Election Coverage / Government Watch / Politics

Election Integrity and the American Republic

Election integrity and voter fraud have become so controversial that even if you try to discuss them rationally and reasonably, and cite incontrovertible evidence, you will likely be banned by social media platforms and labelled a conspiratorial vote suppressor by the major media organizations that dominate our airwaves.

But ensuring fair and honest elections is fundamental to maintaining a democratic republic and wanting to ensure integrity and security does not make you a vote suppressor. These days, that is simply an inflammatory term used to oppose any and all election reforms that progressives (and certain political consultants) don’t like.

Those same opponents of reforms are constantly claiming that fraud doesn’t happen or is so rare that we don’t need to worry about it. Of course, that brings up the question of how much fraud they think is acceptable, a question to which they never seem to have any answer.

Does election fraud occur? Are there actually individuals willing to cheat in order to win elections or cast a fraudulent vote? Does fraud ever affect election outcomes?

Historical Roots

Those who would answer “no” to those questions don’t know much about our political history, which has been filled with incidents of fraud in our elections. As the U.S. Supreme Court reflected in 2008 in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board when it upheld Indiana’s new voter ID law as constitutional and not a burden on voters:

It remains true…that flagrant examples of such fraud in other parts of the country have been documented throughout this Nation’s history by respected historians and journalists, that occasional examples have surfaced in recent years…that…demonstrate that not only is the risk of voter fraud real but that it could affect the outcome of a close election.

We have close elections all the time in this country, particularly in local elections, and that is where the fraud that sometimes occurs can really make a difference. Like the 2021 city council election in Compton, CA, that was overturned by a judge after she determined that four votes had been cast by voters who didn’t actually live in Compton. The margin of victory was only one vote in that election, and five defendants were convicted of fraud – including the city councilman who won the race by one vote.

Or how about the 2018 Ninth Congressional District race in North Carolina that was overturned by the state board of elections after its investigation found absentee ballot fraud orchestrated by a political consultant and his henchmen? The fraud there was so “pervasive” that it affected the outcome of the election, which had a margin of only 905 votes.

Election Fraud

I have been falsely accused of saying that we have massive election fraud, something I have never said or claimed. We don’t know how much election fraud occurs because of all the vulnerabilities in our system, and anybody who tells you otherwise is simply not telling the truth. But we do know that fraud occurs often enough that we should be concerned about it and take the steps necessary to deter it and make it hard to commit. Voters want both access and security. And contrary to the claims of critics, you can provide both. Making sure that every eligible citizen is able to vote does not prevent you from implementing measures intended to safeguard that vote.

If you doubt that fraud occurs often enough to warrant taking any steps to combat it, check out the Election Fraud Database maintained by the Heritage Foundation, the only one of its kind. This database presents a sampling of recent proven instances of election fraud from across the country. Every case represents an instance in which a public official, usually a prosecutor, thought it serious enough to act upon it. It includes cases where there were criminal convictions, civil penalties, and judicial or other official findings of fraud. Keep in mind that it is not an exhaustive or comprehensive list, nor is it intended to be. It is constantly growing as more cases are added to the almost 1,400 cases that already exist in the database.

Unfortunately, as the database demonstrates, fraud occurs in our elections in a wide variety of ways. That includes the fraudulent use of absentee ballots; voting by ineligible individuals such as aliens and felons; impersonation of registered voters; buying votes; duplicate voting by individuals registered twice, sometimes in the same state and other times in multiple states; false registrations like in the Compton case; and illegal “assistance” of voters where political activists and guns-for-hire are coercing and intimidating voters to cast ballots for particular candidates, not actually assisting them. And even old-fashioned ballot-box stuffing.

Doubt that ballot-box stuffing or vote-buying, which have a long, infamous history in American elections, still occur? Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Michael “Ozzie” Myers, now a political consultant, recently pleaded guilty to bribing local election officials in Philadelphia, his hometown, to stuff ballot boxes in their polling places with fraudulent votes in multiple elections for multiple candidates. Two of those election officials, Domenick Demuro and Marie Benson, who managed several polling places in the City of Brotherly Love, previously pleaded guilty to accepting those bribes and engaging in election fraud. And the chief of police and a member of the city council of Amite, LA, also recently pleaded guilty to organizing and carrying out a conspiracy to pay cash to voters to get themselves and other favored candidates elected.

