OutsideTheBeltway.com: A Return to the (Lack of) Evidence of Significant Fraud

Political scientist Steven L. Taylor writes:

All of this brings me to true inspiration to this post, a speech by Deroy Murdock of the National Review at CPAC. Specifically, this clip (the second Tweet):

The whole speech (or, at least, most of it, is here via FNC).

Murdock is in inveighing against the notion that electoral fraud is not that big of a problem. He provides the Heritage database as a foundational part of his argument and emphasizes that it shows 1,130 convictions for electoral fraud. Indeed, he verbally underscores that number and forthrightly proclaims “so don’t tell me that vote fraud is some right wing hallucination.”

However, in my math-based opinion that number (especially when broken down into different categories) is so small as to be near to nonexistent in terms of system-level critiques. It may not be a hallucination, but it is a mirage on the horizon, a mistaken perception shimmering beyond reach that is not real.

Any human endeavor will have imperfections, so no shock US elections have people violating the rules. The goal should be commensurate and proportional responses to those imperfections. Not, as seems to be the goal for Murdock and company, massive overreactions to the problem that will simply result in making voting harder (and not, by the way, addressing most of the crimes on the Heritage list).

Murdock does not state, it is worth underscoring yet again, that the database stretches back to 1982. He does define what “voter fraud” or “electoral fraud” is. He provides no context on the relative number of votes case since 1982. No, instead be makes it sound that a) there is a real problem, and he just proved it by citing Heritage, and b) therefore Republicans are simply trying to protect the integrity of elections.

Side note: I am 100% in agreement that electoral integrity is important. And if Murdock and others who are concerned about things voter ID and voter registration rolls want to have free and universal ID cards and automatic registration of voters (the best ways to assure key elements of electoral integrity) I am there with them. Let’s do it.

But if “electoral integrity” is code for “making it harder for people to vote” then we have a problem especially when it is unclear that those measures really do much for security and integrity. Nothing being proposed by the GOP would cut down on bribing the homeless with cigarettes to sign ballot initiative petitions in CA, for example (several of the convictions on Heritage’s list are for this crime).

Worse, he asserts at around 4:42 in the linked video from FNC that “The Democrat Party is the part of vote fraud” (and yes, he repeatedly said “Democrat Party”). So, the degree to which this is purely about election integrity and not about partisan politics is more than a bit dubious, let’s say (and yes, partisan politics at CPAC is like gambling in Casablance, so I get that).

His “evidence” was as follows from 2020:

  1. Democrats promoted mass mail-outs of ballots to voters (which he suggests led to ballots being filled out by random persons and submitted).
  2. Democrats supported side-walks drop-off boxes for ballots (which he intimates led to fraud because of lack of supervision).
  3. Democrats sought to relax signature-verification processes (which he asserts led to forged ballots being counted).
  4. Democrats blocked GOP observers from counting rooms.

So, let me note again for emphasis: he took the convictions from the Heritage list of various election-related crimes sans context or definitions and then connected it directly to 2020. His discussion of 2020 was almost entirely innuendo. But, it was all put forth as being of a piece: that there is fraud (because Heritage proved it) and therefore there was fraud on a massive scale in 2020.

Never mind that there is nothing even close to what he alleged about 2020 in the Heritage database. He repeated, for example, the weird story of late-night “dumps” of votes (from cars with out-of-state license plates, of course) and made a number of assertions about what might have happened, but apart from noting affidavits, he cited nothing concrete.

And while it is no surprise, can I just note the utter irresponsibility of continuing to push unsubstantiated lies about the 2020 elections like this to a crowd of activists in light of the Capitol Insurrection?

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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