Two hundred companies signed off on a letter last week to condemn the new Georgia election bill, which notably requires identification for voter absentee ballots. Among the signees was the founder and CEO of food-delivery service Instacart, Apoorva Mehta.
“We believe every American should have a voice in our democracy and that voting should be safe and accessible to all voters,” the statement said. “There are hundreds of bills threatening to make voting more difficult in dozens of states nationwide. We call on elected leaders in every state capitol and in Congress to work across the aisle and ensure that every eligible American has the freedom to easily cast their ballot and participate fully in our democracy.”
While Instacart joined the group of virtue-signaling executives, the company neglects that it mandates all shoppers who deliver groceries to demonstrate photo and facial identification to participate in the gig economy.
According to the company’s website, “the first thing you’ll need to have on-hand” to become an Instacart shopper is “the details of your driver’s license.” Furthermore, applicants must provide their social security number information to get to the next step of inputting their bank information. Additionally, a shopper must undergo a background check that will take up to 10 business days to be cleared to be a contractor. Even after providing this information, a shopper must center their face on the application and be confirmed to shop on a daily or weekly basis.
Nevertheless, Instacart has seemingly taken issue with a bill that both mandates voter ID for absentee ballots and institutes an 11-day deadline for requesting an absentee before election day. Instacart has placed itself on the side that prefers an “election season,” which Democrats have sought.
The hypocrisy here is only worsened by the fact that the company wishes to make shoppers wait up to 10 days to begin working, while implying in its condemnation of the bill that 11 days is far too short for a contractor to have to request an absentee ballot. Why should there be any window, any background check, or any mandate for its employees to prove ID if Instacart takes issue with a bill to do exactly what it is doing (for something far less consequential)?
In truth, one should need to demonstrate ID to both work at Instacart and vote in an election, but these companies are too beholden to left-wing activists, and thus have lost any shred of credibility to comment on the issues of the day.
Instacart did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Federalist.
On Monday, without comment, the Supreme Court ended the last of the 2020 election cases, rejecting Trump v. Wisconsin Election Commission in a one-line order. It was a quiet ending to a tumultuous election season, but like a football game with a contentious call at the end, the debate over who really won will likely go on much longer.
The courts have always served as a pressure-relief valve on our internal disagreements. From the battle with an unscrupulous car dealer to a nasty divorce that requires discernment over how to split everything from the antique Corvette to the kids, wise judges can help to bring peace and healing. Surely, for a nation reeling after a tempestuous presidential election filled with strange occurrences, the courts were needed to bring us together.
We needed the steady hand of impartial jurists. Most of all, the losing side needed to know that a fair shake was given, and that justice prevailed, even if it wasn’t the outcome they wanted. That did not happen after Nov. 3. Despite a stack of cases that worked their way through the legal system, we remain bitterly divided.
A Rasmussen survey last month found that 61 percent of Republicans say Joe Biden did not win the election fairly. That number hasn’t changed much since early January, when 69 percent of GOP voters voiced the same concern. That 34 percent of all voters and 36 percent of independents agree with them is a strong signal that something went terribly amiss in the maelstrom of election cases.
The election is over. There has been an inauguration. So why did ABC’s George Stephanopoulos feel the need to berate a U.S. senator and his audience with the demand, “Can’t you just say the words: This election was not stolen?” Why must he shout, “There were 86 challenges filed by President Trump and his allies in court. All were dismissed!”
Perhaps, the answer lies in the details of those cases, as much in how they were adjudicated as in the final rulings.
Taking Stock of the 2020 Election Case List
Let’s start with some clarity: The list of more than 80 cases includes both the same cases that were appealed through various courts and many that had no direct tie to the president’s legal team or the Republican Party. In reality, there were 28 unique cases filed across the six contested states by President Trump or others on his behalf.
Twelve were filed in Pennsylvania, six in Georgia, and two or three in each of the other states. Of course, there was also the lawsuit filed by the state of Texas against the state of Pennsylvania that had the potential to change the outcome. So let’s call it 29.
To be sure, that is still a lot of cases. Yet to understand why there is still widespread unease with the election, would it not be better to stop demanding conformity and instead dig deeper to see what the courts told us in those cases, and what they did not? A review of them shows that, contrary to a common narrative, few were ever considered on the merits.
Death by Technicalities
First of all, we can recognize that many of the cases produced no useful information relative to election integrity. We learned nothing from a lawsuit dismissed by a state judge in Georgia (Boland v. Raffensperger) on the basis that the plaintiff had sued an “improper party” rather than hearing the merits of why the ballot rejection rate allegedly dropped from 1.53 percent in 2018 to 0.15 percent in the 2020 general election.
Also, did 20,000 people vote who do not live in the state, when Georgia’s electoral votes were allotted by an approximately 12,000 margin to Biden? We never learned the answers to those questions nor even examined the evidence, because Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was not a candidate for office nor the election superintendent who conducted the election, and therefore per state law, was not liable.
Similarly, a Trump lawsuit in Michigan (Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Benson) alleging state law was violated by the failure to allow access by observers, and seeking to stop counting, was ruled moot since it was not filed until 4:00 p.m. on Nov. 4, after votes were counted. The judge simultaneously relieved the secretary of state of responsibility for any wrongdoing because she had issued guidance requiring admission of credentialed challengers.
So we are left with the memory of the videos of vote counters clapping as Republican observers were evicted and of covers being placed over windows. The judge on this case also said Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson bore no legal responsibility for video monitoring of drop boxes nor of making video from such surveillance available, despite a recently passed law requiring surveillance of all drop boxes installed after Oct. 1.
A lawsuit in Pennsylvania, Metcalfe v. Wolf, claimed “approximately 144,000 to 288,000 completed mail-in and/or absentee ballots” in Pennsylvania may have been illegal based on testimony from a U.S. Postal Service contractor. The contractor said he was hired to haul a truck of what he believed to be this many completed mail-in ballots from New York to Pennsylvania. The complaint also alleged there was “evidence” of ballots that were backdated at a postal facility in Erie.
The judge tossed it since the state’s Election Code required their request to be filed within 20 days of the alleged violation, which was Nov. 23. They filed Dec. 4. We’ll never know if that truck brought in pallets of completed ballots—an amount sufficient to overturn the state’s Electoral College vote.
In Wisconsin, the Trump v. Evers suit alleged that violations of state election law had occurred in Milwaukee and Dane Counties as municipal clerks issued absentee ballots without the required written application, that they illegally completed missing info on ballots, that absentee ballots were wrongly cast by voters claiming “Indefinite Confinement” status (and for which no ID was provided), and that Madison’s “Democracy in the Park” event violated election laws.
A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court refused to hear the lawsuit, sidestepping a decision on the merits of the claims and instead ruling the case must first wind its way through lower courts—an effective death sentence given the timing.
Absurdities: When ‘Shall’ Doesn’t Mean Shall
At times, judges resorted to Clintonian wordsmithing to relieve a word of its recognized meaning. A state Supreme Court judge in Pennsylvania was tasked with reviewing the eligibility of 2,349 mail-in ballots that were purportedly defective according to the state Election Code (Ziccarelli v. Allegheny County Board of Elections).
In the court’s decision, he noted “We agree with the Campaign’s observation that…the General Assembly set forth the requirements for how a qualified elector may cast a valid absentee or mail-in ballot … We further agree that these sections of the Election Code specifically provide that each voter ‘shall (emphasis added) fill out, date, and sign’ the declaration on the outside envelope. We do not agree with the Campaign’s contention, however, that because the General Assembly used the word ‘shall’ in this context, it is of necessity that the directive is a mandatory one …”
Indeed. Why even write laws? Perhaps the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would feel differently if their rulings were subjected to such an open interpretation.
A federal lawsuit in the same state (Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Boockvar) included a claim that some Democrat counties implemented a “notice and cure” policy, allowing defective ballots to be fixed and counted, while Republican counties did not, thereby creating an equal protection issue.
The judge found that two individual plaintiffs had indeed been harmed by the denial of their votes, but that they lacked standing since the defendant (Democrat) counties “had nothing to do with the denial of Individual Plaintiff’s ability to vote” as their “ballots were rejected by Lancaster and Fayette [Republican] Counties, neither of which is a party to this case.”
