for every mysterious Wisconsin and Pennsylvania vote there was equal concern in hotly contested Texas and Florida. Both sides might have pointed to voting stoppages in the nocturnal hours, and the sudden appearance of new ballots and the record 90-percent turnout of registered voters in particular counties. All that weirdness would likely have been ignored had it occurred in bipartisan fashion regardless of the eventual vote.
So again half the country now worries that purple swing states in which it was anticipated the vote would be close were targeted by Democratic activist-bureaucrats, especially in big cities — whether by preelection radical changes in voting laws and regulations, or laxity in ensuring proper date cutoffs, or inattention to computer authenticity to ensure “glitches” would not unduly sour public confidence.
Still, voters are a forgiving lot. They might have sighed “move on” had the prior polls simply conditioned the country for a close race, predictions they trusted and thus could have prepared them for a long and acrimonious night.
Instead, the party that drumbeats “voter suppression” ad nauseam hectored the country about the “historic” reckoning to come on Election Day. The Left went full Bob Mueller “bombshells” and “walls are closing in” to condition the nation for a 1964-like Democratic landslide, the just sendoff for the hated Trump.
Red-state America for months was assured by pollsters and their partners in the media of the slaughter to come. On election eve, Trump was down 17 points in Wisconsin in the ABC/Washington Post poll. Trump was 12 points down in the CNN popular vote poll. Trump would suffer a 383-vote landslide loss in the Electoral College in the last YouGov poll.
These authoritative predictions, often framed to the decimal point and the result of thousands of “computer simulations,” were not just off, but so far off to be easily seen as laughable.
Had the presidential polls at the state levels, or polls of the Electoral College or those of Senate and House races, been close and thus approximated the actual vote that transpired on Election Day, voters would have shrugged that this time around at least the polls were in the margin of error in their wrong predictions.
But again, what the country got instead was assurance of a Democratic Krakatoa, contrary to what people saw in the contrast between Trump’s huge rallies and Biden’s pathetic assemblage of honking cars. The public witnessed a “sure-loser” president greeted ecstatically at huge gatherings while “sure-winner” Biden lost his train of thought before a few hundred car-bound onlookers.
Still, Americans might have shrugged even then and sighed, “polls will be polls” — had not there been the example of 2016. Then most of the state polls were wrong, but predictably wrong in their prediction of a Clinton landslide. After that collective embarrassment, voters were assured that pollsters were looking inward and that the media was venturing out to Red State America to discover “what makes these people tick.” That too was a hoax.
Perhaps voters still would have said, “2000 Florida 5.0 is weird, but I guess it can happen.” They might have added, “2016 polls, I guess, never fixed their methodology for 2000.”
But then there was the media.
The media itself funded joint polls and reveled in their investments on television as gospel. On Fox News, Arizona was called early on election eve by its analytics experts. That spark in nanoseconds was aired through the networks with editorialization along the following lines: “If conservative Fox now says Trump’s red-state base has repudiated him in the first hours of vote counting, and he’s already lost Arizona, imagine what is now to follow!”
Instead, what in reality followed were clear big Trump wins in Florida and Texas — much more likely results not called until much later. When asked to defend the Arizona decision, a few of the statisticians of Fox doubled down, ensuring that what we are now witnessing in Arizona was “impossible,” the insult to their additional injury of reassuring America that the Democrats would pick up seats in the House.
The public knows that when a candidate loses a base state early in the evening, then the entire media menu for the night is set. Long predictable wins are relabeled “comebacks” or examples of “surprising strength.” Close losses are thematized as “clear pattern of voter unease with the president.” Why question later reports of insecure polling or suspicious late arriving ballots when you lose Barry Goldwater’s state in a mere two hours after polls closed?
Still, the voters might have shrugged, “Well, who believes these premature media-ratings driven calls, anyway?”
But then again, for days before the election, the media not only censored stories of Hunter Biden, but was aided by the clout of Silicon Valley into outright blacking them out — quite in contrast to their earlier two-year-long megaphonic assertions that Donald Trump was soon to be indicted, as Robert Mueller and Christopher Steele had all but proved their cases.
In addition, for months the media assured the nation that a small group of money-grubby apostate Republicans were the voices of morality in the Republican Party. Indeed, Never Trumpers could prove a valuable fifth column to siphon off key support from the Republican ticket.
Flush with nearly $70 million in left-wing cash, the “Lincoln” Project kingpins were glamorized in their efforts to destroy Republican senatorial and House candidates, to flip Republican swing voters, and to pose as the saviors of the Republican Party.
Instead, Trump got more support from Republicans in 2020 than he had in 2016, reaching in so-called exit polls rates of 93 percent.
In the end, Never Trump, Inc. was just another media fiction, although a lucrative one for its concocters if AOC and the Squad don’t appropriate their post-campaign cash reserves.
