April 7, 2020

Voter Fraud Claims Mostly a Fraud

By Stephen Tuttle | Dec. 8, 2018

Another election, another series of claims of fraud and other shenanigans.
This started in 2016 when we were told “millions” of fraudulent votes had been cast in California, mostly by non-citizens. To be fair, they did find half a dozen attempts by non-citizens to vote, two of whom were in the country illegally. A little weak as scandals go.
But the cries of fraud were shrill, especially coming from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who made himself a national figure by claiming illegal immigrants were regularly voting pretty much everywhere. President Trump appointed Kobach to head his Commission on Voter Fraud, to significant fanfare. They were, finally, going to get to the bottom of this. 
They met twice then disbanded, having discovered nothing. Kobach lost his bid to become governor of Kansas in November, citing unusually high voter turnout as the cause of his demise. No fraudulent ballots were discovered.  
None of which stopped the whining this year. We were told of voting irregularities occurring in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Arizona, and California. When Republicans actually won the allegedly fraudulent votes in Florida, Georgia, and Texas, they magically stopped complaining, and it was the Democrats turn to cry foul. 
Even Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who surely knows better, got into the act, claiming he didn't understand how California counts ballots, and he found the process “bizarre.” He wondered aloud how they could have been ahead in all those congressional races on election night, only to lose a day or two or more later. A Californian who is a member of the Republican National Committee went a step further, claiming nefarious doings. 
Good grief.
Several states, including California since 2015, allow anyone to vote by mail. (California calls it “voting at home.”) As long as the ballot is postmarked on election day and arrives at its destination within three days of the election, the ballot is counted. More than 13 million Californians voted by mail, and that's a lot of signatures to verify by hand and then feed into the tabulators. 
The late counts also happened in the primary and general elections in 2016. Washington state, Arizona, and Oregon have the same experience every election. Everyone knows the elections there will not be over on election night, ever. One Washington election official said the only people who complain are candidates who lose, and the media, which has to delay its reporting. 
It's a simple trade-off voters in those states, and now Michigan, have made: easier to vote but slower election results. There's nothing bizarre about it.  
Which is not to suggest no voter fraud ever occurs. A relative handful of incidents occur every election.
Texas recently convicted a woman in the country illegally for having voted in several elections, and four other shady voters await their fates. She was sentenced to eight years in prison, after which she will be deported. The sentence is being appealed for being unduly harsh, but a non-citizen here illegally has to commit a series of crimes in order to vote: She would need fake ID, a stolen Social Security number, and would be committing perjury when swearing she was a U.S. citizen. It's why so few non-citizens even make the effort to cheat; the consequences are severe.
Michigan is not immune. The Heritage Foundation keeps track of election fraud with a nifty map, and they've found 11 criminal convictions for election/voter fraud here since 2006, most of which involved shady petition gatherers. Just 11 cases out of the tens of millions of votes cast since 2006 is a pretty strong endorsement of the integrity of the system and those who work in it. 
Then there's the Ninth Congressional District in North Carolina. The integrity of that election is in serious question.
Republican Mark Harris currently holds a 905 vote lead over Democrat Dan McCready, but something untoward has occurred with the absentee ballots, and the problem goes back to the May primary, in which Harris defeated an incumbent by less than 600 votes.
In one county in November, Republican Harris won 61 percent of the absentee ballots despite Republicans submitting only 19 percent of those ballots. The Democrat garnered more absentee ballot votes in every other county. Two people have already admitted they were paid to gather absentee ballots, and it is alleged that not all of those ballots were completely filled out or sealed. All of it is illegal in North Carolina and most everywhere else.
The state's Board of Elections has refused to certify the results and may order a new election.
That election is an outlier that needs fixing, but a few dunderheads trying to game the system aren't really much of a threat. The constant claims of fraud where none exists do far more damage.


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