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Little traction for election fraud lawsuits

The Trump campaign hasn’t proven widespread voter fraud, but states can fix problems that came to light during the 2020 election


A canvas observer photographs Lehigh County provisional ballots as vote counting in the general election continues in Allentown, Pa. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File

Little traction for election fraud lawsuits
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On Friday evening, the United States Supreme Court rejected Texas’ unprecedented bid to stop four states from casting Electoral College votes, saying Texas had no legal standing to do so.

In a brief order, the justices said Texas’ lawsuit “has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections.” Justices Samuel Alito Jr. and Clarence Thomas said Texas had a right to file the lawsuit but added they would not have granted it the outcome it sought.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had asked the court to prevent electors from Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin from casting their votes for Joe Biden, so that those state legislatures could appoint new presidential electors. The attorneys general of 18 other states and President Donald Trump also joined the suit. The Electoral College will vote Monday.

Most political and legal experts had predicted the case had little chance of succeeding.

“Federalism and sovereignty say you have authority over how your state does it,” said Ryan Burge, an assistant professor at Eastern Illinois University. “This is not a federal issue, this is a state issue. States get to set their own rules about registration or early voting or closed primaries; … the federal government can’t touch that.”

The lawsuit argued that government officials in those states weaponized the COVID-19 pandemic to change election laws, making it easier for people to vote by mail or vote absentee.

Ahead of the decision, the state of Ohio filed a noteworthy brief in the case. It said though it wasn’t taking Texas’ side, the court should resolve election questions going forward: How much can courts or states’ executive branches change election rules, as happened in several states before the 2020 election? Though the Trump campaign and its allies haven’t proved the wide-ranging voter fraud they’ve claimed, Ohio’s question is one of several that state government officials may look to address to restore the trust of voters skeptical of the 2020 election.

“The States need this Court to decide, at the earliest available opportunity, the question whether the Electors Clause permits state courts (and state executive officials) to alter the rules by which presidential elections are conducted,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost wrote. “If only to prevent the doubts that have tainted this election from arising again in some future election, the Court should decide, as soon as possible, the extent of the power that the Electors Clause confers on state legislatures and withholds from other actors.”

In one example, the Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to hear the Trump campaign’s case that alleged the Wisconsin Election Commission broke state election laws regarding absentee ballots.

Amy Black, a political science professor at Wheaton University, told me some post-election litigation raised legitimate questions that “if validated, would be problematic. But many of these cases have also asked for very extreme remedies, such as throwing out the results of entire elections, that don’t follow election law precedent.”

Voters in states where election laws were changed did have the opportunity to challenge the changes.

In one case, Congressman Mike Kelly, R-Pa., asked the Supreme Court to overturn the election results in Pennsylvania because he claimed it acted unconstitutionally when it expanded its mail-in voting system in 2019. But the state Supreme Court rejected his lawsuit, saying that he had filed it too late. The time to challenge those changes would have been before the election. The U.S. Supreme Court, with no dissents, also rejected Kelly’s case.

Post-election scrutiny has highlighted other questions.

With a record-setting number of mail-in ballots used in 2020, maintaining accurate voter rolls has grown in importance.

“Voter rolls are the biggest mess ever because people change their names, they get married or divorced … people move now quite frequently and don’t update their address. They don’t respond to mail. There’s a ton of reasons why voter rolls are not good but it’s insanely hard to have an accurate voter roll,” Burge said.

On Saturday the Trump campaign asked Georgia’s Supreme Court to rule on its lawsuit claiming more than 140,000 people cast ballots in Georgia who weren’t on the voter rolls. The lawsuit also claims Georgia was too lax in checking voter signatures.

Burge pointed out that voter rolls have always faced questions of accuracy, and this year is no different. But states should have checks in the system to make sure that a clerical error doesn’t lead to a fraudulent vote.

Still, on the whole, experts say that, given the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the election went better than expected.

“No election is fraud-free, but lots of protections are in place, and criminal penalties apply,” Black said. “No one has shown any evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.”

Kevin Kosar, a resident scholar with American Enterprise Institute, said the U.S. Postal Service needs to improve tracking and communicating the speeds at which it processes mail, particularly election-related mail. “That would have put to rest so many of the rumors about how Trump and Postmaster General [Louis] DeJoy would steal the election by slowing mail ballots, which of course didn’t happen,” Kosar said.

He also thinks some states and localities could consider changes to allow election officials to tally mail-in and early ballots ahead of election night to get quicker results and place less stress on ballot counters and observers.

“It’s like working in a restaurant and someone ordering 50 hamburgers at once instead of [ordering them] spread out over five hours,” he said.

Some of that tension played out in Georgia after a 90-second video surfaced from election night that Trump’s legal team called proof of suspicious activity.

