“When it comes to voting rights, Democrats push voter protection while Republicans shout voter fraud in a crowded polling place. Democrats think anyone who can vote should vote; Republicans think everyone who should vote can vote.” Christine Pelosi
“The documented incidences of voter fraud are very rare, yet throughout the country, forces have mobilized in over 30 states to stop it. These efforts are very partisan” John Lewis
The Deplorable Donald Drumpf campaign is fomenting seditious attitudes and spreading malicious falsehoods with its alarmist remarks about “rigged elections,” media conspiracies to elect Hillary Clinton. Furthermore,“At a time when trust in government is at a low point, Drumpf is actively stoking fears that a core tenet of American democracy is also in peril: that you can trust what happens at the ballot box.”
Drumpf’s claims, and those of allies like Rudy Giuliani, are the real fraud! All of them are baseless and deleterious to democracy. They undermine confidence in the legitimacy of the political process. Just ask Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican who on Monday blasted Drumpf for “irresponsible” rhetoric.
“I can reassure Donald Drumpf: I am in charge of elections in Ohio, and they’re not going to be rigged. I’ll make sure of that,” he said. “Our institutions, like our election system is one of the bedrocks of American democracy. We should not question it or the legitimacy of it. It works very well. In places like Ohio, we make it easy to vote and hard to cheat.”
While government administrators, mainly at the state and local levels, plan American elections, ordinary citizens with only modest party connections control the conduct of these elections. First, Americans hold elections in public places — such as cafeterias, gymnasiums, community centers, fire halls, and other event spaces. Also, they do so in plain view of all assembled. Second, ballots, voting machines, voter lists, and other election materials and equipment arrive at the polling place under locks and seals, remain in the room throughout the day, and stay until the election is over. Then, all these items are again locked and sealed against tampering. Third, private citizens—not bureaucrats of any kind—serve as the “Clerks,” “inspectors,” “officers” or other election officials in charge of our polling places and the conduct of the voting. These ordinary citizens, check voters in and confirm their IDs in states where IDs are required, and they keep detailed records of voter turnout in the election. Fourth, state laws typically empower local political parties to appoint or nominate these polling place officials and mandate a rough partisan balance in representation by each party. Fifth, in some places partisan balance among the election officials, is difficult or impossible, but the law also permits parties and candidates to send poll watchers to polling places to stand monitor these election officials as they work. These appointed poll watchers can point out errors and irregularities to the election officials and ask to have them corrected. Usually, political parties train their watchers, so they understand how to conduct elections properly. If officials at the polling place refuse to correct errors called to their attention, party lawyers will intercede as necessary with state election administrators and relevant courts.
An extra level of election security comes from the testing of equipment in a public proceeding that party and candidate representatives observe. Once tested the equipment is locked and tamper-sealed, and the keys to the voting equipment are locked and sealed separately. Furthermore, voting machines have multiple interconnected counters that prevent secret addition or removal of votes. The counter readings are recorded each time the machines’ doors open, and this process is observed and cross-checked by the representatives? of the candidates and the parties—at the testing, as well as before the polls open and after they close.
Election officials, the same ordinary citizens previously discussed, count votes and tally results once the voting is complete. This process is also observed by representatives of Parties and candidates. Finally, following the election, a public canvass re-verifies the election night results. The purpose of the canvass is to account for every ballot cast and ensure that every valid vote is included in the election totals. This process involves accounting for every absentee ballot, every early voting ballot, every ballot cast on Election Day, every provisional ballot, every challenged ballot, and every overseas and military ballot. For this reason, the election results we see on television on election night are not the certified results. The outcome of the election is not official until the completion of the canvass, sometimes several weeks after Election Day. Once all the documentation has been gathered, reviewed, and appropriately recorded, the election returns must be certified. This certification tallies all the valid ballots cast in the election. The certification usually the form of a report from the election management system.