So what angers half the country could be summed up as the likely mindset of the Trump voter:
We don’t care whether an irrelevant Twitter cancels us out. So what, when Facebook and Google warp their technologies? Screw the polls; we knew they were corrupt and unreliable. Who cares if partisan woke bureaucrats reinvent the rules of elections to favor their own and contravene the rules passed by their own legislatures? Not even rumors of computer glitches will matter. And even the most rapid transformations in American election history, from Election Day balloting into a decision by all sorts of bizarre early and mail-in balloting, will not matter. There is no way in America that huge Election Day leads will vanish by midnight in all the suspicious places. We are the people and all these efforts will come to nil. On Election Day, at least we will finally be heard. After all, we are not yet a third-world state.
But such trust proved one bridge too far. We are a third-world state now with malleable laws, an inert Constitution, voting that cannot be certified beyond a reasonable doubt within a reasonable time, with a media that massages rather than reports the news, and pollsters who seek to modulate rather than reflect likely voting.
And that realization that a transparent Election Day vote is a distant memory is what enrages Barack Obama’s clingers, Joe Biden’s dregs, chumps and ugly folk, and Hillary Clinton’s deplorables and irredeemables — the final injury after a host of insults.
America's polarized and divided politics aren't going anywhere.
The polls were wrong. The blue wave was no tsunami. The Democratic majority did not fully emerge. Parts of the “coalition of the ascendant” drifted to the right. For a generation, American politics has been closely and bitterly divided between the parties. There has been high turnover in office, and frequent shifts in power. Majorities are unstable. No victory is permanent, no realignment durable. The stalemate goes on.
If Joe Biden becomes president, he is more likely than not to take office with Republicans in control of the Senate. That hasn’t happened in 116 years. He will certainly take office with a reduced House majority—the Democrats have a net loss of six seats at the time of writing. Six of the nine Supreme Court justices are Republican appointees. The partisan breakdown of state legislatures and governor’s mansions will resemble, almost precisely, the pre-election status quo. It’s a good thing Biden campaigned as someone willing to work across the aisle. He’ll have no other choice.
If Trump wins a second term, practically nothing will have changed in American politics, except that both Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell will have fewer votes to work with.
The country remains split. The New York Times exit poll says 37 percent of voters were Democrats and 35 percent Republicans, with 28 percent identifying as independents “or something else.” The Fox News/AP voter analysis pushed “leaners” toward one party over another. It says that 47 percent of voters were Republican or lean Republican, and 48 percent were Democrats or lean Democrat.
Only 24 percent of voters in the exit poll identified as liberal. The rest said they were moderate (40 percent) or conservative (37 percent). The Fox News voter analysis has similar results, with a slightly higher percentage of liberals (30 percent) and a lower percentage of moderates (33 percent). Conservatives were at 38 percent.
The sorting of parties by race, education, marital status, and religious practice has polarized our elites and made politics heated, noisy, and apocalyptic. Every election is billed as the most important in our lifetimes, the potential end of democracy and our ways of life. For all the fire and fury online and on cable news, however, elections continue to be decided in the middle.
Look at the suburbs, where a lot of those moderates and independents live. They backed Bush in 2004, then went for Obama in 2008. Two years later, repelled by Obamacare, Republicans won 56 percent of the suburbs and 56 percent of independents. Obama won reelection in 2012 by erasing those margins. The electorate in 2014, however, looked almost exactly like it did in 2010. And in 2016, Trump won the suburbs by 5 points and independents by 6 points. (He lost moderates by 11.)
According to the 2020 exit poll, Trump lost the suburbs by 3, independents by 14 (a 20-point swing), and moderates by 31. In the Fox voter analysis, Trump lost suburbs by 10 points, independents by 14 points, and moderates by 25 points. Both campaigns turned out their supporters. But the Trump campaign assumed its base would be enough to win. It looks like they were wrong.ADVERTISING
If Trump loses, it will be because voters in the middle grew tired of his antics. The public assessment of Trump’s actions was filtered through its distaste for his comportment, rhetoric, and behavior. And Trump’s personality often overshadowed or undermined the progress of his own administration.
These dramatic self-owns became most obvious, and most harmful, during the coronavirus pandemic. The elected officials who demonstrated steadiness, compassion, and concern these past eight months have seen their job approval numbers rise, no matter the actual status of their communities. Trump’s scattershot response prevented him from building on the slight uptick in support that he enjoyed last March. The voters who said the coronavirus was their most important issue went for Biden overwhelmingly.
This rejection of Trump was personal. It did not extend to the entire Republican Party. Several GOP senators ran ahead of him. The gains in the House speak for themselves. At the moment, the only governor’s mansion to flip is Montana’s. It’s a Republican pickup. Voters rejected a graduated income tax in Illinois and affirmative action in California. Even if Democrats sweep the two Georgia Senate runoffs, and Chuck Schumer gets to be majority leader thanks to Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote, the chances now that he will abolish the filibuster, pack the Court, and grant statehood to Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., are nil. The Democrats dreamed of legislating the GOP out of existence. That’s not going to happen. It’s why they are so morose about these results.
