I was reading an interesting column from Roger Kimball at the American Spectator this weekend and it led to a rather dark train of thought about the future. Kimball was musing about whether or not we are witnessing the end of the United States as a democratic republic in the wake of the SCOTUS decision to dismiss the Texas lawsuit. I realize that sounds a bit extreme and there may have been a bit of intentional hyperbole at play on the author’s part, but he went on to speak to larger questions regarding the faith the American people have in the security, honesty and integrity of our elections. That’s obviously been eroded badly in the past month or so, and Kimball counts himself among those who truly believe that the election was hijacked.

For reasons that I have rehearsed repeatedly, I believe that the 2020 presidential election was rigged. The rigging was successful. Because of it, Joe Biden appeared to have received more votes than Donald Trump. Those extra Biden votes, I believe, are illegitimate. Maybe ‘irregularities’ (a nice six-syllable word for ‘fraudulent’) with the Dominion voting machines accounted for some of the Biden ballots. But most were from the tsunami of mail-in ballots, all 90 to 100 million of them. This was no squalid two-bit voter fraud. It was a planned campaign. Maybe China has a role. Eric Swalwell may have some insight about that. In any event, some geniuses understood that COVID was the perfect cover for voter fraud on an industrial scale. In a way, I admire the bravura that went into it. Having succeeded once, it will be imposed again and again.

I’ve largely been biting my tongue about this ever since election day, preferring to wait and see how the lawsuits played out and what investigations into some of the more sweeping claims about “irregularities” eventually produced. Unfortunately, the clock has basically run out on such matters because the electors are about to be seated and once that is done, barring some massive flood of faithless electors, there is no other constitutional path leading us to anything but a Joe Biden presidency.

If Biden did win the election fairly (and I’m not saying that he couldn’t have), then so be it. The system is operating as it should. If new information were to later prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump actually won, we would be immediately thrust into a constitutional crisis unlike any this nation has ever faced. But this leads me to the issue that’s facing us today and will be hanging over us like a dark cloud four years from now unless something rather radical is done to address it.

We have a problem today because basically, half the country either believes that the election was rigged or they’re at least not confident enough to say that it wasn’t. And both election officials and politicians across the nation have given these people far more than sufficient cause to have and express those doubts. If people have sincere questions about the integrity of the system then those questions deserve answers and solutions that are solid enough to restore the trust of the voters or we probably won’t have enough of a nation left to bother voting anymore.

I’m not saying I know whether or not the correct person was declared the winner of the presidential race (or any other, really) but there are two general categories of potential voter fraud that need to be examined and publicly rooted out. One is localized small-scale voter fraud while the other is the possibility of something sweeping, systemic, and intentional. I’ll address them in reverse order.

Were the Dominion voting machines (or those of any other manufacturer for that matter) set up in such a way that they flipped a sufficient percentage of votes from Trump to Biden to change the results statewide? Again, I don’t know because I’ve yet to see definitive proof that they were. But I’ve also yet to hear any satisfactory, comprehensive explanation of how we know that they weren’t. We need to take a fresh look at how such manufacturers are selected and certified to provide equipment for the polling stations. And we’re obviously not just talking about the physical machines themselves, but the software underpinning the process.

Each system being used needs to be examined at a fine-grain level by experienced white hat hackers provided and approved by representatives of both major parties. We need a comprehensive, professional analysis of these systems to determine if there’s some malfeasance built into the code by the supplier. And if that’s not found, we need to know if the machines could be externally hacked after they are put online to alter the results they produce. This needs to be done in every state.

The other half of the “systemic” level problems come with the paper ballots themselves. As long as there are only a relative handful of absentee ballots each year, the numbers don’t overwhelm poll workers and they’re mostly manageable. (More on that in a moment.) When the vast majority of people are showing up at their polling place, filling out the ballot in person and feeding it into the voting machine, you’re at least going to expect some solid results if the machines have been proven to be secure, reliable and without software bias. But the mountains of mail-in ballots that were handled this year obviously opened the door to errors, if not intentional fraud. We were warned in advance by people screaming from the rooftops that tens or hundreds of millions of mail-in ballots were going to cause equally massive problems and that’s precisely how it worked out. We can’t repeat this error in perpetuity Even if the results from those ballots are mostly honest, it doesn’t matter if the nation doesn’t have faith in those results.

Then there’s the small-scale voter fraud that turns up in every election. Once again this year we saw dead people voting in New York, Florida and California along with who knows how many other states. People were arrested after mailing ballots in on behalf of dead relatives. Ballot harvesters were sticking huge slugs of ballot envelopes into postal boxes. The list goes on. Many of us, including myself, have been too casual about that, saying that such incidents don’t add up to enough of a margin to throw off more than a local village council race. That complacency can’t be the normal state of affairs after 2020.

Why? Because even those levels of fraud matter. Here’s a question for you. Who won the race for New York’s 22nd Congressional District? Claudia Tenney or Anthony Brindisis? You don’t know be we still don’t have an official answer and it’s been well over a month since election day. After the Republican was leading by roughly 10,000 votes the morning after the election, they’re now separated by less than 20. The lead keeps changing and it seems like they are “finding” more ballots every other day. How many people voting for a dead relative or illicitly harvesting a ballot would it take for the results to change? And what happens there is going to determine a congressional seat. At this point, why would anyone believe that whoever is eventually declared the winner actually won?

The issue of being able to verify questionable ballots when they are received is never going to go away until every state cleans up its voting rolls and puts a system in place to keep them clean. And a process is needed so that any ballot challenged by observers from either party can be quickly and accurately checked against those rolls. We clearly need voter ID for all fifty states. If we somehow manage to pull all of this off, we just might restore enough of the faith of the nation in our electoral process to allow us to soldier on. If we don’t, the original question addressed by Roger Kimball above will have been answered And to the disappointment of the spirit of Benjamin Franklin, we won’t have been able to keep the republic they gave us