Of course, not every instance of election fraud is a scheme like these by a group of conspirators to steal an election. In many cases, individuals simply take advantage of the insecure system we have in too many states. Take Melissa Fisher of Quakertown, PA, and Elizabeth Gale of San Diego, CA, who forged the signatures of their deceased mothers on absentee ballots and submitted them to election officials. They got caught, but plenty of others aren’t, due to inadequate safeguards in the election process, as well as neglect and incompetence by election officials.

How Big is the Problem?

The cases in the Heritage database are just the tip of the iceberg. You can’t detect fraud if you aren’t looking for it, and if you don’t have measures in place like an ID requirement, how are you even going to detect it? Also, too many local prosecutors don’t seem to have any interest in actually investigating and prosecuting these crimes when they are discovered.

That latter problem is illustrated by a report released in November 2021 by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (on whose board I serve). The foundation used Florida’s sunshine law to request information from 10 counties on all election officials’ criminal referrals arising out of the 2020 election. Nine counties responded, saying they had sent 156 referrals to local prosecutors about criminal violations of state election law, including instances of double voting and aliens registering and voting. The foundation then checked Florida’s criminal databases and court records and found that none of the cases had been prosecuted. Heritage’s entire database would be about 10 percent larger if just these cases in nine counties had actually been pursued.

Want another clue as to how much bigger this problem is than what is shown in the Heritage database? In 2020, the Public Interest Legal Foundation released a report called “Critical Condition.” The foundation obtained the statewide voter registration list and voter histories from the 2016 and 2018 elections from 42 states, then very carefully set up a complex matching program to compare the states and check the data against other government and commercial databases.

The report documented over 144,000 cases of potential fraud. This included almost 15,000 voters who were recorded by state election officials as having cast ballots after they were dead. They found tens of thousands of individuals who voted twice. They also found 34,000 individuals who voted in either the 2016 or 2018 election whose registered address where they supposedly lived turned out to be gas stations, vacant lots, restaurants, parks, and numerous other obviously fraudulent addresses. Not a single election official or prosecutor in any of the 42 states contacted the foundation to ask that the relevant files on voters in their states be sent to them for investigation. Not a single one.

Is there a Fix?

So, the question becomes – what do we do about this? There are a whole series of steps state legislators and election officials can take to improve security while at the same time maintaining the ability of eligible citizens to easily register and vote. In fact, in February 2021, after the 2020 presidential election, the Heritage Foundation published a list of best practices recommendations for improving the security of the election process.

It includes commonsense recommendations such as requiring an ID to vote–both in-person and absentee–something that many states have already implemented, with a free ID provided to anyone who does not already have one. Contrary to the false claims of opponents, turnout from states that have implemented ID laws, such as Georgia and Indiana, shows that such a requirement does not “suppress” votes.

A 2019 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research that reviewed 10 years of turnout data from across the country concluded that voter ID laws “have no negative effect on registration or turnout, overall or for any group defined by race, gender, age, or party affiliation.” In fact, that point of view–that African Americans and other minorities cannot deal with voter ID or other requirements such as voter registration–is evidence of a patronizingly racist view towards minority voters. Polling shows that the public overwhelmingly supports voter ID (84 percent, to be specific), and that includes a majority of all voters regardless of race, ethnicity, or political affiliation.

But states can also do a much better job of maintaining the accuracy of their voter registration lists by accessing other available information, such as state driver’s license, federal alien, and commercial databases. They need to ban ballot trafficking and not allow third parties, such as political activists, candidates, and party representatives who have a stake in the outcome of the election, from collecting absentee ballots from voters.