The Republican challenge today is the mirror image of the party’s dilemma after 2012. Then, the GOP needed to retain its support in the suburbs while boosting support among whites without college degrees. Now, it needs to retain its support among whites without college degrees while boosting support in the suburbs. And it needs to solidify its gains among black males and Hispanic voters who responded to policies aimed at tight labor markets and economic empowerment.
It’s a tall order. But, as always, the Republicans’ best allies will be Democrats, who like all winners will interpret an electoral victory as an ideological mandate. Overreach is inevitable. And so is the backlash. The vote counting isn’t over, but the GOP comeback has already begun.
It appears that Democrats in Detroit, a city with a long history of election fraud, are tampering with absentee ballots and breaking state law.
As absentee ballot counting continues in a handful of key states across the country, reports of voter fraud, ballot tampering, and the illegal removal of Republican election observers are cropping up in Michigan, especially in Detroit, a Democratic stronghold which has a long history of voter fraud.
On Wednesday, the Trump administration announced it was filing a lawsuit in Michiganover what it claims are systematic efforts to prevent Republican election observers from monitoring the ballot counting process as allowed under state law.
The lawsuit comes as video clips continue to surface on social media showing election officials denying access to authorized GOP poll watchers.
Aric Nesbitt, a Michigan state senator, posted a video on Twitter Wednesday afternoon of election workers at the convention center in Detroit, where absentee ballots are being counted. The video shows workers cheering every time an official election observer with the Michigan GOP is ejected from the counting room. Apparently this has been happening frequently, in violation of state law. Democratic observers, says Nesbitt, now outnumber Republicans observers at the convention center 3 to 1.
Here’s why that’s a problem. When an absentee ballot is unreadable for whatever reason, a ballot counter takes out a blank ballot, lays it on the table next to the unreadable ballot, and transposes the vote so it can be filed and tallied. Republican and Democratic “poll challengers,” as they’re called, are supposed to observe this process as it happens and make sure that the vote is transposed accurately. In addition, Michigan state law requires that a Republican and a Democratic official sign off on every voting precinct where absentee ballots are cast in this manner.
Phill Kline is a former Kansas attorney general and now an attorney for the nonprofit Amistad Project, which filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging that tens of thousands of ballots in Detroit have been illegally filled out by election officials and Democratic election observers. “We have confirmed evidence that Democratic election officials have violated state law,” he told The Federalist, “and have opened the door for fraud involving tens of thousands of ballots.”
Kline confirmed Republican officials have been barred from observing the counting of absentee ballots, and that transposed absentee ballots are being certified despite a GOP official not signing off on them. The law, Kline says, states that an official from both parties must sign off “if possible,” and that Democratic election officials are claiming they can’t find a Republican to sign off—even though they are also kicking Republican officials out of the counting rooms.
I also spoke by phone to one GOP poll challenger who asked to remain anonymous and told me the election officials at the convention center are not letting Republican poll challengers remain in the room where absentee ballots are being counted, saying there’s “too many” of them. Asked how many people were in these rooms, the officials in charge could not say, according to this person, who added that the rooms in question are enormous, the size of a football field (remember this is at the convention center, where the Detroit auto show is held).
After kicking out Republican poll challengers, election officials began covering up the windows of the counting rooms with cardboard to block the view of Republican observers. “It was pretty chaotic,” the poll challenger said.
News reports are starting to reflect the chaos at the convention center. The Detroit Free Press reported Thursday morning that a lawyer, Jessica Connarn, who was working as a Republic poll challenger, filed an affidavit saying she was told by someone counting absentee ballots that workers in Detroit were “changing the dates the ballots were received” so they would be considered valid.
“When I approached the poll worker, she stated to me that she was being told to change the date on ballots to reflect that the ballots were received on an earlier date,” Connarn says in the affidavit. The Free Press goes on to report:
Connarn states when she tried to get additional information later from this poll worker, she was “yelled at by the other poll workers working at her table, who told me that I needed to go away and that I was not allowed to talk to the poll worker.”
In that interaction, the poll worker slipped Connarn a note, she states.
The note says “entered received date as 11/2/20 on 11/4/20.”
In Michigan, only ballots received by 8 p.m. on Election Day, this year Nov. 3, are valid.
None of this is new for Detroit, which has been plagued by corrupt election officials for years. In 2005, federal officials launched an investigation after the November election and state officials took over the handling of absentee ballots in Detroit after the Detroit News reported that “legally incapacitated nursing home residents were being coaxed to vote and Detroit’s voting rolls were inflated with more than 300,000 names of people who had died or moved out of the city.” A post-election audit found that nearly 30 percent of precincts showed discrepancies in vote totals.