In the clip, a group of election observers and reporters file out of a room in Atlanta’s State Farm Arena where ballot counters had just stopped processing votes and were starting to pack things away. It was around 10:30 p.m. A few minutes later, the counters pull out containers of ballots from under tables. They resume work, this time unsupervised.

Trump allies like Rudy Giuliani pointed to the video as proof of voter fraud. Local officials deny wrongdoing.

There were “no magically appearing ballots,” Gabriel Sterling, an election official in Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s office, told WSB-TV in Atlanta. The uncounted ballots were in sealed ballot containers that election workers around 10 p.m. placed under a table in view of election observers. “They were planning on going home,” Sterling said. As ballot counters began putting things away and some left, the media and observers left the room.

A few minutes later, according to the Secretary of State office, Fulton County elections director Rick Barren called the workers’ supervisor with a warning: Employees shouldn’t call it a night so early. So, they pulled out the containers and resumed processing ballots.

It took more than an hour before a state monitor arrived around 11:52 p.m. He stayed until 12:45 a.m., when work wrapped up.

Gabriel Sterling

Gabriel Sterling AP Photo/John Bazemore

Some question whether election workers told observers to leave. Ballot observers signed affidavits saying they were told counting had ceased for the night and would not resume until the next morning.

State election investigator Frances Watson told Lead Stories there was never an announcement about counting being over for the night or people needing to leave, but that contradicts what news media reported on election night.

In response to the confusion, Raffensperger’s office told National Review that it has launched an investigation into “why the monitors from the political parties left before scanning ended.”

Despite these issues, election officials said nothing nefarious happened during the unsupervised period.

The incident became part of a lawsuit that Trump ally Sidney Powell filed alleging conspirators rigged the election by switching votes from Trump to President-elect Joe Biden using Dominion voter machines. A U.S. district court tossed out the lawsuit on Dec. 7, the same day Georgia recertified its results following another recount that confirmed Biden won the state by around 12,000 votes.

Georgia is among a group of states that within the last couple of years has replaced antiquated electronic voting machines with machines that produce backup paper ballots.

Julian Sanchez, a Cato Institute expert on technology and privacy, noted there are eight states that use all-digital voting machines with no paper ballot backups. But they’ve received almost no attention because they went decisively for Trump, or in New Jersey’s case, for Biden. Meanwhile, Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania have faced the most scrutiny despite making reforms within the last couple of years. These battleground states all have a paper trail to back up their voting results.

“States and state officials that are under attack are in many cases states have done everything experts say you should … at substantial cost,” he said.

—WORLD has updated this story to correct the spelling of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s name.


Harvest Prude

Harvest is a former political reporter for WORLD’s Washington Bureau. She is a World Journalism Institute and Patrick Henry College graduate.

@HarvestPrude

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not silent

I would like to affirm believers who are taking time to seek the Lord in prayer for guidance regarding current events, choices about what media to trust, and how to live in these crazy and confusing times.  I would also like to reiterate that we don't have to agree politically to love each other as brothers and sisters in the Lord and to work together for God's kingdom. (I previously used the example of Jesus' disciples, Matthew the tax collector and Simon the Zealot, who had VERY different political beliefs and would probaby have hated each other if Jesus had not chosen them to be his disciples and to spread the gospel and changed their hearts.)  

Tim Miller

Eileen, 

Thanks for your kind words. I am very willing to acknowledge corruption in Detroit; in fact I could name several politicians that I believe are proven to be corrupt here, and some of them have big jobs. But I don't believe the election was mostly corrupt, based on multiple accounts from both sides. The best reporting I've read on Michigan, in depth, is Tim Alberta's article where he interviews multiple people, including state Republicans, who describe what actually happened. Many of the claims in the affadavits are answered there as well. (article: https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/11/24/michigan-election-trump-voter-fraud-democracy-440475)

But I've been reading World since I was a senior in high school, and their reporting, while not sensational, has been consistently reliable. They're rarely the first to jump on a story (although they've broken some big news at times), but I think that's intentional, because they want to make sure they have the story right by the time we get it.

This morning, I heard Albert Mohler (a World board of directors member) on World and Everything say that he thinks there was serious malfeasance in this election, perhaps enough to materially change the outcome of the election; at the same time (I hope I'm paraphrasing accurately), we can't simply reject the system; we must respect the rule of law as expressed by the courts, legislatures, and elected officials. Mohler supports changes to the system, but respects the election results as certified, because it's almost impossible to "uncount votes." (his words)

I don't agree with all of that position, but I respect it. It's an honest, legit position that acknowledges the possible of serious voter fraud, but also recognizes that a compelling case for overturning the results has not been made (as evidenced by the court rulings).