So the judge effectively created a legal “Catch 22” in which one must show direct harm from an unrelated party in order to prevail. Logically, under this standard, no equal protection claim could ever be substantiated.
In a Nov. 5 filing (Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. v. Philadelphia County Board of Elections), Republicans alleged that the Philadelphia County Board was “intentionally refusing to allow any representatives and poll watchers for President Trump and the Republican Party … [and] continuing to count ballots, without any observation” by Republican poll watchers. The Commonwealth Court agreed on appeal that observers be allowed within six feet of vote counting while complying with COVID-19 protocols.
However, the state Supreme Court reversed that ruling, finding that the Election Code allows the board to make rules “for protecting its workers’ safety from COVID-19 and physical assault,” and that the only requirement is that “one authorized representative of each candidate in an election and one representative from each political party shall be permitted to remain in the room”— not necessarily within close-enough range to observe vote-counting (emphasis original in court decision). So what is the point of an observer who cannot observe anything?
In the case of Ward v. Jackson et al. in Arizona, an issue over election observers was ruled as “untimely” since “the observation procedures for the November general election were materially the same as for the August primary election, and any objection to them should have been brought at a time when any legal deficiencies could have been cured.” Lacking in that statement was an explanation as to why any Republican observers would have been needed in a Democrat-only party primary.
Judicial Blindness: See No Evil
In the same lawsuit (Ward v. Jackson et al.) the judge also rejected a claim of improper signature verification after allowing a review of 100 sample ballots. Plaintiff and defense experts found 6 and 11 percent of signatures, respectively, to be “inconclusive.”
On the same page of his opinion, the judge noted that out of the total 1.9 million mail-in ballots, only approximately 20,000 had been identified as having a signature issue, or 1 percent. There was no explanation as to why poll workers found six times fewer issues with signatures. The math would suggest either a bias to accept, despite signature issues, or that the sample examined was statistically invalid.
Further mystifying, he wrote that “there is no evidence that the manner in which signatures were reviewed was designed to benefit one candidate or another.” But surely fraud can easily benefit the offender alone, even with use of a uniform vote-count procedure. Fill out 1,000 ballots consisting of 500 for Trump and 500 for Biden, then mix in 100 more that are fraudulent for Biden and count them using any method. Who wins? It’s not a hard possibility to imagine, but the judge ignored it.
Importantly, the judge noted at the outset that “the Plaintiff in an election contest has a high burden of proof and the actions of election officials are presumed to be free from fraud and misconduct.” It’s a fair statement of the law. It’s also an indication of the difficulty in prevailing, even when issues exist. Every case across the nation was evaluated under a similar high hurdle, with the status quo treated as sacrosanct.
Too Early and Too Late
Republicans also often found themselves in an impossible “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation on the timing of challenges to election laws.
In Georgia Republican Party, Inc. et al. v. Raffensperger et al, candidates Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue sued prior to their U.S. Senate run-offs, alleging harm would occur from unconstitutional election procedures. Their counsel noted (on appeal) that the court “dismissed the case for lack of standing, reasoning that ‘the Supreme Court instructs that a theory of future injury is too speculative to satisfy the well-established requirement that threatened injury must be certainly impending.’” Filed too early.
In the same state, a federal judge dismissed Sidney Powell’s lawsuit (Pearson v. Kemp), in part citing that it was filed too late—it should have been filed before the election. As another example, in Trump v. Wisconsin Elections Commission, a judge dismissed the president’s suit saying it involved “issues he plainly could have raised before the vote occurred.”
Together, it demonstrated the hurdle that many election cases faced—denied before the election as “speculative,” or afterward as too late.
The Clock Ran Out: January 6
Several lawsuits were resolved not by a weighing of merits, but as a practical consequence of the electoral vote on Jan. 6 that certified Biden as the winner of the presidency.
Trump had filed suit on Dec. 4 in Georgia (Trump v. Raffensperger) alleging violations of state election law and the inclusion of specific ineligible votes: 66,247 underage votes, 2,423 persons not registered, 15,700 who had changed address, 1,043 who illegally listed a P.O. box address as their address, 8,718 who died prior to their votes being cast, 92 absentee ballots counted prior to the date those voters requested a ballot, 217 ballots shown as applied for and sent out and received on the same day, and 2,560 votes from felons with uncompleted sentences. These were significant numbers in an election that was decided by fewer than 12,000 votes.
The suit had also noted that 305,701 had applied for an absentee ballot more than 180 days prior to election, thereby violating state law.
The suit had also noted that 305,701 had applied for an absentee ballot more than 180 days prior to election, thereby violating state law. Importantly, it also took issue with the secretary of state’s Consent Decree with Democrats, which allowed signature matching on envelopes and applications, but not versus registration rolls. And it cited the low 0.34 percent rejection rate of mail-in ballots, a tenth of the rate of prior elections, despite a six-fold increase in number of such ballots cast.
The suit was withdrawn on Jan. 7, with none of the issues resolved, the day after Congress met and the matter was rendered moot.
Another Georgia suit (Still v. Raffensperger) alleged that Coffee County Board had been unable to replicate electronic recount results, and that the error was sufficient to put the outcome of that county in doubt, with a potentially similar issue in others across the state. It noted that Raffensperger had forced an arbitrary Dec. 4 deadline to certify the results despite the county’s letter of the same date saying the results “should not be used.”
The legal battle continued, and the state’s counsel eventually demanded in a Jan. 3 letter that all lawsuits against Kemp, Raffensperger, and the State Elections Board be dropped in order to “cooperatively share information.” Otherwise, they would remain in a “litigation posture”—quite a telling comment. Why was cooperation ever resisted?
Trump’s counsel accepted the offer of dismissal to get information they had requested, but it came as the timeframe to use it ended on Jan. 6. The suit was withdrawn on Jan. 7.
The Supreme Court Punted
The nation’s highest court showed some early inclination for involvement in the brewing election issues, such as Justice Samuel Alito’s order to separate certain late ballots in Pennsylvania in Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. Boockvar. Yet it soon took a different tone. A petition to expedite a hearing was denied and later the court refused the case.
The court could have held these claims up to the objective light of justice, and either exposed it all as painfully true or wildly false, but it didn’t.
In Kelly v. Pennsylvania, Rep. Mike Kelly claimed that the recently enacted Act 77 to expand mail-in balloting violated the state constitution, as amended in 1967, that “allowed for absentee ballots to be cast in the four (4) exclusive circumstances authorized under Article VII, Section 14.”
He also noted that “the legislature first recognized their constitutional constraints and the need to amend the constitution in order to enact mail-in voting, sought to amend the constitution to lawfully allow for the legislation they intended to pass, and subsequently abandoned their efforts to comply with the constitution and instead enacted Act 77 irrespective of their actual knowledge that they lacked the legal authority to do so unless and until the proposed constitutional amendment was ratified by approval of a majority of the electors …”
A Commonwealth Court judge agreed on Nov. 25 and ordered that any action to certify the election be stopped, pending an evidentiary hearing two days later. However, on Nov. 28, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania reversed that decision, saying the “Petitioners sought to invalidate the ballots of the millions of Pennsylvania voters who utilized the mail-in voting procedures established by Act 77 and count only those ballots that Petitioners deem to be ‘legal votes.’”
Yes, that is exactly what the plaintiffs sought—the counting of only legal votes. But again, like many other courts, this one relied on a philosophy that excluding any ballots would disenfranchise voters. So they set aside the state constitution for their own preference.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to expedite an appeal on this case when it would have mattered, then recently refused to hear it at all, a decision Justice Clarence Thomas called “inexplicable” in his dissent.
The Supreme Court also refused to hear any of Sidney Powell’s cases—in Arizona, Wisconsin, and Michigan—and in doing so, deprived Americans of the chance to hear evidence for and against very serious claims that electronic voting machines could be manipulated. Of all of the allegations, perhaps none more so instilled fear into voters as the possibility that our votes could be tampered with and changed, thwarting democracy itself.
