We’ve now heard that Donald Trump will be calling for a serious investigation of voter fraud. This is a move which was met by howls of protest from liberals across the board. This frustrating conversation is once again sucking up the news cycle, with Dan Balz at the Washington Post going so far as to say that the new president is endangering democracy itself.
The reality is that Trump is the only one proposing something which has even a chance of ending this debate once and for all. His critics are saying that he’s making claims about voter fraud which are ether flat out lies or, at minimum, can’t be proved. The second part of that claim is correct. He can’t prove it. Of course, the uncomfortable (for some) truth is that the people saying there wasn’t any widespread voter fraud can’t prove that either.
The reason is one which I’ve been carping about for a long time now. When I first began to examine this subject I quickly arrived at the conclusion that we have no idea how much voter fraud there is, and in order to know why you need to know about the murder rate in New York City. Yes, the two are related. And if you think this is something I cooked up to “defend Trump” you should know I wrote that almost five years ago. Suffice it to say that if you think you know that there is either no voter fraud or there is some amount of it which you can accurately estimate, you’re fooling yourself.
With that as a starting point, here’s some of what we do actually know. In the most recent election, 1/3 of voting machines in one Michigan county recorded more votes than the actual totals. In Florida, just before the election, five people complaining about not receiving their absentee ballots discovered that somebody else had cast them for them. (And those were five people in one small area who actually took the time to go complain. Yeah… I’m sure they were the only ones, right?) In Illinois, people were found to be offering cash for votes. When somebody bothered to check in one Colorado county, the dead were found to be voting with alarming regularity. In one southern California county there were hundreds more votes cast by the dead.
I could go on, but it would quickly bore you I’m sure. But here’s the point. Those do remain isolated incidents in terms of what can actually be documented. Maybe those five absentee ballots in Florida were the only ones. Or maybe there were thousands and those were just the ones we found. Either way… wouldn’t you want to know?
Maybe those two counties in Colorado and California are the only counties in the nation where people are showing up, signing in the book under the names of dead people and voting. Or maybe there are hundreds of them in most of the more than one thousand counties across the country. I have no idea… but wouldn’t you want to know?
Maybe the voting machines are nearly flawless with only a handful of exceptions, or maybe they are spewing out mathematical fictions right and left, either through poor designs or intentional malfeasance. Isn’t that something that we really should know?
We can continue to stand here and hurl stones at each other across the fence citing nonsense factoids which prove nothing and never settle the question. Or we could have a comprehensive review, comparing the voter rolls against people known to be dead or living elsewhere. We can have a comprehensive spot check of absentee ballots and ask those voters if they actually sent them in. We can recheck the majority of voting machines the same way they did in Michigan. It’s a long, tedious process but it could most assuredly be done. I don’t know how it would turn out. Maybe there has been massive, rampant fraud which will horrify all of us. Maybe voter fraud will turn out to be isolated in a few places and not add up to much more than a hill of beans.
But at least we’d know. And seriously… wouldn’t you want to know?