I think it's possible for Eileen, Albert Mohler, and myself to read and appreciate the same magazine. We won't always agree with the perspective, but we can learn from their reporting. For myself, I rely heavily on World to help me sort through the barrage of information. I hope you'll reconsider and compare World's consistent reliability to those other publications.

Georganne

RA, Thank you, thank you, thank you!!  Your post exactly expresses my concerns.  Thank you for taking the time to put it into words and share it with us.

HANNAH.

Regarding "Ballot is then tabulated, after the application/outer envelope/ballot have all been verified against each other and the poll book that lists registered voters." That may have been true for your ballot, but for many other absentee ballots, that was not true.

 At about 17:15 in the video: “I saw a stack of [absentee] ballots which had a sticky note on it saying ‘Not in EPB/S.’ … When they would scan a ballot, nothing would come on the system. So they would manually enter these, and that’s when I figured out that they were not even entered in the poll book. So it is EPB/S, meaning ‘Election Poll Book or System.’ So none of these details [names and addresses] were in either of those.”

RAW: Full Hima Kolanagireddy testimony before Michigan House alleging election fraud | Diya TV - YouTube

Tim Miller

Interesting that these slam dunk proof videos never make it to trial, even when Republican judges ASK for evidence, as they did in Wisconsin. The Trump campaign is not alleging major fraud in most of these trials. Why would they cover it up?

HANNAH.

After viewing the video, what was your conclusion?

Salty1

How exactly do the mail-in ballots have a paper trail! It seems to me that World is again pushing fake news!

Tim Miller

MTJanet, I appreciate your attitude of trust in the Lord.

I also am not excited about a Biden presidency, although I have come to believe since the election that it is probably best for the country, given that the other guy and many of his supporters are advocating for the overthrow of the duly elected government and arrest of his political opponents.

The raw vote totals tell a clear story. Trump gained slight support in the urban areas, maintained and gained slightly in rural areas, and lost big in the suburbs. Trump's polling before the campaign obviously showed he was weak in the suburbs, since at every rally he begged suburban women, "Please like me."

In Michigan he did not lose the election by losing Detroit (where the voter fraud is alleged). If he had maintained his 2016 margin elsewhere in Michigan, he would have won. He lost in the suburbs, with Republican clerks and split-ticket voting.

These "statistical analyses" are one-sided and don't factor in the changes that have been made in elections pre-COVID, the changes in voting patterns because of COVID, and, frankly, the animus a lot of leaning-Republican voters have toward Trump.

MTJanet

There were many irregularities with this election, and many of us believe that Trump did in fact win.  The article below, with cross referencing to Basham's original, need much explaining which will probably never come to light.  That said, the Lord puts our leaders into place, and we can trust Him to give us what we need/deserve.  Biden's worship of Molech is wretched, but our King is still on His throne, and what He has planned for us is perfect. 

https://mynewscorp.com/election-expert-tells-mark-levin-biden-win-not-impossible-then-tosses-in-the-very-strange-stuff-that-had-to-happen-if-he-did/

Tim Miller

What track record do these experts have? Why should I take them seriously when they have repeatedly promulgated misleading and untrue information in this election season?

The answer to liberal fake news is not conservative fake news; it's the truth. 

Tim Miller

Given the track record of the person who made the report, I'll await the audit results before I adopt the Newsmax take on this.

"Ramsland, a cybersecurity analyst and former Republican congressional candidate, mistook voting jurisdictions in Minnesota for Michigan towns in one recent flawed analysis of voter turnout in the Nov. 3 election. In another, filed in support of a federal lawsuit filed in Michigan, he made wildly inaccurate claims about voter turnout in various Michigan municipalities claiming that Detroit, where turnout was 51%, had turnout of 139%, and that North Muskegon, which had turnout of 78%, had voter turnout of 782%."

https://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/elections/2020/12/14/michigan-company-officials-dispute-report-antrim-county-voting/6538325002/

Tim Miller

Do you really think Clarence Thomas is a coward? Alito? Barrett? That's a ridiculous accusation to make because you disagree with their ruling. I can understand how a case can be made that Roberts is sensitive to how the court is perceived, but Thomas particularly has been willing on multiple occasions to stand out on the court if he thought it was the right thing. 

The cowards here are the Republican leaders who are afraid to stand up to the President because they know he'll bully them into submission. Ask Jeff Sessions and Bill Barr and Mad Dog Mattis what happens when you disagree with Trump. it doesn't matter how loyal you were, once you disagree he'll mock and insult you.

I can't believe that Republicans spent an entire campaign accusing Biden of being a communist and then are themselves trying to overturn a lawful election to install the losing candidate.

Only one party tried to throw my vote out this election, only one party sued to keep my vote from being counted, and only one party is urging the Supreme Court, the state legislature, and the House of Representatives to overturn the election. I'm going to remember.