Did the machines really show decimal totals for votes rather than integers? Were they designed to flip votes, and in such a way that no audit could trace it? Were these machines connected to the internet on election night, and did data show that foreign actors accessed it? Voters will never know. The court could have held these claims up to the objective light of justice, and either exposed it all as painfully true or wildly false, but it didn’t.
When most needed, the court that once took the time to render a decision on whether a tomato is a fruit or vegetable chose to punt on each of the key presidential election cases. American voters are worse off for it as confidence in elections erodes.
President Trump always had a very uphill climb to prevail. This wasn’t a one-state battle as in the George W. Bush versus Al Gore contest. Trump was effectively required to play six-dimensional chess, in six states, all in the span of a few months.
Trump was effectively required to play six-dimensional chess, in six states, all in the span of a few months.
As Andy McCarthy noted, “a brutally tight time frame took effect [upon contesting the election], imposed by state and federal deadlines. It is a drastic departure from the normal litigation pace of investigation, legal research, and the formulation of cognizable claims.” Indeed, it was a nearly impossible task. It was even harder when Trump’s attorneys were influenced and threatened.
In the end, should we be surprised that voters retain a strong sense of skepticism over the outcome of the presidential election? That a man who largely campaigned from his basement, who exhibited signs of age-related mental decline, could handily defeat a vigorous incumbent who drew immense crowds is naturally hard to believe.
The election of 2020, which included more than 155 million votes, was decided by approximately 300,000 votes in six states, or 0.2 percent of the electorate, all of which came by an unnatural flip of results late on election night. Despite judges’ repeated hand-wringing that any court action would disenfranchise millions of voters, the reality is that millions of others may have been disenfranchised, and they instinctively suspect so.
The one thing many voters seem to have learned through the legal chaos is that it’s easier to commit election violations than to stop them. So the electorate remains divided—even after “86 election cases.”
The final battle of the 2020 elections—the two senatorial runoff elections in Georgia—comes to a close on January 5.And yet as we shall see, the Democrats’ patient preparations for the battle have been going on for years.
An indication of the work that’s been done came on December 18, when Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee for governor in 2018, tweeted that a record total of 7.7 million Georgians were now registered to vote.Abrams made no mention as to how those folks, especially new registrants, might be inclined to vote—and Georgia doesn’t register by party—and yet she credited a variety of Democratic and left-wing groups for the registration surge, including the New Georgia Project, Black Voters Matter, and the Georgia chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Interestingly, since October 5, 76,000 new Georgia voters have been registered. These new voters were not eligible to vote on November 3, but they will be eligible to vote on January 5. And of these newbies, more than half are under the age of 35. For perspective, Joe Biden, who carried the national youth vote handily, won Georgia by 11,779 votes.
As Breitbart News reported on the 18th, Abrams told CNN, “1.2 million absentee ballots have been requested thus far, and just to put that into context, 1.3 million were requested for all of the general election”—that is, absentee balloting for the January 5 runoff has already nearly exceeded absentee balloting for the November 3 election. And just on December 24, she tweeted:
57,429 Georgians who already cast a ballot in the Jan 5 runoffs did not vote at all in the presidential election. Half or more are people of color. Thanks to all who registered fellow Georgians and to all who are mobilizing voters.
Then on the 28th, Abrams, who seems to have a standing invitation to appear on CNN whenever she wishes, used her appearance on the cable channel to raise the specter of “voter suppression”–which Republicans interpret as one more tool that Democratic pols use to drive Democratic turnout.
And on January 1, Georgia authorities announced that early voting had hit three million. As the Atlanta Journal-Constitutionreported, turnout in mostly White rural areas was lagging; Meanwhile, Black voters, who generally support Democrats, made up a higher portion of voters so far than in the presidential election.
We can plainly see, of course, that Abrams is focusing on Democratic voters—with an eye to not only the upcoming elections this month, but the midterm elections in 2022, when it’s expected that Abrams will make another run for governor.
Abrams lost her bid for the governorship in 2018, and thereafter, in the eyes of some, she became a figure of ridicule over her refusal to ever concede that she had lost; in the meantime, she continued to focus—and fundraise—on voter registration and turnout. For instance, back on May 29, 2019, Karl Rove wrote in the Wall Street Journal:
Like P.T. Barnum, Ms. Abrams puts on an entertaining show that’s richly rewarding—for herself.She creates nonprofits with noble-sounding names, hires herself, and fills the payroll with campaign staffers who enjoy paychecks between elections.Before the 2018 contest, her perch was a voter-registration group called New Georgia Project. Now she has two nonprofits.One is Fair Fight, which files lawsuits and attacks Gov. [Brian] Kemp.The other is Fair Count, which encourages her supporters in Georgia to fill out census questionnaires. But she gave away their real purpose, explaining: “We can win this fight long-term by changing the structure of power.”That means putting her in office.
In fact, Abrams is, indeed, all about “changing the structure of power.” And whether or not she herself ever gains office, she has had an effect on statewide politics: Underneath the optics of her electoral defeat have been the tectonics of her drive to register more voters.
Democratic Senate candidate Raphael Warnock bumps elbows with Stacey Abrams during a campaign rally with U.S. President-elect Joe Biden at Pullman Yard on December 15, 2020, in Atlanta, Georgia (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
To illustrate her impact, we might recall that back in 2014, the Democratic nominee in the Georgia gubernatorial race received 1.144 million votes.In 2018, Abrams, as the nominee herself, received 1.923 million votes—a nearly 69 percent increase.Of course, she still lost that race, and yet she cut the GOP victory margin from more than 200,000 votes in 2014 to barely more than 50,000 votes in 2018.
Moreover, in 2020, the numbers showed outright success for the Democrats.Turnout for Democrat Joe Biden surged nearly 32 percent, compared to Hillary Clinton’s vote in 2016, while in the meantime, turnout in 2020 for the Republican nominee in both years, Donald Trump, rose less than 18 percent.Thus Biden carried the Peach State, and, of course, the Republican senatorial candidates, both incumbents, were forced into runoffs.
In the wake of this year’s voting, Abrams has been getting more respect.Typical of the new tone was this headline in the November 6 Financial Times: “Stacey Abrams credited for mobilizing black voters in Georgia.”The newspaper quoted an Abrams lieutenant, LaTosha Brown, founder of the Black Voters Matter Fund, saying that the election results were the culmination of years of organizing:
We know our community.It’s going to take the churches, it’s going to take the civic groups, it’s going to take the activists, it’s going to take the organizers, it’s going to take the businesses.We’ve shown that when you invest in people on the ground, these are the results that you get.
Of course, it’s always an interesting question as to who exactly is paying for all of this activism, and we’ll get to that later.Yet for the moment, suffice it to say that Democrats in Georgia are playing a strong game.That is, before the ballots are counted, they are ginning up the total of potential ballot-casters.
(Some will ask, of course, Is fraud involved in running up these numbers?And the answer is that, as we’ve been reminded these past few weeks, fraud is easier to allege than to prove—and furthermore, to have any effect, fraud allegations must be proven.And the adducing of proof represents its own kind of patient and careful challenge.)
In the meantime, the Democrats’ strategy seems to be bearing fruit: This was the lead headline in Politico on December 30: “Strong early-vote turnout gives Dems hope in Georgia runoffs: Democrats are encouraged by stats that show their voters are overperforming with early voting set to conclude later this week.” As the article detailed, some 2.3 million Georgians had already voted–a record total. And while we won’t know for sure which candidates are getting the benefit of this turnout till we know the election results, Abrams and her allies are obviously targeting Democratic voters.
So for now, let’s borrow a phrase from the military: Georgia Democrats are “shaping the battlefield.” That is, they have been thinking ahead and have been setting the terms by which elections will be waged. And the shaping is all about turnout. We can recall that in the run-up to the November 3 balloting, judges and others were changing the rules on voting–typically, extending voting deadlines. In the meantime, Democratic governors were doing things like issuing executive orders to mandate mailed ballots. These actions, typically without the consent of a legislature, were also efforts to shape the political battlefield.