Despite reform efforts over the years, these problems have persisted. Back in December, a public interest group sued the city in federal court, claiming its voter rolls are “replete with typos, dead people, duplicate registrations and mistakes about gender and birth: One Detroit voter is listed as being born in 1823—14 years before Michigan was annexed into the Union,” according to the Detroit Free Press.
In the 2016 presidential election, voting machines in more than a third of all voting precincts in Detroit registered more votes than the number of voters tallied by poll workers. The irregularities meant that more than half the city would be ineligible for a statewide presidential recount that was eventually called off by the Michigan Supreme Court. Here’s what Detroit News reported at the time:
Overall, state records show 10.6 percent of the precincts in the 22 counties that began the retabulation process couldn’t be recounted because of state law that bars recounts for unbalanced precincts or ones with broken seals.
The problems were the worst in Detroit, where discrepancies meant officials couldn’t recount votes in 392 precincts, or nearly 60 percent. And two-thirds of those precincts had too many votes.
But these problems persisted. In the August primary, ballot counts in 72 percent of Detroit’s absentee voting precincts didn’t match the number of ballots cast, and in 46 percent of the city’s precincts the combined vote counts for Election Day and absentee voting were out of balance. Even Democratic election officials admitted that something had gone wrong in tracking ballots by precinct.
According to Michigan state law, precincts whose poll books don’t match up with the number of ballots cast can’t be recounted. That might present problems for any eventual presidential recount in the state, as it did in 2016.
For now, it seems clear that credible evidence of election fraud has surfaced in Detroit, which is not surprising given Detroit’s troubled history of election fraud. But it’s also deeply disturbing. The Trump campaign’s lawsuit to halt what appears to be a corrupt process is, in this case, entirely appropriate. We need to get to the bottom of what’s going on in Detroit.
A New Jersey postal worker was arrested Wednesday for dumping almost a hundred mail-in ballots into dumpsters in multiple towns.
The Justice Department charged Nicholas Beauchene, a 26-year-old mail carrier with “one count of delay, secretion, or detention of mail and one count of obstruction of mail” for discarding approximately 1,875 pieces of mail on his route. The discarded mail included “99 general election ballots” and was recovered from dumpsters in two different New Jersey townships.
Beauchene faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for delay of mail and six months in prison and a $5,000 fine for obstruction of mail. And with weeks left until Election Day, problems with mail-in ballots are flaring up in other parts of New Jersey and across the country, intensifying concerns about errors and fraud affecting results in November.
On Monday, almost 7,000 voters in Teaneck, N.J., received misprinted mail-in ballots that swapped their congressional district’s race for a neighboring one, rendering the ballots useless. Bergen County election officials are working to rectify the mistakes and say they will only count corrected ballots that will soon be sent out. They recommended voters shred the misprinted ballots.
These are just the latest problems in the Garden State regarding the efficacy and authenticity of mail-in voting, as elected leaders were charged with fraud in a special election in Paterson this summer. A judge eventually nullified the entire process, ruling that a new vote would take place in November.
New Jersey is also not the only state making news this week for its mishandling of mail-in ballots. Over the weekend in Virginia, mail collection boxes in three different localities were broken into. Virginia election officials announced the break-ins Monday.
“Six outdoor mail collection boxes were broken into sometime between Saturday afternoon and this morning,” Virginia officials said in a statement. “At this time, the United States Postal Service is investigating. Neither the Department nor USPS has any information about whether any election mail was contained in the boxes.”
Officials urged voters to contact USPS if they dropped mail into the boxes between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning.ADVERTISING
Mail-in ballots are also the subject of various legal battles around the country as Election Day nears.
The Nevada Republican Party asked federal law enforcement to investigate a Culinary Union chapter for illegally tampering with mailboxes while canvassing for Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Republicans are also challenging election officials in Minnesota and Michigan for saying they would allow ballots to be counted past Election Day even if they are not postmarked.
Election security has a key issue since the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Over the past three years, many states have taken aggressive actions to strengthen their election infrastructure to provide enhanced security and resiliency for the 2020 primary and general elections. The global COVID-19 pandemic has added a new layer of complexity as local election authorities consider how to protect voter registration systems and rapidly pivot to a massive increase in the mail-in and absentee voting. The prevalence of election officials working from home and accessing election systems only expands opportunities for bad actors to disrupt or cause a loss of public confidence in the election system.
Election security issues range from direct threats, to the vote tally itself, to disinformation and influence operations by foreign actors. As of June 2019, we have not observed threat actors successfully altering vote tallies or results in any US election. That is the good news. The bad news is we know there are threat actors out there actively trying to influence U.S. voters, and by extension, the outcome of elections. The impact from the pandemic only exacerbates this concern.