“Throughout this entire process, the election officials keep detailed records—who voted, when (early, absentee or Election Day), where (by mail or in person), and how (on paper, by optical scan ballot, or on a touchscreen), and how many people voted overall. After the election, these records are open to public inspection. Anyone who knows what they’re doing can reconstruct the entire election and reveal any errors and irregularities that?—despite these safeguards, checks, and double-checks—slipped through the process.”
Not only is the election not rigged, but it is also anti-rigged! It is possible to present this assertion mathematically by constructing and solving an equation. To rig [pre-determine the outcome] an election, six things at a minimum would be essential. T – technological capabilities that exist only in Mission Impossible movies; C – complicity of Republican and Democratic polling place officials; B – blindfolds on Party and candidate poll watchers; C2 – Collusion of another set of Republican and Democratic officials at the post-election canvass; B2 – Blindfolds on the partisan canvass watchers, and J – Jedi-mind tricks on all lawyers, political operatives, and state election administrators. By assigning generous probabilities to the likelihood of each requirement as follows: T = .05, C = .1, B = .05, C2 = .05, B2 = .02, and J = .01, the compound probability of this outcome is calculated as follows: [.05] X [.10] X [.05] X [.05] X [.02] X [.01] = 0.000000003. Put another way; there is a 99.99999975% chance of the election not being rigged! Getting better odds on a process [the electoral process] working as intended is on the order of the miraculous to the third power!
Donald J. Drumpf is, as in so many other instances, talking nonsense while giving no indication that he gives a damn about the harm his reckless and ludicrous babble is.
The election is not rigged, and due to the complexity of the process, it is as close as it is humanly possible to attain impervious to rigging.
The Republicans and the Drumpf campaign do not confine themselves to egregious claims of election rigging. However, they also pile lie upon lie regarding fraudulent voting.
First, “one of Drumpf’s principle claims of voter fraud is that “dead people” are voting in large numbers.” Drumpf cites a Pew Charitable Trust report on large numbers of “zombie voters.” As usual, he misrepresents the report – the report, “Inaccurate, Costly and Inefficient: Evidence That America’s Voter Registration System Needs an Upgrade,” that does not say “1.8 million deceased people voted.” Pew said the inaccuracies provide evidence of the need to upgrade voter registration systems. Researchers say voter fraud involving ballots cast on behalf of deceased voters is rare. Lorraine Minnite, a professor at Rutgers University and author of The Myth of Voter Fraud said, “This issue of dead people voting is just not substantiated.” The context is “several states compared their voter lists to the Social Security Death Index, and in some cases, they turned up hundreds or even thousands of apparent instances of “dead people” voting.” Competent analysis, however, determined that almost every case turned out to be due to clerical errors or people who had legally voted via absentee ballots or the early voting process and later died before Election Day. So some few people who properly voted were still on the voting roles even though they died between the time the voted and the date of the election.
Justin Levitt in a 2007 report, “The Truth About Voter Fraud,” for the Brennan Center for Justice, says. “There are a handful of known cases in which documentation shows that votes have been cast in the names of voters who had died before the vote was submitted. but it is far more common to see unfounded allegations of epidemic voting from beyond the grave.” Much of the misinformation about “dead people voting” arises due to “flawed matches from one place (death records) to another (voter rolls).” During his research, Levitt explored five reports of widespread fraud regarding “dead voters” and determined all of them were unfounded or greatly exaggerated.
Drumpf’s second allegation of widespread voter fraud rests on “illegal immigrants voting.” In Wisconsin, Drumpf cited a 2014 Washington Post article titled “Could non-citizens decide the November election?” This article turns out to arise from a highly disputed and very controversial study by Old Dominion University professors Jesse Richman and David Earnest later published in the journal Electoral Studies. Drumpf accurately quoted from the post, but results are contested by several academics, including those who administer and manage the data on which it is based.
The managers of the database Richman and Earnest used said: “measurement errors” in the survey led to a “biased estimate of the rate at which non-citizens voted in recent elections. The results, we show, are completely accounted for by very low-frequency measurement error; further, the likely percent of non-citizen voters in recent US elections is 0.” Once again, Drumpf bases his ringing and alarming charges on a willful misrepresentation of data and conclusions that are both questioned and questionable.
