President Trump has on several occasions since the November 8, 2016 elections used voter fraud as an explanation for why his main opponent, former Secretary of State/Senator/First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton apparently defeated him by more than 2.5 million votes in the nationwide popular vote. His claim is that he won the election because he won a majority of the Electoral College votes and that the only reasonable explanation for losing the popular vote was that millions of fraudulent votes were cast by ineligible people voting multiple times and/or in multiple locations. Other sorts of voting irregularities cited include votes by deceased individuals who were never dropped from the voter registration checklists, voting under assumed names for people who were registered but didn’t vote and just about every conceivable way to allow his opponent to defeat him. He even called for another investigatory committee to be formed to find out the scope and extent of the actual fraud and make recommendations for preventing such an occurrence in future elections.
The fact of the matter is that such forms of fraud are indeed very plausible in accounting for over one hundred million eligible and registered voters in a national Presidential election in this country. Do voters exist who may be registered in more than community or even more than one state? You betcha! People in this country are not moored in one location throughout their lives. Often, people move from one city or town to another within the same state or even across state lines. Believe it or not, some people do so without informing their local election officials that they are moving (gasp!). They then register at their new home. Does that mean they will then vote twice in the next election? No, and there has been no evidence presented by our beleaguered President and his multitude of fanciful mouthpieces to indicate that such behavior did or even could have resulted in the magnitude of the Clinton popular vote victory.
Likewise, is it possible that deceased voters remain on the voter checklist posthumously? Indubitably, unless local election boards hire people to scan obituaries on a regular basis and ensure proper removal of deceased voters from the rolls. Some even claimed that millions of undocumented immigrants who are not eligible to vote in our elections conspired to cast ballots unanimously for Clinton (this one was directly from Trump’s mouth). While it is conceivable that some undocumented immigrants may have succeeded in registering and voting, no evidence has been forthcoming from the voter fraud lobby proving that this is even a small scale, let alone a large scale issue as put forth by Trump. A nationwide conspiracy as posited by our new President that failed so miserably at capturing the electoral college victory as well truly strains credulity among most of the American public. That’s probably why Trump’s call for an in-depth full-scale investigation has faded into the background in recent weeks. He’s not the first man elected President while losing the popular vote, and likely won’t be the last (as long as the Electoral College remains). He’s President and needs to get over the fact that more people voted against than for him.
There are several reasons to keep these fallacious arguments in mind when dealing with our electoral system. The GOP, in particular, have in recent decades sought to decrease, rather than increase, overall voter numbers. Voter suppression has become more prevalent in states dominated Republican governors and majority Republican legislatures. Recent Supreme Court rulings eviscerating the Voting Rights Act have encouraged more states to take advantage of no longer having to seek Federal approval before passing laws that suppress the votes of minority members of our electorate to strengthen the hold that the GOP has over the political process within those states, and collectively over the composition of Congress. With a new Republican Administration taking over in the White House and Justice Department, even the limited ability to fight against such laws that was exercised under the Obama Administration is likely to lapse. Passing Voter ID laws while simultaneously making obtaining such ID’s increasingly difficult is one way to play to voters’ sense of fairness while simultaneously achieving the unstated goal of reducing the number of people able to vote for one’s opponents.
Another, even more underhanded means by which to suppress opposition in coming elections is to increase penalties for breaking laws meant to stifle dissent – in effect, placing new and more stringent limits on the First Amendment right of freedom of expression and peaceful protest. Most states don’t allow prisoners to vote. Many make it difficult to regain the vote after sentences have been served. Some even make the voting ban for convicted felons permanent. What better way to ensure your political opponents cannot defeat you at the ballot box than denying them access to expressing their political voice at election time?
As stated above, the schemes outlined by our President as making our electoral system vulnerable to intentional abuse can produce fraud committed by voters, but have not been shown to do so in substantial numbers. The bigger threat, as perceived by many others, is in the election fraud committed by those disenfranchising vast numbers of people who are easily discernable by most as being among those who deserve to have a vote that counts. Coming up with new and more ingenious ways of denying them that voice is wrong. We should be doing everything within our power to increase voter turnout, not decrease it.
Furthermore, if we want to make sure every vote is valid and is counted as intended, we should not be eliminating the offices of those who are supposed to be making electronic voting systems as safe from electronic manipulation and fraud as possible. Along those same lines, many votes are cast in each election which are totally electronic. I go to a computer and vote for the various candidates/ballot initiatives on a touch screen. How the vote is ultimately counted is vulnerable to hacking. There is no backup on paper that can be looked at for verification in case of a recount or electronic system failure. Seems like a new electronic version of the “hanging chads” that so famously clouded the 2000 Presidential election in Florida. A different system I used in another state when I lived there used electronic tabulation of paper ballots filled out by the voter that could then be individually counted in case of a recount. That seems to me far less prone to producing inaccurate results than the system I’ve been using more recently.
Don’t let Donald Trump fool you into thinking that he lost the popular vote last November because dead illegal aliens crossed multiple state lines to cast ballots for Hillary Clinton. More likely, he won the Electoral College vote because too many potential Clinton voters were prevented from voting by suppressive election laws in their states, and Congress remained firmly in GOP hands because of nefarious redistricting at the state level after the 2010 census. Individual voter fraud in our elections is so overwhelmed by the broader issues involved in election fraud as practiced on a grand scale by our political and corporate elites as to pale in comparison. Trump’s whining about it from the Oval Office is designed to distract us from the real damage he and the GOP Congress have in store for us if we fall asleep at the wheel and lose sight of the big picture. Watch what he does instead of listening too much to what he says.