Election security threats should be looked at as an ecosystem categorized into three principal layers. Each layer is equally important but is targeted in different ways by those trying to collect intelligence, target data, and impact the confidence of American voters. This impact would give threat actors precisely what they are looking for — the power to sway a vote or extend a political agenda. Each layer also has its own unique set of information technology, processes, and related risks that must be accounted for when planning for a robust defense.
The inner, and most critical segment is the voting infrastructure layer. This layer encompasses all of the systems and technology directly supporting the casting, recording, tallying, management, and certification of votes. The targeting of this infrastructure is the most concerning because it could have a direct impact on both the integrity and availability of the voting process. Fortunately, given the federated and generally segmented nature of voting systems in the U.S., there is a its limited attack surface presented to threat actors. Modifying or preventing the casting of enough ballots to change the outcome of national election undetected would be extremely difficult. Although we haven’t directly seen vote tallies altered by malicious actors in U.S. elections, that doesn’t mean they have not been trying. The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report on Russian targeting of U.S. election infrastructure stated that they observed adversaries conducting vulnerability scans targeted at election systems in every single state in the U.S. during the runup to the 2016 election. The larger systemic risk at this layer is an erosion of public trust in the voting process and the integrity of the results if these critical systems cannot demonstrate consistent and sustained security and resiliency against cyberattacks.
The second layer of the election ecosystem are the organizations and systems involved in supporting elections. These include infrastructure such as voter registration systems, and boards of election and election commission networks. For any adversary who intends to disrupt or influence elections, these government administrative networks represent the next most direct and impactful targets of opportunity. In the past, state and local officials, electoral registers, and commissions have all been targeted by actors in attempts to disrupt elections. While such compromises may not provide access to properly segmented election systems, threat actors compromising institutions affiliated with elections have the potential to disrupt pre-election and election day activities and more deeply damage the public’s faith in the electoral process should news of such intrusions become public. Beyond the threats from nation state actors, U.S. officials are publicly concerned about the effect ransomware attacks might have on the 2020 presidential elections, as the threat from criminals utilizing disruptive malware continues to impact state and local governments.
The third and most exposed layer of the election ecosystem represents all of the individuals and organizations with some stake in the political campaigning process, from social networks and news organizations to donor groups and political parties. Threat activity that has historically been observed in this segment has included cyber espionage — and in some cases the purposeful leaking of the data obtained in that manner — as well as disinformation campaigns. While far removed from altering actual systems that votes are cast or tabulated on, this sort of threat activity presents opportunities for malicious actors to attempt to influence public perception and guide a narrative which they hope will amplify a particular message or divide voters on crucial issues, This layer is often forgotten or much less visible to voters and the media, and yet can have an impact on their decisions inside the polling booth. If threat actors can successfully manipulate information so close to the election that there isn’t enough time to authenticate fabricated content being disseminated, irreversible damage may be done. Even if our adversaries are not directly successful, the fallout from foreign manipulation (actual or perceived), can have major consequences to both policy and public discourse for years after the election.
The seriousness of this threat transcends politics or policy disagreements. All stakeholders in the democratic process, from state and local election officials, to federal support functions, to campaigns and parties, have limited time and resources to adapt given new challenges posed by COVID-19. To best secure the U.S elections this year we must take an approach that understands the same threat actors and sponsors may target multiple parts of the ecosystem. Similarly, election security is not about a single candidate or one party over another. All sides are targets. This is about an attempt to divide and erode democratic institutions and confidence in our voting process. There is an urgent need to defend our democracy against these disruptive and divisive attacks. We are all much more aware and educated about the risks and threats facing our elections than we were four years ago. With a concerned and focused effort, we can ensure a safe, fair, and free election for all Americans.
So, naturally, Democrats are pushing to have them sent to every voter — or ‘voter.’
Enormous pressure is being mounted to use our current crisis as an excuse to transform how we vote in elections.
“Coronavirus gives us an opportunity to revamp our electoral system,” Obama’s former attorney general, Eric Holder, recently told Time magazine. “These are changes that we should make permanent because it will enhance our democracy.”
The ideas Holder and others are proposing include requiring that a mail-in ballot be automatically sent to every voter, which would allow people to both register and vote on Election Day. It would also permit “ballot harvesting,” whereby political operatives go door-to-door collecting ballots that they then deliver to election officials. All of these would dramatically reduce safeguards protecting election integrity.
But liberals see a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sweep away the current system. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insisted that a mandatory national vote-by-mail option be forced on states in the first Coronavirus aid bill. She retreated only when she was ridiculed for shamelessly using the bill to push a political agenda. But Pelosi has promised her Democratic caucus that she will press again to overhaul election laws in the next aid bill.
