The Republicans' so-called 'evidence' of voter fraud is already crumbling before our eyes
President Donald Trump and much of the Republican Party has wedded itself to the idea that the 2020 election was tainted with a massive wave of voter fraud. For this to be true, and for it to result in the kind of changes that would flip the result of the presidential election — which Trump is clearly trying to steal from Joe Biden — it would have had to have happened on a scale unprecedented in American history.
To credibly suggest that such a scheme took place, you need some evidence. But there is no such evidence, and the GOP's theories are filled with holes. The examples of impropriety they cite keep falling apart.
Most prominently on Tuesday, the House Oversight Committee — currently controlled by Democrats — reported that a supposed Eerie, Pennsylvania, whistleblower in the U.S. Postal Service has recanted allegations of illegal tampering in the election.
Republicans such as Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina had latched on to the person's claims, made in an affidavit, that a supervisor had been directing postal workers to stamp mail-in ballots with false dates, incorrectly indicating that they were mailed on or before Election Day, as is legally required in order for them to count.
But according to the committee, the whistleblower has recanted.
He "completely RECANTED his allegations of a supervisor tampering with mail-in ballots after being questioned by investigators, according to IG," the committee's Twitter account explained.
"Here are the facts: Richard Hopkins is a USPS employee in Erie, Pa," it continued. "He signed a sworn affidavit with allegations of ballot tampering/fraud and went public through Project Veritas."
But when Hopkins spoke to the service's inspector general, the story didn't hold up.
"IG investigators informed Committee staff today that they interviewed Hopkins on Friday, but that Hopkins RECANTED HIS ALLEGATIONS yesterday and did not explain why he signed a false affidavit," the committee explained.
The Washington Post confirmed the committee's account in a story citing three additional anonymous sources.
A report from the New York Times indicated that Attorney General Bill Barr, who released a controversial memo authorizing prosecutors to pursue election crimes cases in contradiction of longstanding Justice Department policy, had green-lit a probe of the Pennsylvania "backdating" issue. Unless more evidence arrives in the case, the question appears moot. The Times also reported that the department is pursuing a GOP complaint about 3,000 Nevada voters who supposedly cast ballots without being eligible. But even if all those votes were thrown out, and even if every single one went for Biden — two extremely unlikely scenarios — they wouldn't change the result in the state. One judge has already tossed out a legal complaint based on the allegations.
Other allegations that have taken off in conservative circles — such as the claim that Trump voters in Arizona were given Sharpies to fill in ballots, rendering them uncountable — have been thoroughly debunked.
And even while the Trump campaign and GOP lawsuits alleging fraud in the election continue to get thrown out, the actual claims and evidence in them are paltry compared to the party's rhetoric. Even if the strained claims were accurate, they wouldn't affect the result of the election. Consider, as Law & Crime reported, a lawsuit the president's team filed in Pennsylvania:
Before the lawsuit landed in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Trump and his loyalists invoked the specter of mass voter fraud—a phenomenon international experts report does not exist in the United States—as a reason to challenge their emphatic electoral defeat. Variations of the word "fraud" appear in the lawsuit 33 times, mostly in the context of rare prosecutions related to other elections. The only suspected instances of voter fraud cited in the complaint occurred in two Keystone State counties that voted for Trump: Fayette, where Trump is winning by a 34-point margin, and Luzerne, where his lead is 14 points. [emphasis added]
There's no substance to the grand claims — they fall apart under examination. As anyone who has studied the matter can tell you, voter fraud is very rare, and election tampering on a massive scale in the way necessary to overturn the election is almost impossible to pull off.
The New York Times reported on Tuesday night that officials across the political spectrum at the state level agree:
Election officials in dozens of states representing both political parties said that there was no evidence that fraud or other irregularities played a role in the outcome of the presidential race, amounting to a forceful rebuke of President Trump's portrait of a fraudulent election.
Over the last several days, the president, members of his administration, congressional Republicans and right wing allies have put forth the false claim that the election was stolen from President Trump and have refused to accept results that showed Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the winner.
But top election officials across the country said in interviews and statements that the process had been a remarkable success despite record turnout and the complications of a dangerous pandemic.
The president and his allies are lying to the country, abusing the court system, and trying to steal back a presidential election they lost. In the process, they're severely undermining faith in the electoral process and in the incoming adminsitration. They're not serious about having concerns about voter fraud, because they're not questioning the results in any of the elections they lost at the state level or in the House or Senate. All they care about is furthering Trump's narrative, and undermining President-elect Biden.
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