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“There was no election fraud…”

…unless your candidate of choice doesn’t win, right? Because in 2016, Hillary Clinton blamed Russian interference for her loss of the White House. And in 2018, Stacey Abrams cried foul after she lost her gubernatorial race—and more than two years later still hasn’t conceded. People nodded along and tsk-tsked and said, something must be done about that.

In 2020, after Election Day turned into Election Week, eyebrows were raised yet again by questions of election integrity and fairness in several states. When the dust settled and states began to take a closer look at their election processes, they noticed dangerous loopholes and laxities. But the Left insists election fraud simply doesn’t exist while claiming those who present evidence to the contrary and advocate for reform are a threat to the future of democracy. 

Americans get it, though. Election integrity reform is popular, not partisan—68 percent of all voters support improving election integrity by closing loopholes in election laws that erode trust in the election process.

Whether or not your state experienced voter fraud in 2020 is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, because we aren’t here to debate the validity of the last election.

Rather, we view every election is an opportunity to review and improve, and it’s clear there are still very real problems with election processes across the country that leave the system open to bad actors—and to voters having their vote taken from them. In this first installment of a series of posts debunking the Left’s top myths on election integrity, we’ll discuss one of the most common: Election fraud simply doesn’t exist.  

Pay no attention to the fraud behind the curtain

Here’s just a smattering of fraudulent incidents that occurred during the last election…

In 2016, a study from the Brennan Center claimed that voter fraud “is not a significant problem in the country.” Another recent study claimed it to be “rare.”

To the contrary, there are plenty of examples to show that without reforms to protect voters, loopholes exist for rogue poll workers, unelected bureaucrats, billionaires, and run-of-the-mill bad actors to cheat. One instance of fraud is one too many, and a sign that something has to change.

And when you aren’t confident your vote matters, what’s the point of going to the polls, anyway? Cheating delegitimizes the entire process and dwindles voter participation, ultimately threatening the voice of voters and the fairness of elections.

Let’s look at just a few examples of the loopholes found during the 2020 election cycle: 

  • During the 2020 presidential election, more than 2,500 election offices across the country received grants of varying amounts from the Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL), funded in part by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. They contributed at least $350 million to the initiative so that CTCL could regrant the funds to local election jurisdictions. These grants, or “Zuckerbucks,” were advertised as additional resources to help election jurisdictions “safely serve every voter” amid the COVID-19 public health emergency. But less than one percent of funds were spent on PPE nationwide. In addition to boosting the salaries of election officials, many counties spent the money on get-out-the-vote efforts to boost voter turnout and our research shows that those grant dollars followed Democrats.
  • The 2020 election showed the harmful effects of numerous states not properly maintaining their voter rolls. Even prior to the 2020 election, a lawsuit brought to light that Pennsylvania was not properly maintaining its voter rolls and thousands of potentially deceased voters were still registered to vote. In Nevada, at least 41,000 people had allegedly not voted or made changes to their registration in more than a decade. Like Pennsylvania, many of these Nevadans were likely deceased. This is an especially tenuous predicament when, because of COVID-19, absentee ballots were mailed to every registered voter in the state—living or dead.
  • Absentee voting and voting by mail became even more important during the pandemic. But unfortunately, problems arose because these avenues of casting a ballot were not secured beforehand. Issues with drop boxes and ballot harvesting only served to disenfranchise voters and all but promise they couldn’t be confident that their votes would be counted. For example, in Los Angeles and Boston, several drop boxes were set on fire—resulting in the destruction of ballots. In Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Wisconsin, ballots were found on the side of the road.
  • The term “ballot harvesting” describes the practice of allowing third parties to collect and return voters’ ballots. Ballot harvesting generally involves an operative appearing at a voter’s home, soliciting the voter’s ballot, and returning ballots in bulk to the local election office. In 2018 and 2020, plenty of evidence shows that not only were harvesters paid to collect ballot applications and absentee ballots, but they also reportedly forged witness signatures and even filled in voters’ ballots for them. In Pennsylvania, voters in certain districts received pre-populated absentee ballot applications, many of them with outdated or incorrect information.

Election fraud is real

The Left insists election fraud is nonexistent, but real-life examples say otherwise. Plenty of examples of egregious election fraud like these abound, and without election integrity reforms, cheating will continue to rob voters of their only say in the election of those who represent them.  

In a country built on representative government, wondering whether your ballot will be counted or whether it will be burnt to a crisp by an arsonist, altered by a ballot harvester, or dropped in the ditch, only diminishes confidence in the election process. This is a problem, a big problem, that is neither rare nor irrelevant.

It’s time to take a serious look at the clear and present threats to our election processes and implement reforms to protect voters from those who would rather disenfranchise them than lose an election.

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