A cloud hangs over the election — but don’t blame Trump’s supporters
Even before the November election, our electoral process was ranked among the poorest run in the industrialized world.
In its Perceptions of Electoral Integrity Index, Harvard University’s Electoral Integrity Project found that U.S. election integrity ranked below every country in northern and western Europe except Turkey. It also ranked below seven former Eastern bloc nations, including Slovenia, and below nine countries in the Americas, including Uruguay, Peru and Brazil. An analysis by 50 social scientists for the University of Gothenburg’s V-Dem project produced similar findings.
It’s easy to see why. Consider the context of this year’s election.
An analysis by the Public Interest Legal Foundation of 41 states’ voter rolls found that 349,773 deceased voters were registered this cycle. At least 7,890 voters cast ballots in 2016 and 6,718 in 2018 after they were recorded as deceased. To make matters worse, 10 states sent unsolicited ballots to tens of thousands of deceased voters this year. That’s not exactly confidence-inspiring.
This fall, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court effectively rewrote the commonwealth’s election law in violation of Article I, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution. The liberal-dominated court extended the deadline by three days, prohibited election officials from rejecting ballots without postmarks and barred them from using mismatched signatures as a basis for exclusion. Nothing suspicious there.
Mainstream media outlets repeatedly and falsely have claimed there is “no evidence” of election fraud, further fueling suspicions of the results. Newsweek , for example, quoted Federal Elections Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, a Democrat, as saying, “There is no evidence of any kind of voter fraud.” The previous day, the Texas Attorney General’s Office charged a social worker with 134 felony counts of election fraud.
In Pennsylvania, the Republican Party sued when its poll watchers were prohibited from standing close enough to observe the vote counting in Philadelphia. A Pennsylvania appellate court ordered the poll watchers moved within six feet of the counting, but amazingly, the Philadelphia Board of Elections appealed. Nothing to see here folks … just move along.
Integrity questions were further bolstered when several prominent liberals, including the New York Times’ Tom Friedman and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, urged Americans to violate election laws to influence the outcome of Georgia’s run-off Senate elections in January. In a CNN interview, Friedman said he hoped everyone would move to Georgia to vote in the run-off election.
And in a tweet announcing his decision to move to Georgia, Andrew Yang wrote, “The best thing we could do for Joe is to get him a Democratic Senate. There should be coordination of resources. Everyone who campaigned for Joe should get ready to head to Georgia. I’ll go.”
Moving to Georgia to affect the election outcome is a felony under Georgia law. One can’t reasonably argue that Americans concerned about election fraud are irrational about electoral fraud while leading liberals are urging voters to engage in it.
The United States is one of the few countries in the world permitting large-scale voting by mail. France got rid of mail-in balloting in 1975 following massive election fraud in Corsica. In Europe, only the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Germany, Iceland, Poland and Liechtenstein allow in-country postal voting for anyone, but only if the ballots are received on or before election day. The U.S.’s own 2005 Commission on Electoral Reform, co-chaired by President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker III, found voting by mail increased the potential for fraud.
Election officials increased those chances when key swing states, including Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada, gave voters who filled their ballots out incorrectly an opportunity to “cure” them. In Pennsylvania, several Democratic strongholds allowed ballots to be cured while the rest of the state did not, violating the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. In Georgia, volunteer groups such as the left-wing Common Cause helps cure ballots, which also raises differential treatment issues.
There’s no question that election irregularities occurred this year. The only question is its scale. The cloud that hangs over the election is unsettling to the American people. And it certainly isn’t fair to Joe Biden.
Congress has the authority to regulate congressional elections — and, indirectly, presidential elections — through Article 1, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution. It’s time for Congress to step up to the plate and show bipartisan support in restoring the integrity of our voting process.
David A. Ridenour is president of the National Center for Public Policy Research, a nonpartisan educational foundation based in Washington. He has served as an international election observer. Follow him on Twitter @DavidARidenour.