As for the upcoming balloting in Georgia, we should stipulate that such shaping does not guarantee that Democrats will win one or both of the runoff elections, but careful anticipation of the fight does mean that they are setting the tempo of the political combat: It’s all about who can convert latent votes into actual votes.
In other words, this shaping of the battlefield is about plans made in advance of the actual battling.
Sun Tzu’s Wisdom and the Peach State
Some 2,500 years ago, the value of premeditation in advance of the fight was argued by the Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu, writing in his classic treatise, The Art of War:
Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.
Sun Tzu is saying, Winners make the plan first, and then start fighting.Losers start fighting, and then seek a plan–but by then it’s too late.
Sun Tzu’s advice makes obvious sense, and yet at the same time, we can see that it’s hard to apply it in practice. After all, in peacetime, the temptation is to avoid thinking about war–after all, it’s an unpleasant subject Yet Sun Tzu insists that the wise general must always be thinking about war, and planning for victory.
In this vein, we might think of the British poet A.E. Housman, who, having lived through World War One, was a gloomy realist. In one of his poems, he contrasted himself to those who thoughts were “light and fleeting.” By contrast, Housman wrote of himself, “Mine were of trouble/and mine were steady/ so I was ready/When trouble came.”
Sun Tzu would second Housman’s point: Be ready when trouble comes. When the trouble does start, “the fog of war” sets in–that is, the inevitable confusion that comes from swirling events amidst violence. In the heat of battle, it’s planning in advance–including planning for more firepower–that makes for victory.
And the same is true with campaigns: The strategist can never know what crazy thing will happen on the campaign trail, and so that’s all the more reason to identify loyal voters and mobilize them to the polls, so that the ups and downs of the spin cycle don’t matter as much. We can see: Get Out the Vote, if done right, matters more than Twitter.
Recently, Sun Tzu’s ancient wisdom was restated by Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, the No. 3 Democrat in the House.As the New York Timesreported on January 24, 2019, just after the Democrats had recaptured the House in the 2018 midterms, Clyburn was feeling martially philosophical at a private meeting of House Democrats.Here’s how the Times set the scene when Clyburn introduced Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who had just reclaimed the speaker’s gavel:
“Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win,” Mr. Clyburn said.Turning to Ms. Pelosi, he said, “Thank you for winning for us.Now let’s go to war.”
Proper planning for victory is never easy, but it’s always essential.And as we shall see, the Democrats are good at both planning and shaping.
Big Data + Big Money = Democratic Victories in California
For decades now, Democrats have been using their not-so-secret weapon, Silicon Valley, to affect elections by deploying their advantages with tech and techies to shape the political battlefield. Their key is to win before they start fighting—and one way to win in advance is by drawing the lines in their favor.
Back in 1981, this Democratic edge became shockingly clear in California, when, in the wake of the decennial census, Democrats redistricted the Golden State to stunning partisan advantage.Yes, clever redistricting is is an old process—reaching back to an early 19th century Massachusetts politician, Elbridge Gerry, who gave his name to the line-sculpting art of “gerrymandering.”In that same spirit, in the 20th century, California Democrats used computers to help them gerrymander legislative districts in ways that had never been done before, thereby optimizing Democratic strength and minimizing Republican strength.
The results in California were dramatic. After the 1980 Congressional elections in that state, Democrats had held 22 House seats, while Republicans held 21—very close. And yet after the 1982 elections, using the slick new technique that we might dub “data-mandering,” Democrats held 28 House seats, while the GOP held just 17.
Since then, both parties have become adept at using big data to help with gerrymandering, resulting in grotesquely spidery districts across the nation; in 2014, a Washington Post reporter labeled the whole geeked-up process as “crimes against geography.”
Yet in addition to gerrymandering, newer kinds of computer-tech have been applied to politics. We’re probably all familiar with computer-driven microtargeting, which seeks to pinpoint each voter and entice his or her vote, based on personal information derived from available data sets. Once again, both parties eagerly engage in this process, and, interestingly enough, for a brief time, in the early 2000s, it seemed that the Republican Party had the microtargeting advantage.
Yet then the Democrats regained their advantage in tech-driven politics.One hinge moment came in 2008, when Facebook inadvertently allowed its “social graph”—that is, the data on its many users—to be tapped by Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.The partisan value of this tapping was little understood at the time, and it seems that Facebook, too, was caught by surprise.And yet the result of this ill-gotten data trove was an incalculable windfall for the Democrats. Then, in 2012, Facebook alums, joined by other Silicon Valleyites, made up Obama’s reelection campaign tech “dream team.”
More recently in California, the state government itself seems to have gotten into the game.Back in August, the Sacramento Beereported that the state’s secretary of state, Alex Padilla, had allocated $35 million for a political consulting firm,SKD Knickerbocker, to craft a campaign for “Vote Safe California”—a new program, the goal of which was to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to the impacts of COVID-19 on the election and provide associated voter education and outreach.”
Interestingly enough, the company leans heavily toward the Democrats.As the Bee reported:
The firm is run by CEO Josh Isay, who ran Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer’s 1998 campaign.Other notable employees include former Obama communications official Anita Dunn and Hillary Rosen, a longtime media figure who also worked with California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.On its site, the firm lists itself as supportive of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, saying it is “proud to be a part of Team Biden.”
Okay, we get the picture.
More recently, on December 2, the Bee reported that the firm has invoiced the state for $34,221,672.17.Interestingly, it seems that Padilla and the secretary of state’s office might have gotten a little ahead of themselves in signing the deal; there’s now a question as to whether the state is even allowed to make the payment.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla speaks during a news conference on May 24, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
For its part, SDK Knickerbocker said it is “confident” that the secretary of state’s office “will make payment to us for the full amount owed under the contract.”Indeed, it’s hard to believe that the Democratic firm will walk away empty-handed.
In the meantime, on December 22, California governor Gavin Newsom named Padilla to be the Golden State’s new U.S. senator, replacing Kamala Harris.
Okay, so there’s plenty of political battlefield-sharing going on everywhere. Nevertheless, the hottest news on political battlefield-shaping is coming from Georgia.
Centers for Democratic Voting?
Two recent reports suggest more ways by which big money is shaping the political battlefield, in the Peach State and elsewhere.
The first report, dated November 27 and titled, “Georgia Election Officials, a Billionaire, and the ‘Nonpartisan’ Center for Tech and Civic Life,” comes from the Capital Research Center (CRC), a well-known right-of-center investigative organization.CRC president Scott Walter takes note of a $350 million donation from Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, to the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL); Walter speculates that the money may have been used to improperly affect the voting in Georgia.
According to Walter, the possible infraction is subtle in its design—and yet, at the same time, profound in its effect: Walter suggests that CTCL specifically targeted Democratic areas in Georgia, and elsewhere, for preferential help in voting, thereby generating more votes for Democrats.As Walter puts it, CTLC “re-granted [Zuckerberg’s] funds to thousands of governmental election officials around the country to ‘help’ them conduct the 2020 election.”
Summarizing CTCL’s efforts, Walter declares, “The picture is notably partisan.” He identifies 33 strongly pro-Biden counties in Georgia (out of 159) and finds that those 33 received the bulk of CTCL’s grants.As of now, his findings are preliminary assessments, nothing more, although they beg for a closer forensic investigation.Walter concludes:
Whether or not CTCL has crossed a legal line, the starkly partisan outcomes from its giving in the Peach State should lead the appropriate authorities in Georgia and Washington, DC, to determine just what has happened. Not only should CTCL be investigated for its adherence to nonprofit law, but the local election officials should also be asked many questions on their role.
Among the unanswered questions Walter poses: What methodology was used to determine CTCL grants?Which staff members were deployed?How were they recruited?What training did they receive? And so on.
All this is even more interesting, because CTCL is an avowedly nonpolitical operation: In fact, by law, it has to be nonpolitical, since it is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and tax-exempt charities can’t play politics.Of course, in the meantime, donations to CTCL are tax-deductible, and forhigh-tax-bracket donors, that’s quite a benefit.
We should stipulate, to be sure, that Walter is a private investigator; he is not a prosecutor, let alone a judge or a jury.In other words, much remains to be known.
