Trump’s obsession with fraud

The voice of Galicia


David A. Graham


THE ATLANTIC

22/11/2020 05:00 h

Why not take a look? What harm could it do? This is the argument used by President Donald Trump and his allies to investigate allegations of electoral fraud in the 2020 elections. Unfortunately for them, the possibility of proving it is very weak. For years Republicans have been promoting allegations of massive voting fraud to change the outcome elections, and during the same time, they have failed to present proof of it.

This week The New York Times published an article in which its journalists contacted top election officials in all 50 states to ask if they had any evidence of fraud. No state reported problems and only one did not respond: Texas, where Lt. Governor Dan Patrick offered a $ 1 million reward for presenting evidence of fraud. Nobody offers big cash prizes if they already have proof. These types of rewards are also a strong incentive for false reports.

But the biggest reason for skepticism comes from Trump himself. After his victory in 2016, the new president appointed a commission to study the alleged fraud. Despite their great efforts, the commission collapsed less than a year later without presenting any evidence, nor any other type of irregularity finding.

Despite having won the 2016 elections, Trump insisted that he had been denied victory in the popular vote due to the existence of between 3 and 5 million unauthorized immigrant voters.. He did not provide any evidence to prove his accusation, because there was none. As electoral experts have pointed out since the complaints have circulated: it is impossible to execute a fraud on this scale. Every year there are individual cases of people voting illegally, but filling the polls in this way will require a massive and very noticeable effort.

Special commission

However, Trump announced in May 2017 that he would convene a commission to study electoral fraud. The head of the commission was Vice President Mike Pence, a sign of his importance to Trump, but his effective leader was Kris Kobach, a Republican who was then Secretary of State for Kansas. Kobach has been one of the most implacable voices to plead electoral fraud, and was considered for positions in the Trump Administration, although he was not elected. Several of the other members of the commission were also enthusiastic advocates of the electoral fraud claim, and there were also a couple of Democratic representatives.

The commission was in trouble almost immediately. With no credible evidence of fraud in hand to begin to demonstrate the conclusion that both Trump and Kobach had clearly already reached, he had to reveal something, and do it quickly. In June, Kobach sent a letter to the states requesting all publicly available voter data, including names, addresses, voting history, party affiliation, felony convictions and the last four digits of Social Security numbers.

State officials and security experts, including many Republicans, reacted in horror. They claimed that Kobach had not offered a secure way to send the information and that, in any event, there was no reason to believe that it was proving a fraud with the data. Additionally, it will cost taxpayers money, could compromise privacy, and in some cases violate state law. Election officials also complained that the commission I was intimidating the voters for them to cancel their own registrations, which were valid.

These responses reflected an uncomfortable reality for Kobach: Although many Republican election officials support stricter voting laws, including photo identification requirements, they also take seriously the fact that their job is to run elections smoothly and smoothly. prevent fraud, and they were unhappy with the implication that they were failing in their endeavor.

Without most of the data he had requested and without any other evidence of fraud, the commission was stuck. In September, he held a meeting in New Hampshire to investigate Trump’s complaint there, but Bill Gardner, the territory’s secretary of state and a member of the commission, refuted the accusations. In October, two of the Democratic representatives complained that they had been excluded from the deliberations and meetings. One of them, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, filed a lawsuit demanding access to the commission’s material and won it.

In January, the group finally disbanded without revealing any findings. The Trump Administration said it would not release the materials to Dunlap because the commission no longer exists, but a judge disagreed and in August 2018 Dunlap released the documents it had obtained. These reports showed that in its months of work, the commission had not discovered any evidence of wrongdoing.

Irregularities, some, but on a very small scale

Voter fraud exists, but usually only at the level of the individual voter. There have been cases of racketeering, in Chicago in 1982 and in Brooklyn in 1984, but the numbers weren’t large enough to tip a presidential election, and laws in these jurisdictions have since tightened. The most famous alleged case of systematic fraud, that of Chicago in 1960 awarding victory to John F. Kennedy, is not proven either.

Every time Trump reports fraud, the important thing to remember is that he has already sought evidence of such wrongdoing and has come out empty handed. In 2016, I also had a specific complaint. This time he has not offered any numbers, just bragging. Defenders of Voter Fraud Sometimes they argue that the absence of evidence is evidence of the absence. It may be a smart way to philosophize, but it is an impractical way to evaluate election results.

By refusing to acknowledge Joe Biden’s victory, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asserted that Trump is one hundred percent in his right to investigate allegations of wrongdoing and weigh his legal options. That is true up to a point, but the question is not whether you have the right to do so. The question is whether it is prudent to do so and whether it is likely to prevail. The answer to both questions is no.

However, the Republicans have not given up. Pennsylvania’s Lieutenant Governor, Democrat John Fetterman, responded to the reward of one million dollars by Republican Dan Patrick offering a documented case of a Keystone State man requesting an absentee ballot for his deceased mother, in order to cast an additional vote. Fetterman asked for his reward in gift cards for Sheetz, a popular regional chain of stores. The man charged in the Pennsylvania fraud case is registered as a Republican. As of this writing, Dan Patrick hadn’t delivered the gift cards yet. The search continues.

2020 The Atlantic. Distributed by Tribune Content. Translation, Lorena Maya.

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