If liberals can’t mandate vote-by-mail nationally, they will demand that states take the lead. Last Friday, California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, signed an executive order requiring that every registered voter — including those listed as “inactive” — be mailed a ballot this November.
This could be a disaster waiting to happen. Los Angeles County (population 10 million) has a registration rate of 112 percent of its adult citizen population. More than one out of every five L.A. County registrations probably belongs to a voter who has moved, or who is deceased or otherwise ineligible.
Just last January, the public-interest law firm Judicial Watch reached a settlement agreement with the State of California and L.A. County officials to begin removing as many as 1.5 million inactive voters whose registrations may be invalid. Neither state nor county officials in California have been removing inactive voters from the rolls for 20 years, even though the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed last year, in Husted v. Randolph Institute, a case about Ohio’s voter-registration laws, that federal law “makes this removal mandatory.”
Experts have long cautioned against wholesale use of mail ballots, which are cast outside the scrutiny of election officials. “Absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud,” was the conclusion of the bipartisan 2005 Commission on Federal Election Reform, chaired by former president Jimmy Carter and former secretary of state James Baker.
That remains true today. In 2012, a Miami–Dade County Grand Jury issued a public report recommending that Florida change its law to prohibit “ballot harvesting” unless the ballots are “those of the voter and members of the voter’s immediate family.” “Once that ballot is out of the hands of the elector, we have no idea what happens to it,” they pointed out. “The possibilities are numerous and scary.”
Indeed. In 2018, a political consultant named Leslie McCrae Dowless and seven others were indicted on charges of “scheming to illegally collect, fill in, forge and submit mail-in ballots” to benefit Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris, the Washington Post reported. The fraud was extensive enough that Harris’s 900-vote victory was invalidated by the courts and the race was rerun.
Texas has a long history of intimidation and coercion involving absentee ballots. The abuse of elderly voters is so pervasive that Omar Escobar, the Democratic district attorney of Starr County, Texas, says, “The time has come to consider an alternative to mail-in voting.” Escobar says it needs to be replaced with “something that can’t be hijacked.”
Even assuming that the coronavirus remains a serious health issue in November, there is no reason to abandon in-person voting. A new Heritage Foundation report by Hans von Spakovsky and Christian Adams notes that in 2014, the African nation of Liberia successfully held an election in the middle of the Ebola epidemic. International observers worked with local officials to identify 40 points in the election process that constituted an Ebola transmission risk. Turnout was high, and the United Nations congratulated Liberia on organizing a successful election “under challenging circumstances, particularly in the midst of difficulties posed by the Ebola crisis.”
In Wisconsin recently, officials held that state’s April primary election in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. Voters who did not want to vote in-person, including the elderly, could vote by absentee ballot. But hundreds of thousands of people cast ballots at in-person locations, and overall turnout was high. Officials speculated that a few virus cases “may” have been related to Election Day, but, as AP reported, they couldn’t confirm that the patients “definitely got [COVID-19] at the polls.”
In California, the previous loosening of absentee ballot laws have sent disturbing signals. In 2016, a San Pedro couple found more than 80 unused ballots on top of their apartment-building mailbox. All had different names but were addressed to an 89-year-old neighbor who lives alone in their building. The couple suspected that someone was planning to pick up the ballots, but the couple had intercepted them first. In the same election, a Gardena woman told the Torrance Daily Breeze that her husband, an illegal alien, had gotten a mail-in ballot even though he had never registered.
“I think it’s a huge deal,” she said. “Something is definitely wrong with the system.”
The Los Angeles Times agrees. In a 2018 editorial it blasted the state’s “overly-permissive ballot collection law” as being “written without sufficient safeguards.” The Times concluded that “the law passed in 2106 does open the door to coercion and fraud and should be fixed or repealed.” It hasn’t been.
John Lieberman, a Democrat living in East Los Angeles, wrote in the Los Angeles Daily News that he was troubled by how much pressure a door-to-door canvasser put on him to fill out a ballot for candidate Wendy Carrillo. “What I experienced from her campaign sends chills down my spine,” he said.
What should also spook voters who want an honest election is a report from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. It found that, in 2016, more mail ballots were misdirected to wrong addresses or unaccounted for than the number of votes separating Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. She led by 2.9 million votes, yet 6.5 million ballots were misdirected or unaccounted for by the states.147
It would be the height of folly for other states to follow California’s lead. In the Golden State, it already takes over a month to resolve close elections as mail-in ballots trickle in days and weeks after Election Day. Putting what may be a supremely close presidential election into the hands of a U.S. Postal Service known for making mistakes sounds like a recipe for endless litigation and greatly increased distrust in our democracy.