Voting prolife doesn't help very much if you don't even have the right to vote. I will not vote for people who advocate taking away my or others' right to vote. They're dangerous.

Tim Miller

Hannah, did they testify to anything not included in the affadavit?

Salty1

In looking at the Supreme Court decision, they sidestepped the issue of election fraud by focusing on procedure and even that argument didn't hold water.

In a brief order, the justices said Texas’ lawsuit “has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections.”

If a state doesn't follow their constitution nor the laws of their state in the voting process, allowing another candidate to be elected, then yes the Texas lawsuit is sound because the state has an interest in the election outcome. Texas voted for Trump and allowing other states to unlawfully elect Biden then does disenfranchised the Texas vote. This is common sense where the Supreme Court did not side with the law, but with the corruption of states, allowing corrupt states to decide the presidential election. If the Supreme Court had looked at the issue of election fraud, the presidential election would be overturned which the Supreme Court realized, so they focused on the procedure rather than the merits of the case. They were fearful of the appearances of the Supreme Court overruling the election and the resulting chaos, so they acted cowardly by not standing up for the rule of law! 

HANNAH.

family8plus6sofar, I echo your cry, "Please, WORLD, give [me] a reason to continue subscribing." However, WORLD is a member of the Associated Press, so news stories in The Sift (which are combined into the Roundups) are from the AP. I'm thinking your husband was right. 

For news from better sources than the "main stream media,"  I suggest 
The Epoch Times https://www.theepochtimes.com/ 
Liberty Nation https://www.libertynation.com/ 
Newsmax https://www.newsmax.com/

HANNAH.

Thank you for the link. I go to Epoch Times as well for excellent investigative reporting and timely news not covered by the "mainstream media."

Tim Miller

The FBI is investigating. The Justice Department is not "strangely silent" -- Bill Barr has clearly stated that he has not seen evidence fo widespread voter fraud. 

As far as it being a manipulated election, the Trump campaign is manipulating its supporters by claiming publicly what they will not claim in court. 

Republican officials were present in Detroit, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. They did not file challenges during the counting; only afterward, when Trump had lost, did these affadavits materialize.

But it really is no use. As long as people are convinced in their hearts Trump lost, no amount of evidence will change their minds.

This is why so many of us were uncomfortable with the GOP nominating someone without personal integrity to be a candidate for President. Once you defend someone's lies, in time you come to believe them. The GOP is reaping what it has sown, and I hope the country can withstand it.

family8plus6sofar

AMEN, Mary and RA ~ As you have said, signed affidavits are taken under oath:

"definition: affidavit

noun

LAW

plural noun: affidavits

a written statement confirmed by oath or affirmation, for use as evidence in court."  

So, WHY isn't WORLD Magazine investigating since the "main stream media" just takes the lberals
word for everything rather than investigating?  My husband canceled our WORLD Magazine subscription
a little over four years ago and I convinced him to get it again in Jun/Jul 2019... I'm beginning to think I was wrong to do so.  If WORLD is just going to parrot the secular media in such a case, why are we bothering?  Please, WORLD, give us a reason to continue subscribing.

 

Tim Miller

Here's the bottom line:

The evidence does not matter. 

The message originally was, "Let's count every legal vote," the implication being that hundreds of thousands of votes weren't legal.

The Trump campaign threw out theory after theory ... Dominion, vote dumps, pallets of ballots ... virtually none of which held up in court or out of it.

Trump has had his day in court. (He probably could sue his lawyers for ineffective representation, but that's a different discussion.) He has lost, not just once, but repeatedly.

Trump has made his case to the state legislators in the swing states, through staged hearings and personal conversations.

Trump even got an embattled attorney general to file an unprecedented lawsuit to reject the electoral votes of swing states he lost.

From the Supreme Court on down, the judicial verdict has been clear: Trump is wrong to say, "I won by a lot." He lost the election. Today, he will lose the Electoral College. 

If you will not accept the judgment of not one, but multiple courts; if you will not accept the certified vote results in not one, but multiple states; if you will not accept the verdict of the Electoral College; if you will not accept the will of multiple GOP state legislatures who have declined to challenge their states' results, then I think it's fair to say, you are going by feelings and not by the facts.

Your feelings matter to me; they really do. I have dear friends who are in shock and disgust at what has happened, and they can't imagine how America can disagree with them. I get that. It's legitimate. But your feelings are not evidence, and they don't replace facts.

 

Mary Pray

Thank you RA for pointing out the obvious reasons why so many of us are concerned about the lack of interest by journalist, including World journalist, for taking seriously the allegations made under oath by those that were involved election night.

HANNAH.

In Michigan, courageous people have testified about the election fraud that they witnessed. Of particular focus is a patriotic woman:

RAW: Full Hima Kolanagireddy testimony before Michigan House alleging election fraud | Diya TV - YouTube