Yet in the meantime, we know this much for sure: The Zuckerberg-Chan donation made a huge difference to CTCL.According to Ballotpedia, in 2018, the most recent year for which data are available, the group enjoyed a total revenue of just $1.4 million—from givers including Google, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Rock the Vote, and the Women Donors Network. So Zuckerberg-Chan’s $350 million gift represented a 250-fold increase in the group’s fiscal strength.
Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg attend the 2020 Breakthrough Prize Red Carpet on November 03, 2019, in Mountain View, California. (Ian Tuttle/Getty Images)
So what else is there to know about CTCL? Well, for further perspective, its founder and executive director is one Tiana Epps-Johnson, who has worked in various left-wing organizations and received various left-wing honors, including a year as an Obama Foundation Fellow.And at CTCL, she’s hardly alone in her left-leaning beliefs.
The second report, dated December 14, from J.R. Carlson for the Amistad Project of the Thomas More Society, has already been covered by Breitbart News’s Michael Patrick Leahy, under the headline, “Report: Mark Zuckerberg’s $419 Million Non-Profit Contributions ‘Improperly Influenced 2020 Presidential Election.’”
As Leahy noted, this second report identified yet another group, the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR), that also deserves scrutiny: It seems that CEIR received $69.5 million from Zuckerberg and Chan.And all that money—$419.5 million, total—according to Carlson and the Amistad Project, seems to have “improperly influence[d] the 2020 presidential election on behalf of one particular candidate and party” by creating “a two-tiered election system that treated voters differently depending on whether they lived in Democrat or Republican strongholds.”
We might add that Breitbart News has published three other articles on all this supposedly nonpartisan money—sample title: “The Greatest Electoral Heist in American History”—raising still more questions about these outfits’ activities.
To be sure, these are only allegations, and they will no doubt be further investigated—unless, of course, the Democrats win both Senate seats in Georgia, in which case, having regained their chairmanships, they will likely shut down any possible investigations.(And we shouldn’t expect much curiosity from Joe Biden’s Justice Department.)
Yet even as we hope that the fact-pattern can be established, we can already see this much: The Democrats have invested a lot of time, money, and computer-smarts into shaping the political battlefield—and it has paid off.
Republicans will have to catch up.Or else.
In any election year, anything to do with voting and vote-counting is of intense interest.And yet in 2020, we were reminded that even minute changes in vote totals can swing a state—and so swing the nation.This past November, a shift of only 33,000 votes—distributed across Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Nebraska’s Second Congressional District—would have given Donald Trump 270 electoral votes, enough for him to win a clear reelection.
This electoral factoid is worth remembering, because it helps us to appreciate the enormous political value of precise vote-targeting.Such targeting is indeed a part of political battlefield-shaping. If a campaign, or a political party, has the right plan, it’s often possible to eke out a victory, even if circumstances are otherwise unfavorable.
The key is information—and then knowing what to do with it.As they say, “knowledge is power.”And Sun Tzu would add, knowledge is victory.
Nearly 2.1 million Georgians have cast their votes through early in-person voting or absentee voting for the Georgia Senate runoff election taking place January 5, according to data provided by the state on Thursday.
The number represents more than a quarter of the state’s 7.7 million registered voters, and, as measured by the Georgia Votes tracking website, it trails the turnout at this point in the November 3 general election by just seven percent, or about 148,000 votes.
Of the 2.1 million votes accepted thus far, 1.3 million were cast via early in-person voting, which began December 14, and the remaining approximately 722,000 were cast via mailed-in ballots.
In the general election, a record-breaking five million votes were cast overall, and four million of those were done early.
Voter turnout is expected to again be high for the runoffs as they will determine the balance of power in the Senate. The Democrat candidates, Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock, need dual victories over Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler for Republicans to lose their Senate majority.
Big-name surrogates from both parties have been flocking the state to campaign for their respective candidates, emphasizing to constituents the high stakes of the election and imploring Georgians to participate in voting.
President Donald Trump rallied in the state on December 5, telling a crowd of thousands that the upcoming race was “the most important congressional runoff probably in American history.” Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump echoed their father’s words during their own rallies later in the month, and Vice President Mike Pence, likewise, has made multiple stops in the Peach State to urge Republicans to vote.
Both President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris also made appearances in Georgia this month, campaigning at drive-in rallies for the Democrat candidates. Biden, who was joined at his rally by Democrat Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and activist Stacey Abrams, told attendees listening from their cars, “Send me these two men, and we will control the Senate, and we will change the lives of the people in Georgia.”
Biden narrowly defeated Trump in the historically red state by about 12,000 votes, although Trump still has a lawsuit pending with Fulton County Superior Court alleging mass voter fraud occurred in the election.
An analysis of note, given the state’s contentious battleground status, comes from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which found that nearly 76,000 new voters registered in Georgia after the October 5 general election deadline but before the December 7 runoff deadline. They represent individuals who have just moved to the state or just turned 18 — none have voted in the state before and all are now on the voter rolls and eligible to vote in the runoffs.
Early in-person voting will continue through December 30, and a select few polling locations will stay open through December 31. Voters can request absentee ballots through January 1, but ballots must be mailed in and received by the state’s 7:00 p.m. deadline on January 5.
Democrats spent 2020 insisting they would not only win the presidency in a landslide but ride a “blue wave” through Congress. If they were truly that confident Joe Biden could become leader of the world through Zoom calls from his basement, then why did Democrats blanket the country with millions of dollars to alter election processes in ways that are known to substantially increase errors and fraud to within election-tipping margins?
Democrats’ allies in big tech rigged search results and online conversations to hide news harmful to Biden. Their allies in big media refused to report on stories harmful to Biden or to ask him difficult questions. An election-overturning number of Biden voters say they would not have supported him had they been better informed of stories big tech banned and corporate media panned.
And then there is 2020’s stampede into mass mail-in voting under the guise of COVID. Mail-in voting increases fraud and error rates to within election-winning margins, as well as the ability to manipulate election outcomes by contesting ballots.
No one can blame voters for being confused before, during, or after the election. It was confusing. It is confusing. Democrats filed the lawsuits that caused the uncertainty, decided they would simply declare victory amid the ongoing chaos they deliberately created, and let media and courts seal the steal. It worked perfectly — except that the election was so unexpectedly close, people noticed.
Research: Mail-In Means More Errors than In-Person
Democrats used COVID as an excuse to ram through many long-desired weaker voting processes, to the point that an estimated80 million Americans voted by mail in fall 2020. (Only estimates are available currently, Claire DeSoi, a spokeswoman for the MIT Election Data and Science Lab, told me in an email.) That’s approximately half of the 2020 presidential election’s estimated 160 million votes.
In 2016, approximately 24 percent of votes were cast by mail, according to federal data. That means mail-in voting approximately doubled between 2016 and 2020 as a percent of vote share. It likely more than doubled as a proportion of vote totals due to 2020’s higher turnout. By any measure, 2020 saw an enormous expansion of mail-in voting.
That represents a problem for election integrity, because mail-in necessarily includes much higher error rates and opportunities for fraud than in-person votes. It can’t help but do that. Too many more things can go wrong with a mail-in vote than an in-person one, as studies invariably point out.
“Voting by mail lacks the protections that voting in person provides,” summarizes Texas Public Policy Foundation vice president Chuck DeVore in a September 2020 study. “The ballot can get lost; no voter identification is required; and the ballot is vulnerable to fraud, voter intimidation, or deception.”
A September 2020 article published in the Election Law Journal explains how mail-in significantly increases the potential for disqualifying errors: “From requesting and then receiving a ballot, to correctly filling it out, to placing the completed ballot in a secrecy envelope that is then inserted into an official return envelope, to filling out and signing a voter’s certificate (or even having a witness sign) on the back of a return envelope, there are multiple ways a mail ballot may leak out of the ‘voting pipeline.’”
The Increased Fraud Possibilities Are Real
None of these expanded opportunities for error exist for in-person voting. Neither do mail delays or failures, which have contributed to the 28 million U.S. ballots that have gone missing between 2012 and 2018. For November 2020, 92 million voters requested a mail-in ballot and an estimated 26 million did not return one of these by Nov. 6, according to the U.S. Elections Project. Where that 26 million went, nobody knows.
