My pastor frequently uses a variation of the phrase, "If the plain sense makes good sense, seek no other sense lest it result in nonsense." Not since the early days of the pandemic has social media been filled with so much nonsense. It turns out that the people that didn't read the news about COVID in March and spent nine months spreading misinformation about that aren't good at election results either. I am not an epidemiologist, but I have experience when it comes to the operations of elections.
During the 2000s and 2010s, I worked as a reporter and party hack. In those two roles, I was able to observe elections up close. I participated in a recount in 2003 and 2004, where the candidates I volunteered for won by 3 and 14 votes, respectively. I then went on to cover elections for a talk radio station. When I left there to work as the Executive Director of the Libertarian Party of Indiana, I became an expert in third-party election law. I spent a lot of time with clerks and candidates working through the finer points of ballot placement and voting irregularities. I spent hours in the state election division talking through issues with the lawyers there. I served on the Indiana Help America Vote Act commission as the Libertarian representative.
It is virtually impossible to rig the election because of decentralization. There are thousands of counties managing a complex system of hundreds of thousands of people voluntarily cooperating to ensure elections work on a single day with multiple checks and balances. Hundreds of thousands of ballots are thrown out in elections when problems arise to correct the cherry-picked examples of fraud like ballots in coolers (which was fake).
I want to be clear. Voter fraud takes place, but at minuscule percentages. It is the lone shooter and not Al Qaeda. There is no ability to commit large scale fraud that could change the outcome of a Presidential election. Claiming that as an obvious fact bears no resemblance to reality.
There are 3,141 counties in the US. Each of these locations have a dozen volunteers working on elections. There are bound to be errors, and when there are, those ballots are tossed. In the primaries, 500,000 mail ballots alone were tossed.
There ARE some troubling irregularities to watch due to malfeasance by government officials.
If a systemic, nationwide effort were made to defraud the public, Hayek's knowledge problem kicks in. It becomes incredibly apparent where the issues lie and who perpetrated it.
Don't believe me? Get involved. You are a check and balance and can observe your local election. If one is anxious about ballot security, they can volunteer for the county clerk to be a poll worker in the next election as a judge or an inspector. They can monitor elections for a political party as a political watcher. If they're a journalist, they can inspect elections. That's how shady and deep this conspiracy runs. Anyone can participate in it just by asking.
Elections are a perfect example of why libertarian ideas work. Instead of making that point, many chose to buy fake news and conspiracy theories that help a big-government politician. Our ideas work in the real world, and we should promote them when they do.
Given my background and research over these past three months, I find much of the news I see from the right to be outrageous and contradictory. For example:
"Over the past 20 years, about 250 million votes have been cast by a mail ballot nationally. The Heritage Foundation (Republican Think Tank) maintains an online database of election fraud cases in the United States and reports that there have been just over 1,200 cases of vote fraud of all forms, resulting in 1,100 criminal convictions, over the past 20 years. Of these, 204 involved the fraudulent use of absentee ballots; 143 resulted in criminal convictions. One hundred forty-three cases of fraud using mailed ballots over the course of 20 years comes out to seven to eight cases per year, nationally. It also means that across the 50 states, there has been an average of three cases per state over the 20-year span. That is just one case per state every six or seven years. We are talking about an occurrence that translates to about 0.00006 percent of total votes cast." - The Hill
During the 2020 Election:
Someone illegally cast millions of votes for Joe Biden in multiple swing states in history's first systemic voter fraud effort. The evidence? The word of his opponent who declared fraud before the first ballot was ever cast.
What is galling is that this strategy was so obvious. The Trump campaign wants to amplify commonly-occurring yet innocuous bits and trends through the right-wing press to destabilize and de-legitimize the results. It is what Trump said he was going to do, and it has been so well-publicized that I did a show on it three weeks ago. We talked about it here:
There are irregularities in the fog of vote tabulations all of the time. The right's strategy is to use the populace's ignorance about how these systems function to confuse the situation. Remember how often we lament the lack of civics education? That is the cover for contesting the election. The Trump family and their supporters are intentionally spreading false information to confuse the situation.
Another common piece of misinformation is a screenshot of the discrepancies between state election websites and news outlets. State election websites post certified numbers. News outlets don't. There is a difference between those numbers.
Certified election results are results that are final and officially verified by the relevant elections office. Once election results are certified, the effects - either the approval or rejection of candidates or measures - can occur because all the ballots that are going to be counted have been.
Preliminary election results refer to election results before they have been certified. It often takes elections offices between two weeks and a month to certify election results. Even if 100 percent of election precincts are reporting, there can still be ballots from these precincts that have not been counted, due to certain circumstances, such as absentee ballots being delayed or complications that require recounts.
Recounts take place when a race is very close. Like dozens or hundreds or thousands (at a statewide level). No reasonable person of any political party with any credibility calls for a recount when they're losing a statewide election by 20,000 to 50,000 votes. It is a waste of taxpayer dollars. The ballots are initially scanned by a machine to check signatures. A team of people then checks problematic ballots. In a recount, teams of lawyers fight over these ballots. It is a slim percentage of the votes cast, and it is unlikely to change a result. A useless recount can't take place unless public opinion puts pressure on public officials.
If one listens to We Are Libertarians, you know what the red mirage is. You see it happening. Trump instructed his voters to vote in-person, so he had the appearance of a win on Election Night. Biden voters are more cautious due to the pandemic and voted by mail. This shifts votes towards the President. This is why there is a spike in places like Wisconsin.
What you might have considered as "election night" is a wholly manufactured drama by television news. They have always shown projections and not certified results. The country developed systems to give quick totals because of our impatience, but these are never certified results. That takes weeks.
Since the beginning of this country, every election sees vote totals change the days after the election because every vote is counted, processed, double-checked, and then certified. The government is pointing the barrel of a gun at fellow citizens, so they better damn well get this stuff counted accurately. Don't look at this with a McDonald's, "I need it now," childlike attitude. This is a complex process involving millions of moving parts.
To further insult our intelligence, the Trump campaign's official position is that ballot counting continues in AZ and NV, where he trails and should stop in GA and PA, where he leads. So fraud only exists where he's winning?
If this goes to court, I do not think Trump will be successful. Courts are inherently conservative and seek to uphold the status quo. They default to the idea that previous generations worked out what is best for society, and there is little incentive to disrupt those arguments lest there be backlash like Roe v. Wade, which never healed.
That's why case law is a default. Think of it as the referee in the NFL. It takes a lot of clear evidence to overturn the ruling on the field. There is a lot of law regarding recounts, especially with Bush v. Gore.
Trump is going to find it harder than he might expect to get the results he wants. Republican judges across the nation have tossed suits in the past month for lack of merit. He is used to dealing in civil lawsuits where he can sue anyone for anything.