Voter Fraud: The Election Process, What Can Go Wrong, and Previous Contested Elections and Incidents

It’s almost a week since the election. On Saturday morning, November 6, with votes still being tallied in some key states, Decision Desk HQ, along with Vox, called the election for former Vice President Joe Biden. Other news outlets quickly followed suit.

While Biden and Senator Kamala Harris gave acceptance speeches, President Donald Trump continues to make accusations of election fraud. In a Twitter post the day after the acceptance speeches, he wrote, “We should look at the votes. We’re just beginning the tabulation stage. We should look at these allegations. We’re seeing a number of affidavits that there has been voter fraud. We have a history in this country of election problems.”   

Trump’s campaign has filed lawsuits charging voter fraud and contesting the election results in states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Arizona. Here’s some of what you should know about the election process, lawsuits prior to the 2020 election to change that process, and past incidents of voter fraud.

The steps in the election process – and what could go wrong. Former CBS executive Jeff Ballabon is a political and business consultant and a member of the American Center for Law and Justice. He and Bruce Abramson, a lawyer with a Ph.D. in computer science, explain, “Any inquiry into the integrity of Tuesday’s elections must consider the entire process. Taking things in order, ballots are produced (i.e., printed), distributed (to voters), completed (by voters), transported (via a chain of custody), delivered (to an Elections Board), handled (by a worker), tabulated (by computer or by hand), and reported (as part of the information revealed to the public).”

They write that states and counties around the country, due to concerns about COVID-19, “introduced new and untested procedures pushing ballot integrity in precisely the wrong direction—on each and every step.”

The pair wrote about some of the possible problems, “In 2020, for the first time, many states mailed ballots to everyone on their voter rolls—without first cleaning those rolls.  They encouraged people to vote by mail rather than in person. They legalized, popularized, or promoted insecure distribution networks like dropboxes and ballot harvesters. They dropped standard requirements for validating documents, like legible signatures and postmarks and a trusted chain of custody.” 

Ballabon and Abramson believe quantitative analysts should be brought in to assess whether election results were statistically probable in various states and counties.

Hundreds of election lawsuits filed – long before the vote. On August 25, a good two months before the election, Hans Von Spakovsky wrote an article, “The Left Versus the Vote.” Von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation and the manager of the Law Reform Initiative, wrote about the false mainstream media’s narrative that the election’s lawsuits are all from President Trump.

He said, “In state after state, almost all the lawsuits filed over this year’s elections have been filed by Democrats and liberal or progressive organizations, seeking to change election rules by judicial fiat.” He said their goal was to “force all-mail elections or huge increases in absentee balloting while simultaneously eliminating safeguards against abuse and fraud.” Of 160 lawsuits that he cited, the Trump campaign or the Republican National Committee were only involved in about 40 cases.

Von Spakovsky explained that the pre-election lawsuits targeted various steps in the process listed above. “They are trying to force states to mail absentee ballots to all registered voters, despite the known inaccuracies of state voter rolls. At the same time, they are trying to

  • get rid of voter ID and witness signature or notarization requirements for absentee ballots;
  • override state deadlines for absentee ballots to be either returned or postmarked by Election Day;
  • void state laws banning vote harvesting by third parties;
  • stop or erode signature comparison procedures; and
  • require that voters be sent postage-prepaid envelopes for the return of completed absentee ballots.”

The week before the election, October 29, The Associated Press reported, “Roughly 300 lawsuits have been filed over the election in dozens of states across the country, and still scores remain unsettled just days before Election Day. Many involve changes to normal procedures given the coronavirus pandemic.”

America’s history of contested elections and voter fraud incidents. The U.S. has a long history of disputed elections and allegations of cheating, continuing up into recent elections. Many voters alive today remember the 1960 election, where John F. Kennedy beat Richard Nixon to win the presidency. Some still believe that the election should’ve been won by Nixon, due to allegations of voter fraud from Texas and Illinois, where rumors still abound that Chicago Mayor Richard Daley delivered the election to Kennedy.

More recently, there was the highly disputed 2000 presidential battle between George Bush and Al Gore, with some Democrats still believing that Bush stole the election. Another election that many believe was stolen was the Minnesota senate race between Saturday Night Live comedian Al Franken and then-Senator Norman Coleman. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2010, two years after the election, that Franken’s victory may have come from illegal votes by convicted felons.

And of course, many on the left still believe that President Trump somehow stole the 2016 election from Hillary Clinton.

The Heritage Foundation keeps an Election Fraud Database, which “presents a sampling of recent proven instances of election fraud from across the country.” The organization says that the “database is not an exhaustive or comprehensive list,” and lists almost 1,300 “proven incidents of voter fraud.”

At this point, we still don’t know if the accusations of fraud are verified or if they constitute enough votes to overturn the current results. As Focus on the Family President Jim Daly said, “I’m puzzled by those who wholly dismiss the possibility of voter fraud in this year’s race, especially since verified examples include ballots found in dumpsters just weeks before November 4th.”  

He added, “Is the cheating significant enough to alter outcomes? Time will tell.”

Photo from Shutterstock

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