What is known is that millions of unused mail-in ballots laying about make either overt fraud or fraudulent manipulation of votes more possible and therefore likely. One-hundred-dollar bills are safer in a bank than on a sidewalk. So are ballots. One fraud-ripe process that stems from mass mail-in balloting is vote-harvesting, which California recently legalized.
Vote harvesting is when (often paid) political operatives go door to door collecting ballots. This can influence elections not only by allowing more possibilities for outright fraud by ballot-stuffing, tossing, altering, influencing voters, and other manipulation, but also by giving political factions power to increase their vote tallies if they simply have more money to collect votes than the other team does.
Vote harvesting is driven by political actors realizing, “If there’s so many ballots out there in the wind unaccounted for by election officials, surely some manpower could be dedicated to go bring them in,” Public Interest Legal Foundation spokesman Logan Churchwell told RealClearPolitics’s Mark Hemingway in April.
“To illustrate the risk, Churchwell notes that in 2016 Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by garnering over 2.8 million more votes than Donald Trump,” Hemingway writes. “But nearly 6 million unaccounted mail-in ballots were never counted in 2016, more than twice her margin in the popular vote. The potential to affect elections by chasing down unused mail-in ballots and make sure they get counted – using methods that may or may not be legal – is great.”
Since by nature criminal activity is secret and much of it never uncovered, “We have no systematic measures of fraud,” notes a 2008 Massachusetts Institute of Technology report about election integrity, “but fraud appears to be especially difficult to regulate in absentee systems. In-precinct voting or ‘kiosk’ voting is observable. Absentee voting is not.”
While in 2020 Democrats and the media have openly scoffed at the idea that any fraud ever happens in elections — CNN’s running video Wednesday called the very idea “the vote fraud myth” — fraud not only happens, it has been institutionalized at different points in American history and in different locations. The Federalist has documented numerous widespread instances of 2020 vote fraud, including in Nevada, Arizona and Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, and Michigan (again).
“The U.S. historically has had problems of largescale fraud. Machine politics in the nineteenth century involved coordinated, large-scale activities to alter vote tallies, to cast illegal votes, and to destroy ballots,” the MIT study says. “Such coordinated activities could alter thousands of ballots. Small-scale fraud is also a concern in close elections,” it continues, before identifying “two broad types of security problems” with mail-in systems: “manipulation of voters and tampering with the recording of votes and counting mechanisms.”
Fraud or Error? Mail-In Amps Election Worker Influence
The Election Law Journal authors note mail-in dramatically increases possibilities for ballot-influencing by election officials, either purposefully or accidentally: “potentially thousands of local election officials have the opportunity to exercise discretion when determining whether a signature on an VBM ballot envelope should be accepted or rejected.” The study noted that ballot-rejection rates can vary widely within a state, affecting the Equal Protection constitutional concerns at the heart of the Trump campaign’s lawsuit in Pennsylvania.
That study also found first-time mail-in votes have average rejection rates of more than 3 percent due to errors like missing secrecy envelopes and signature mismatches. More than 4 percent of military absentee ballots were rejected in Florida in 2018.
Studies also find vote cancellations by local officials are especially heightened when voters haven’t done mail-in before, precisely what happened this year. An October 2020 study examined Florida voters in recent elections. The authors calculated that, “Roughly speaking, voters inexperienced with mail voting are close to three times as likely to cast a rejected ballot than are voters who are experienced with this form of voting” (emphasis added).
That never happens when people vote in person, the authors note: “There is simply no such thing as a regular ballot cast in person by an eligible voter that is later rejected.” Rejection rates of mail-in votes can easily tip elections, as constitutional law professor and CNN analyst Richard Pildes pointed out in September: “In recent primaries, for example, nearly 4% of absentees were rejected in Philadelphia; 8% in Kentucky; and 20% in parts of New York City.”
Higher rejection rates to the point of being able to change an election outcome destroys voter confidence in election results, especially given the party affiliation imbalance in mail-in. According to the U.S. Elections Project, registered Democrats requested 44.1 percent of mail-in ballots while registered Republicans requested 26.7 percent.
Pildes gave an example of how this inflames civic distrust: “Imagine if the outcome in Michigan is close, and 75% of Biden supporters vote absentee, yet 10% or more of those ballots are rejected. Or that tens of thousands of absentee ballots mailed back do not get delivered in time to be valid. Biden supporters will surely erupt in fury, viewing the election as illegitimate.” That is why, Pildes concluded, “Voting in person is the single most effective action voters can take to reduce the risk of election turmoil.”
These Error Rates Can and Do Change Election Results
While some error rates look small, electoral victories are often within the margin of error that vote-by-mail expands. So it is a plain fact that mail-in voting increases doubt about election outcomes, as well as opportunities to fraudulently flip outcomes either through error or litigation.
Pennsylvania’s mail-vote error rate was known to be well within the victory margin before the election, partly because of all the changes Democrats made to weaken voting integrity. Democrats demanded before the votes came in that all mail-in ballots without secrecy envelopes be counted, even though that violates state law. The changes Democrats demanded were estimated to affect up to 200,000 ballots. In 2016, Trump won Pennsylvania by 44,000 votes. In 2020, CNN claims Biden won Pennsylvania by 81,000 votes.
“If at least 3 million people in Pennsylvania vote by mail in the Nov. 3 election, as expected, just 1% of that is 30,000 ballots, while 5% is 150,000 ballots. If 4 million people vote by mail, 5% is 200,000 ballots,” noted the Associated Press in August.
So when margins of a few percentage points — or, as in 2020, of less than 1 percent in multiple key Electoral College states– separate winner from loser, mail-in errors can easily change the election results. And no one would ever know, or be able to know, since the errors are so diffuse throughout the voting process, and may be well-intentioned.
Even Tiny Error Rates Can Flip Elections
Sometimes elections are extremely close, such that even tiny error rates can change the outcome.
“Every vote cast can affect the outcome of the election. Every ballot that is rejected could also potentially swing the election and the Electoral College. Rejected ballots can be the margin of error that swings the election results in certain states,” Hannah Fried of All Voting is Local told Salon in October.
Just this year, a New York U.S. House seat is reportedly within a 100-vote margin. One candidate brought the margin that close by winning three-fourths of the mail-in ballots, according to The New York Times. Due to errors from mail-in ballots and local elections officials, a judge will decide that race, instead of voters.
In Iowa, another U.S. House race has reportedly come down to a margin of six votes after a recount. Before the recount, the margin was 47 votes. All elections are important because they are how we govern ourselves, but the House is especially fraught this year because Democrats’ majority is paper-thin. Every single tipped House race will have a butterfly effect on what happens in Congress for two years.
The New York Times reported in September that nearly 100,000 defective mail-in ballots were sent to New York City voters. If this had happened in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, or Georgia and many of those voters unknowingly sent back bad ballots, it could have tipped the presidential electors of that state.
In all those states, Trump reportedly lost by fewer than 50,000 votes. All the margins in those states were less than 1 percent, or well within the margin for being flipped by mass mail-in balloting error rates. Mail-in error margins combined with tight races like this are how lawyers win elections instead of honest ballot counts. That is Democrats’ real strategy.
Democrats Pushed For Higher Error Rates Before Election
Of the more than 300 lawsuits waged pre-election to use courts to alter voting laws with COVID as a pretext, the vast majority originated from Democrats and allied organizations. Of the 160 pending cases lawyer Hans von Spakovsky examined in August, just 40 involved Republicans, and of those, many involved Republicans only because Democrats had sued them.
“Their objective: force all-mail elections or huge increases in absentee balloting while simultaneously eliminating safeguards against abuse and fraud,” von Spakovsky concluded. He summarized the hundreds of lawsuits pre-emptively filed by Democrat Party appendages around the country as:
“get rid of voter ID and witness signature or notarization requirements for absentee ballots;
“override state deadlines for absentee ballots to be either returned or postmarked by Election Day;
“void state laws banning vote harvesting by third parties;
“stop or erode signature comparison procedures.”
