Connecticut manages to get the AP to notice ballot drop box problems

A driver drops a ballot into a drop box at the King County Elections office Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

For the past few weeks we’ve been covering the disputed mayoral election in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where a woman was caught on video stuffing ballots into drop boxes in the middle of the night. The race came down to a couple hundred votes and the “loser” is currently in court fighting to have the results vacated. The woman with the envelopes full of ballots is under investigation, just as she was in the previous election. The dubious results have attracted national attention and once again highlighted the problems with mass mail-in voting and public ballot drop boxes. The situation has created such a stench that even the Associated Press felt compelled to cover this story this week. Of course, as we would expect, they’re trying to imply that the drop boxes couldn’t possibly be the real problem.

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The accusations of drop box fraud are not coming from those pushing fringe election claims or from skeptical Republicans who have long favored eliminating or severely restricting use of the boxes. They are being made by Democrats — two candidates vying for mayor in Connecticut’s largest city, in a heavily Democratic state that began allowing drop boxes to be used during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Republicans have seized on the spat, which is now headed to a legal showdown that could result in a new election, to say it validates their concerns that drop boxes are ripe for fraud.

It’s good to see that the Republicans are “seizing” instead of “pouncing” for a change. But the AP still does its level best to imply that this is some sort of aberration. They quote one liberal from the so-called Alliance for Securing Democracy talking about the situation in Bridgeport. “It risks making what is the exception the rule in some folks’ mind. It’s well established that drop boxes themselves are very safe and secure.”

The report also goes on to point out a poll (taken by the AP) that found “no cases of fraud, vandalism, or theft… that could have affected the outcome” of the 2020 election. Even if that’s true, I can assure you that you’ll never see the AP mentioning a congressional race from 2020 that will forever have an asterisk next to the results because of precisely this type of voter fraud. That makes it all the more preposterous for them to seemingly mock Connecticut Republican Doug Dubitsky, who asked what was the obvious question all along. “How do we know that it’s only Bridgeport? This exact same thing could be happening in every single municipality in this state. We should get rid of these boxes completely.”

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It’s not just happening “in every municipality” in Connecticut. It’s happening everywhere to one degree or another. And the explanation is equally obvious. We see the same thing with the “justice reform” movement and other liberal causes. When you remove the penalties and disincentives for people to do something bad if it gains them an advantage, a certain percentage of the population will take you up on the offer. It’s a sad statement to make, but it’s just reality. If you make it easier and less costly to steal, looting will take place. When you make it easier to stuff the ballot box, you get what we’re seeing in Bridgeport today and what we saw in New York’s 22nd District in 2020.

The Associated Press also frets over the fact that these are two Democrats slugging it out over what clearly seems to be actual voter fraud caught on camera. “The fact that the claims are being pushed by two Democratic candidates threaten to further inflame criticism from the right.” But that’s the problem. This shouldn’t be a case of “criticism from the right.” This should incense everyone of every party or no party affiliation. If you’re so interested in “defending democracy,” be it here or in Ukraine, shouldn’t you want everyone on both sides to at least feel confident that the results are fair and honestly tabulated?

This should be a no-brainer, but sadly it won’t be, particularly for the Democrats. They gained a big lead in ballot-harvesting (both legal and otherwise, obviously) over the Republicans in the past few years. And as much as it turns my stomach to say it, the GOP is going to have to up their skills in the legal ballot-harvesting department and encouraging more mail-in voting if they want to keep pace. Sadly, the result will almost certainly be more situations like the one currently playing out in Connecticut, but you have to fight on the battlefield you are given.

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David Strom 8:00 AM | July 25, 2024
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