Drumpf also revives and repeats resoundingly debunked allegations of widespread in-person voter fraud. Speaking to a rally of an almost entirely white audience in Altoona, PA, Drumpf invoked the specter of voter impersonation in “certain areas.” He urged these people to go to these areas and watch out for people voting “5 or 10 times.”
While that is rousing rhetoric on the campaign trail, it is reckless and reprehensible. It is also without a shred of credibility. A study of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases in 50 states between 2000 and 2012 found the level of fraud was infinitesimal compared with the 146 million voters registered over the 12-year period found only 10 cases of voter impersonation. Only voter impersonation can be prevented by voter ID at the polls. In a Pennsylvania, Superior Court case, the side defending the doomed law admitted they had no evidence of voter impersonation ever happening in Pennsylvania. The Attorney Generals of Arizona, Ohio, Georgia, Texas and Kansas heard hundreds of allegations of voter fraud and conducted 38 successful prosecutions. At least one-third of those involved nonvoters, such as elections officials or volunteers. Not one of the cases was for voter impersonation.
Lorraine Minnite, makes a telling point in the Myth of Voter Fraud:
“Voter fraud remains rare because it is irrational behavior. You’re not likely to change the outcome of an election with your illegal, fraudulent vote.”
Furthermore, the chances of being caught and the penalties if you are make it an exercise in futility and irrationality. Finally, in Wisconsin, U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson struck down parts of the state’s strict voter ID law, when he concluded: “there is ‘utterly no evidence’ that in-person voter impersonation fraud is an issue in Wisconsin, or in the rest of the United States.”
The bogus charges of rigged elections and voter impersonation do not conflate with two things that are often cited by defenders of these falsehoods. First, the battle over Florida between Bush and Gore. This crucial vote count was cut short, and the race was called for Bush at the order of the Supreme Court. The so-called “strict constructionists” who regularly fuss about “states’ rights,” overrode the Florida Supreme Court and the state’s process to award Bush the Presidency by a 537-vote margin. Nonetheless, the Gore challenge was not based on allegations of a rigged election or of voter impersonation. The challenge was based on the disruption of the vote verification process. The other pretext involves record keeping errors and shortcomings. The voter registration and record keeping procedures and practices are antiquated. Studies have established this beyond reasonable dispute, but none of these studies have even suggested that these deficiencies enable or perpetrate any manner of rigging or fraud. The citations of such studies by proponents of the spurious election rigging and voter impersonation tropes are deceptive in their nature and intent.
Like the inveterate liar, he is, Drumpf jumped on a Tweet by a supporter from Texas to make wild charges of “vote flipping” in Texas twelve days before 08 November. Even the Republican officials in charge of the Texas election pointed out that Drumpf was mischaracterizing a checkpoint built into the operation of voting machines as something nefarious. By these means, Drumpf proves over and over that it ignorance is bliss, he must be the happiest human being who ever lived!
The bogus charges of election rigging and voter impersonation along with the practices of gerrymandering and vote caging are part and parcel of the Republican Party’s ongoing effort to obstruct representative governance in and impose their rule on the American Republic. As Governor Granholm, accurately describes this approach: “Voter suppression laws, overzealous filibuster use, you name it – the Republicans use every tactic they can to stop our democracy from actually selecting the person with the most support.”
The effort of Republican officials to “choose their voters” rather than ensuring and empowering voters to choose their officials is profoundly contrary to the foundational precept of “government by the consent of the governed.” Furthermore, every elected official, regardless of party affiliation, solemnly swears: “I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.”
When Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) suggests that “Republicans in the Senate if facing a Democratic president, simply not act,” or Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chairman declares “a scorched-earth approach to investigating Ms. Clinton if she goes to the White House,” in what way they or those who follow their lead bearing true faith and allegiance to the constitution or faithfully discharging the duties of the office upon which they have entered?
Such actions do neither and for the better part of five decades the Republicans have knowingly and with premeditation wantonly violated the letter and spirit of their oath. During this same span, they have battled against governance in accord with the Constitution of the United States.