As explained above, all of these are proven to reduce election accuracy, sometimes to outcome-altering levels. All the post-election lawsuits from the Trump campaign involve states’ widespread failure to enact security measures recommended by the National Council of State Legislatures for reducing mail-in error and fraud rates.
These include signature verification; regularly cleaned voter rolls; open and bipartisan access to all processing of ballots; secure “chain of custody” for ballots; physical security such as locks and cameras; mechanisms to prevent double-voting; bans on vote harvesting; and serious punishments for fraud and ballot tampering.
Multiple problems in these categories have been alleged in the post-election Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, and Pennsylvania lawsuits, and attested to by more than 100 eyewitness affidavits. The deeply contested states Pennsylvania and Michigan have been among the several that fought pre-election efforts to clean tens of thousands of ineligible voters from their registration lists. Democrat lawyers have been the ones fighting these basic and obvious election integrity measures, among dozens of others, according to a September 2020 report by the Public Interest Legal Foundation.
Democrats’ 2020 election confusion operation has been led by the same outfit that helped manufacture the Russian collusion hoax: the law firm Perkins Coie. Marc Elias, Perkins Coie’s head of election law, is also the Democratic National Committee’s election lawyer, and he’s been spearheading many of these election-weakening lawsuits while claiming to be fighting “voter suppression.” In 2009, Elias got Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman’s narrow 2008 victory reversed in court so Al Franken could take his seat.
Elias was also general counsel to the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016. The Washington Post identified him in 2017 as the man who commissioned Fusion GPS to craft its dossier of lies used as a pretext for assaulting the results of the 2016 election through U.S. intelligence agencies with the Russia collusion hoax. In 2020, he focused on undermining the election a different way.
Democrats’ election-tampering happened in plain sight. It consisted of demanding, and getting, a chaotic mess of constantly changing voting rules layered atop early in-person and mail-in voting that started long before election day.
“With less than six weeks until Election Day,” The New York Times reported on Sept. 24, “laws governing how Americans vote remain in flux in many battleground states, with the two parties locked in an intensive fight over the rules.” It later noted, “The uncertainty has forced the Wisconsin Elections Commission to plan for multiple regulations even as it sends out 2.7 million pieces of mail to voters with election information.” This purposeful confusion was a smokescreen for ensuring a Democrat victory.
COVID Was This Year’s Excuse to Confuse the Election
Democrats inflamed COVID with false and exaggerated claims that played on the American people’s fears rather than our prudence and courage, all to get Trump. Just like false “Russian collusion” was their pretext for undermining the 2016 results, COVID was their pretext for undermining the 2020 results.
On Nov. 2, after approximately half the votes in the 2020 election had been cast, the Centers for Disease Control told the public that people with a live COVID infection could safely vote in person on Nov. 3 after Democrats had spent the entire year telling courts, lawmakers, and the public this scarified scenario was the reason we needed to drastically weaken election processes and vote from home.
What a joke. Just like Spygate, this entire thing has been one information operation layered on top of another. Enough people fell for it that now about half the country has no confidence that the election results we are told are the genuine results voters intended. And you know what? They’re right.
We’ll never know the real result, though, thanks to mail-in ballots. And that was the goal all along.
Michigan’s Senate Oversight Committee heard testimonies on Tuesday from witnesses concerned that there were counting irregularities and potential election violations in Detroit.
While Michigan already certified its election results showing Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden as the winner of the state, voting irregularities in absentee ballot counting at the TCF Center in Detroit were a cause for concern for many.
Republican, Independent, and unaffiliated poll workers, watchers, election challengers, and others who filled out written statements and sworn affidavits were given three minutes to give their testimony to the committee as, in which many attested that the “hostile environment” the TCF Center not only hindered them from completing their duties, but also gave ample room for abnormal and suspicious activity.
“IfIwouldhavethoughtthatitwasgonnabethatmuchofamadhouseagainsttheGOPpeople, anditwassobiased,Iwouldhavebeenthereeveryday,” one unaffiliated poll challenger stated. “Iwasnottherewithanagenda.Iwastheretojustdomyjobandtheydidn’tlikethatsimplybecauseIhadaGOPlanyardon,eventhoughI’manunaffiliatedvoter.”
Inside the TCF Center, many challengers noted, was unorganized and understaffed chaos.
Dozens of witnesses claimed that they observed deliveries of ballots in the middle of the night after ballot arrivals were supposed to end, people bubbling blank ballots in for Democrats, duplicate ballots being misplaced or wrongfully placed under boxes, all while poll challengers were forced to stand so far away from tables that they could not see the tabulation screens.
One witness testified that the computers used to help tabulate votes at the facility displayed error codes signaling that updates were overdue. The computers also allegedly displayed different and inconsistent times on the screen.
Some challengers said they were harassed and sometimes kicked out over alleged violations of COVID-19 guidelines such as social distancing and mask-wearing, which were often met with affirmative cheering and applause from election workers in the facility.
These coronavirus health and safety protocols, many of the witnesses said, were selectively applied to Republican poll challengers while other election workers were allowed to sit and stand closer than six feet.
“They used it as an excuse from the minute we walked in,” one poll challenger said. “It was an excuse to throw people out.”
Some witnesses complained that certain election workers were illegally wearing political statements such as “Black Lives Matter” masks and pro-Biden paraphernalia on their shirts, masks, and other clothing items, despite being warned not to.
When some of the poll challengers tried to file complaints about these observed irregularities, they were left on hold and received no response from any election officials or complaint hotlines.
These irregularities and problems, many of the poll challengers and watchers said, are not only concerning, but should push state senators to require a forensic audit of the ballots in Wayne County.
Michigan House Oversight Committee Chairman Matt Hall, R-Emmett Township, told The Detroit Free Press that Trump Campaign attorney Rudy Giuliani will be testifying in front of his committee on Wednesday evening.
Dead people allegedly voted in a too-close-to-call upstate New York congressional race, according to a county attorney involved with the case.
Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-NY) is just 12 to 13 votes ahead of Republican challenger Claudia Tenney in the most recent count of votes for New York’s 22nd congressional seat. In question, though, are hundreds of absentee ballots.
Tenney, reports the state, was up by about 27,000 votes before absentee ballots for Brindisi were counted and erased her lead. The New York Postreports that Madison County attorney Tina Wayland-Smith has stated that votes by dead people were cast in the hotly contested race:
Madison County Attorney Tina Wayland-Smith reported that election officials there disqualified absentee ballots filed by three “deceased” voters” in a filing with state Supreme Court Justice Scott Del Conte, who is overseeing the count in Oswego County. [Emphasis added]
“This is a known problem of voting by mail. It should be investigated,” said Doug Kellner, co-chairman of the board, noting that it’s a crime for someone to mail in a ballot in the name of a dead person. [Emphasis added]
“It is an election fraud. It’s a felony,” he said. [Emphasis added]
A 2012 study by Pew Center on the States’ Election Initiatives revealed that there are 24 million ineligible or inaccurate voter registrations on state voter rolls. This means 1-in-8 voter registrations are either no longer valid or invalid.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.
Officials in Wayne County, Michigan, which contains the city of Detroit, refused to certify the results of the Nov. 3 election after local representatives on the Board of Canvassers deadlocked in a 2-2 vote, sending the votes to state authorities for canvassing.
🚨🚨BREAKING: This evening, the county board of canvassers in Wayne County, MI refused to certify the election results. If the state board follows suit, the Republican state legislator will select the electors. Huge win for @realDonaldTrump
“Based on what I saw and went through in poll books in this canvass, I believe that we do not have complete and accurate information in those poll books,” board chairwoman Monica Palmer, a Republican, said, the Detroit Newsreported.
Board Vice Chairman Jonathan Kinloch, a Democrat, called the inaction “reckless and irresponsible.”
The Detroit News added:
A county board that fails to canvass within 14 days after the election must give all of its documentation to the Secretary of State’s office and Board of State Canvassers, which then has 10 days to complete the work, canvass and certify the results, according to the board’s canvassing manual.
If the state authorities cannot certify the result, the election and the selection of electors would have to be decided by the Republican-controlled state legislature.