The British author Joanne Rowling of the fantasy series Harry Potter has introduced the Dementors in Harry Potter and the Prisoners of Azbakan. These hooded humanoid characters have been depicted in the movies as skeletal figures with the ability to fly unconstrained by the laws of physics. They are the prison guards of Azbakan whose task is to create utter hopelessness and even suicidal self-hatred by the inmates. Their destructive energy can be spread like a virus through the air and also by invisible, yet direct contacts with humans. Arabella Figg, a character in OP8 describes them thus: “Everything went cold….and I felt…as though all happiness had gone from the world…and I remembered….dreadful things.”
Viktor Orban’s Hungary is Joanne Rowlings’s Azbakan and the metastasizing fatal cancerous tumor gnawing on the body politic of NATO and the European Union. He and his very small circle of co-conspirators, better defined as his accomplices in setting up and running his criminal enterprise, are the Dementors of the Hungarian people.
Since his party FIDESZ has been brought back to power by a two thirds majority in the Parliament in 2010, and have been kept in power through a new and taylor made constitution as well as election frauds in 2014 and 2018, Viktor Orban has had a deliberate plan to kill every aspect of Hungary’s fledgling democracy. His diabolical legal and extra legal schemes of demoralization of the population have been designed to reduce the entire nation to profligate imbecility. His so-called “illiberal democracy” has stripped the citizens of their chance to vote out his government by free elections devoid of voter fraud, ballot stuffing, and the forced inclusion of ethnic Hungarians in the local and national elections from the neighboring countries.
His and his accomplices shameful corruption has impoverished Hungary and has kept the bulk of the nation as near to abject poverty as seemed appropriate for a modicum of societal tranquility. Politically, Viktor Orban has pursued a host of tactical opportunities that has aimed at propping up his autocracy. His means have included every conceivable move, including cozying up to dictators from the east, such as the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Russia, Valdimir Putin, and a colorful assortment of really nasty authoritarians from the former Soviet Union. Domestically, the tactics that Viktor Orban has employed have been drastic. He and his accomplices have ruined the health industry and destroyed almost the entire educational system. As a result, most of the experienced physicians and qualified nurses have left Hungary, and teachers have lost their jobs in the thousands. Thus, the difference between the general condition of Hungary now and the days before 1990, is one of degree, the latter state might have been better than the former.
Yet, no economic decline or financial troubles appear to rattle the consciousness of Hungary’s Dementors. As in Rowlings’s masterpiece, Viktor Orban and his accomplices possess no soul and know no mercy. Stealing and embezzlement are continuing unabated. His boyhood body from his home village Lorinc Meszaros and his son in law Istvan Tiborcz have become billionaires. Clearly, they are Viktor Orban’s premier Strohmen. His previous financial guru Lajos Simicska fell out of favor years ago, because he became too powerful and knew too much about Viktor Orban’s and his accomplices’s shenanigans. For his alleged and actual sins, Simicska was destroyed as a businessman and completely ruined financially.
A lot already has been written about Hungary’s new emergency legislation due to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to giving unlimited powers to Viktor Orban both in scope and duration, the legislation eliminates every vestige of democracy, freedom, independence, and individuality. Again, as in Rowlings’s masterpiece, Hungarians have been relegated to zombie existence. This condition will not change until Viktor Orban and his criminal gang continue to possess absolute powers.
Adding insult to injury, the European Union has never taken decisive actions against Hungary. However, if Brussels does not intervene, Viktor Orban will continue to weaken the cohesion of the organization. The founding values of the European Union are at stake. More importantly, he is not entirely alone. The states of the former Soviet bloc, with few exceptions, are as corrupt, if not even more, than Viktor Orban’s Hungary.
The United States of America has not fared better against Hungary than the European Union. The current administration has sent to Budapest an amateur whose understanding of Hungary is near zero. His only dubious accomplishment is that he has made a fool of himself by becoming the lapdog of Viktor Orban. In this manner, the White House and the State Department have been deprived of objective and unbiased information about the situation in Hungary. Clearly, Viktor Orban represents a very serious threat to NATO as well as the European Union. The time is running out for corrective actions. The Hungarian people are getting more and more desperate. The possibility of a bloody upheaval against VIktor Orban’s autocracy is real. To prevent it should be high priority for Brussels and for Washington too.
Watchdog launches probe after state officials admit adding 574 noncitizens to voter rolls
A watchdog group has requested records from the Illinois State Board of Elections after 574 noncitizens were added to its voter rolls, allowing some of them to vote illegally in the 2018 midterm elections.
The Public Interest Legal Foundation, an election integrity law firm, made the request on Thursday after the board admitted the error. The individuals in question were improperly invited onto the rolls through a glitch in the state’s automatic voter registration system while applying for a driver’s license or state identification.
The watchdog says Democratic politicians are pushing automatic voter registration at the expense of election integrity. The issues in Illinois with automatic voter registration, which has been implemented in 18 states and the District of Columbia, contribute to an already widespread trend of noncitizens making their way onto voter rolls nationwide.
“States have no business experimenting with automatic voter registration until they can zero out the risk of ineligible noncitizens passing through traditional Motor Voter,” said Logan Churchwell, communications director at PILF.
PILF is attempting to find out if all of the self-reported noncitizens were registered through DMV transactions and if the state is undertaking any efforts to identify remaining registered noncitizens. The 574 noncitizens were self-identified and more could potentially remain on the voter rolls. The state found 19 who cast ballots in 2018, but the total number of illegal votes remains unknown. The group is also seeking information on whether any noncitizens self-reported prior to the new cases or if any noncitizens voted in elections that could have been decided by their participation.
“This is not a new problem for Illinois. That state’s Motor Voter system made national news in 2017 well before policymakers foolishly installed automatic voter registration,” Churchwell said. “States like Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, California, Georgia, Florida, and more have demonstrated how foreign nationals can and do enter voter registries through the Motor Voter process, regardless of automation.”
PILF previously uncovered 232 cases of noncitizens who registered to vote in Chicago. The individuals later self-reported their illegal registrations in hopes of becoming naturalized U.S. citizens.
“The Foundation fully expects there are more foreign nationals still registered to vote in Illinois—and some of them voted in 2018,” Churchwell said. “We just don’t know who they are yet since they haven’t felt the need to self-report—but their time will come.”
Illinois’s State Board of Elections did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
As many as 5.7 million noncitizens voted in the 2008 election and potentially more voted in 2016, according to a new study by Just Facts, a New Jersey-based research group, drawing on information from other studies.
The study—based on data compiled from Harvard University’s Cooperative Congressional Election Study, an analysis published in the journal Electoral Studies co-authored by Old Dominion University faculty, and Census data—also provides some support for what then-President-elect Donald Trump tweeted in late November, when he asserted he won the popular vote if the fraudulent votes were deducted. The Just Facts study did not look specifically at 2016.
The study by Just Facts, which identifies its point of view as conservative/libertarian, but says it maintains independent inquiry, determined as few as 594,000 and as many as 5.7 million noncitizens voted in 2008, in the race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain. Eighty-two percent of noncitizens who admitted to voting in a survey said “I definitely voted” for Obama.
An estimate from 2012, which the study finds to have less complete data, is between 1 million and 3.6 million noncitizens registered to vote or voted, including both the “self declared” and the “database-matched” populations.
Democrat Hillary Clinton won the popular vote over Trump by about 2.9 million votes in 2016.
Previously, an Old Dominion University professor’s analysis found that, extrapolating on a more extensive 2014 study, an estimated 800,000 noncitizensvoted in the 2016 election—falling well short of enough to affect the popular vote.
James Agresti, president of Just Facts, was cautious about stating whether this would have changed the result of the popular vote in the 2016 election. He concluded it is likely the number of noncitizen voters in the most recent presidential election was higher than eight years ago.
When asked if noncitizen voters changed the popular vote outcome in 2016, he said, “There is a distinct possibility.”
“The 3 million vote margin would be smack in the middle,” Agresti told The Daily Signal. “I don’t want to say it would. There are a lot of uncertainties. It’s possible.”
There are two ways of looking at the noncitizen voting figures for 2012, Agresti said. Based on the Harvard and Census data, between 1 million and 2.6 million noncitizens voted under “self-declared.” However, there are between 1.2 million and 3.6 million “database-matched” noncitizens who voted that year. So the full range is 1 million to 3.6 million. Because of the overlapping information, Agresti is particularly cautious about drawing conclusions here.
“Just Facts does not have all the data needed to calculate inclusive figures for the 2012 election, so these figures are undercounts,” Agresti said.
Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation who has written extensively about voter fraud, was not very familiar with Just Facts, but he said if the findings were true, it lends more evidence to a growing problem.
“This is just another indication of how serious the problem may be and why it is even more important to investigate the possibility of noncitizens voting,” von Spakovsky told The Daily Signal.
In May, Trump named Vice President Mike Pence to chair the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.
The difference between the Just Facts finding and the estimate from Old Dominion University research is likely because of a different methodology, said Jesse Richman, an associate professor of political science at Old Dominion University, who did the aforementioned study that arrived at 800,000 noncitizen votes in the 2016 election.
“My impression is that the differences arise principally from the different assumptions we made about how to treat individuals for whom there was some ambiguity about whether they voted or not, e.g. individuals who said they didn’t vote but had a validated vote, etc.,” Richman told The Daily Signal in an email. “There are a variety of assumptioans one could make about how to treat those individuals, and my general impression is that this is the main thing driving the differences between our results.”
Richman’s figure was based on the 2014 study he co-authored that looked at noncitizen voting in the 2008 and 2010 elections. Richman applied the methodology from the study of those years to arrive at an estimated 800,000 noncitizen voters in 2016.