Former Vice President Joe Biden currently leads President Donald Trump by roughly 150,000 votes in the state, over 2.5%. However, Trump led Biden by double digits on Election Day — before massive numbers of mail-in ballots were counted.
There have been various claims of irregularities in Michigan, particularly in Detroit. Some of these date to the August primary election. One eyewitness said that as many as 20,000 unverified absentee ballots were counted during the primary.
The Detroit News observed: “In August, 72% of Detroit’s poll books were found to be out of balance, a condition that precluded them from being used if a recount were requested.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
To read reports in the mainstream press about the throngs of President Trump’s supporters who rallied in Washington, D.C., over the weekend, you’d think the crowd was made up of a bunch of conspiracy theory-addled rubes and delusional far-right extremists all of them hoodwinked into thinking the election was stolen. To read David Frum’s Twitter take, you’d think they were all Nazis.
The march came on the heels of a poll last week that found a staggering 70 percent of Republicans now say they don’t believe the presidential election was free and fair. That news, like news of the self-described Million MAGA March, was met with a mix of contempt, hysteria, and condescension from Democrats and the media.
Their rough consensus is that GOP voters who still support the president are either treasonous or stupid, reinforced constantly by a brittle insistence that there was “no fraud” in the presidential election. A totemic front-page declaration by the New York Times, “ELECTION OFFICIALS NATIONWIDE FIND NO FRAUD,” has been repeated everywhere, mantra-like. Any claims of voter fraud or ballot-counting irregularities, whether from President Trump or the tens of thousands who marched over the weekend, are “baseless,” “unfounded,” and have “no evidence” behind them.
There’s a palpable nervousness about the media’s insistence that the election was as pure as the driven snow. Maybe they seem so nervous because they know what everyone in America knows: there was nothing pure or secure or even ordinary about the election.
How could there be? Under the pretext of ensuring “voter access” during the pandemic, Democrats, leftist nonprofits, and activist judges across the country unleashed a flood of changes to election rules in the months leading up to the vote, including an unprecedented expansion of mail-in voting, an inherently fraught method of casting ballots that removes almost all oversight from the process.
No matter. States pushed ahead, mailing ballots to outdated voter rolls en masse and recklessly loosening oversight for how those ballots could be collected and counted. Chain-of-custody for absentee ballots went out the window, along with whatever meager safeguards usually apply to absentee voting. Ballot harvesting, long a tradition of corrupt Democratic political machines in places like Detroit and Philadelphia, was introduced in some places for the first time. Take together, all these pandemic-inspired reforms presented an ideal opportunity for Democrats to flood absentee ballot-counting centers in major cities and run up the vote-count long after the polls closed on Election Day.
Not all the reports of ballot-counting skullduggery amount to old-fashioned voter fraud, but as my colleague Margot Cleveland has noted, they’re just as important because they undermine the integrity of an election just as much as, say, thousands of dead people voting.
Even more egregious than voter fraud (and harder to redress) are cases where election bureaucrats or activist judges simply ignored restrictions that GOP legislatures had passed into law. In Pennsylvania, the state supreme court brushed off rules set by lawmakers and extended a deadline for when absentee ballots could be received. Extending deadlines for absentee ballots is of course an invitation to break election laws—especially in Philadelphia, a city with a long history of ballot-stuffing and bribing election judges.
In other states, the corruption of election integrity was voluntary. In Georgia, the state government settled a lawsuit in March with a cadre of Democratic Party groups that changed the rules for accepting mail-in ballots. Instead of the signature on the ballot having to match the signature on the voter rolls, it only had to match the signature on the mail-in ballot application. You don’t need to be a sophisticated election thief to figure out how to get a fraudulent ballot counted under such rules.
On and on it goes. A dozen states temporarily expanded mail-in voting just for the 2020 election. Others mailed ballots to everyone on the voter rolls. Many others extended the mail-in ballot deadline, set up ballot drop boxes, and allowed mail-in ballot harvesting on a mass scale.
Any reasonable person can look at these changes and conclude they create conditions ripe for fraud and abuse. Only the most naïve, pollyannaish observer would survey all of the above and conclude, as our mainstream media has, that there was “no fraud” in the election. Of course there was, and everyone knows it.
Whether it was enough to change the outcome of the election, we’ll probably never know, partly because the kind of abuses and criminal activity engendered by mass mail-in voting are hard to detect and even harder to prove in court. But pointing all of this out, and having a problem with it, even to the point of saying you don’t have much confidence that the election was free and fair, doesn’t make you a rube or a conspiracy theorist.
By contrast, pretending that none of this had any effect on the election, and demonizing anyone who says it did, as the media is doing now, is a reaction born of self-doubt and desperation—like labeling anyone who disagrees with you a traitor or a Nazi. There’s an exhausted nervousness about it, a contempt rooted in insecurity. It’s the kind of thing you do when you’ve written off your countrymen, and given up on the idea of a republic.
After this Nov. 3, one thing is poignantly clear: mail-in voting is a proven disaster. As we’ve seen, it’s grossly susceptible to fraud.
Many Republicans, including President Trump, have been warning about this for months. Democrats and the mainstream media also know it’s incredibly risky. But they’ve been obfuscating or flat-out lying to us about it for months.
How do we know? They once warned about mail-in voting themselves. Consider this New York Times article from 2010, which noted, “votes cast by mail are less likely to be counted, more likely to be compromised and more likely to be contested than those cast in a voting booth, statistics show.”
The Times article also says “fraud is easier by mail.” This should be common knowledge, and already was among election officials. Leon County, Florida elections supervisor Ion Sancho told the Times: “The only cases of election fraud have been in absentee ballots… The more people you force to vote by mail, the more invalid ballots you will generate.”
The New York Times article concludes: “Election experts say the challenges created by mailed ballots could well affect outcomes this fall and beyond. If the contests next month are close enough to be within what election lawyers call the margin of litigation, the grounds on which they will be fought will not be hanging chads but ballots cast away from the voting booth.”
Got that? “Mailed ballots could well affect outcomes this fall and beyond.” Well, given that Trump is challenging the results of the 2020 election, we’re certainly at “beyond.”
Here’s another example of Democrats warning about mail-in voting, a 2005 study conducted by the “Commission on Federal Election Reform,” lead in part by Democrats Jimmy Carter and former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle. A recent summary of the report says, “Fifteen years ago this very month, a bipartisan panel of American statesmen and stateswomen… studied the future of U.S. elections and issued strong words of caution that the expansion of mail-in voting that began a few years earlier in Oregon posed real fraud risks, especially in close elections..”
The commission’s primary concern was not only mail-in voting fraud, but also whether mail-in was effective in increasing voter participation: “While vote by mail appears to increase turnout for local elections, there is no evidence that it significantly expands participation in federal elections,” the commission’s report said. “Moreover, it raises concerns about privacy, as citizens voting at home may come under pressure to vote for certain candidates, and it increases the risk of fraud.”
Flash-forward to today, after Democrats have been screaming for months that any questioning of mail-in voting amounts to “voter suppression,” and as there are reports Democrats have been going door-to-door to help voters finish their ballots—after the election.
Here’s an example of a Democrat warning about paper ballots, which is an indirect warning against mail-in, because mail-in requires paper ballots. This comes from Rep. Jerry Nadler, who led Democrats’ impeachment of Trump for not doing something Joe Biden did: “I just, as a very experienced practical politician from New York, feel that in my experience in New York, paper ballots are extremely susceptible to fraud. And at least with the old clunky voting machines that we have in New York, the deliberate fraud is way down compared to paper.”
Of course, Nadler has been slamming Trump all year for his repeated warnings about mail-in voting. But you can watch Nadler say the exact opposite about paper ballots, on video here. Democrats are on public record admitting that paper and mail-in balloting means a dramatic increase in fraud. So why did they suddenly hide what they knew to demand mail-in balloting everywhere in 2020?
Trump and U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr’s repeated warnings about mail-in voting’s susceptibility to fraud were flagrantly ignored. But Trump and Barr were correct. Democrats purposefully played with fire, and Americans are now getting burned. Democrats have knowingly tampered with public trust and confidence in the electoral process, and election integrity itself. And we all can guess why.