The Heritage Foundation has established an Election Integrity Scorecard that grades every state on these standards and provides an easy guide to the public and legislators for improving both access and security in their elections. Of course, the Scorecard just rates the quality of election laws in each state. A law that is not rigorously enforced is not worth the paper it’s written on. It is up to the public to hold their election officials accountable for how those laws are enforced.

Keeping it Non-Partisan

What is most unfortunate is that the issue of election integrity has become so partisan. The claim by the progressive left than any attempts to improve integrity are voter suppression is a relatively new phenomenon. In 2005, the bipartisan National Commission on Federal Election Reform, chaired by former Democratic President Jimmy Carter and former Republican Secretary of State James Baker, issued a report making a long series of recommendations on how to improve the integrity of the election process. Their recommendations included everything from voter ID to better maintenance of voter registration lists –recommendations that today are anathema to reform opponents who label them as voter suppression.

The bottom line is that we can fix the problems that currently exist to protect voters and ensure the honesty of our elections, and we shouldn’t let unfair, unwise, and unjustified opposition prevent us from doing so.

Carter and Baker succinctly summarized the importance of guaranteeing the integrity of our election process in their 2005 report:

Elections are the heart of democracy. They are the instrument for the people to choose leaders and hold them accountable. At the same time, elections are a core public function upon which all other government responsibilities depend. If elections are defective, the entire democratic system is at risk.

Hans A. von Spakovsky is a Senior Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation and Manager of its Election Law Reform Initiative. He is a former Justice Department lawyer and FEC commissioner. He is the coauthor of Our Broken Elections: How the Left Changed the Way You Vote.


Reprinted with Permission from - The Jewish Policy Center by – Hans von Spakovsky

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GTPatriot
3 months ago

I believe in our process. If a recount is required, it can be done. As much as I respect Trump, he
went way too far in declaring the 2020 count illegal. The best thing Trump can do is let it go and concentrate on 2024 while leaving our voting process out of the conversation. If we have any vote
controversy this year, 2022, with Trump not involved, then we certainly need to investigate.

jim pollino
3 months ago

As long as the CIA and it’s minions control the air waves (electronics) there will be no fair elections.

johnh
3 months ago

I see lots of complaints about our elections, but I have yet to see a solution that will take care of some 150-million voters. Cannot believe that Americans do not trust findings 2020 election from our Judicial Branch. Our founding fathers were real smart in setting up 3-branches of govt. so that we have some checks & balances.

Elaine
3 months ago

Go back to Voter ID and paper ballots. Back to voting in person at a poll where your identification and registration listing where checked off by a poll volunteer and then they handed a ballot to you.
Hand counted votes with paper ballots could be recounted if it was a close count and really do we need to have instant results? The Elected candidates do not take office until after the first of the year.
Election Day should be a national holiday so everyone can go to a poll to vote. Only military and disabled would be allowed to cast an absentee ballot (mailed ballot).

Nobody’s Business
3 months ago

We don’t need to have it Bipartisan, almost every instance of voter fraud has favored Democrats. Having a bipartisan over seer of elections will guarantee Democratic fraud and outcomes. I will not talk to my Democrat friends anymore because they are fine with looting, killing, raping, lying , and election cheating and socialism using my money to prop up deadbeats and paying off student loans. That is not the kind of people I chose to be around or call my friends!

Gunny Joe
3 months ago

I lost all respect for the Heritage Foundation when they sat on the side lines after the last election. The same is true for the RNC. IMHO there was much not done to correct the results by either of those organizations. By what I saw from the news media, it’s my opinion that ANTIFA and BLM was what started Jan 6.

johnh
3 months ago

I believe the 2020 election was fair due to the findings of no fraud by several courts & AG Bill Barr. Any other belief is conspiracy theory…

lawrence greenberg
3 months ago

How much voting fraud is acceptable to the Left? As much as is necessary for them to continue stealing elections.

Al Koppen
3 months ago

A little disappointing that they didnt even mention the 2,000 mules expose.

K. Martin
3 months ago

Are there any cases in which, when election fraud has been determined and the culprit(s) caught and punished (albeit what I’ve seen are “slaps on the wrists,” i.e., a short prison stint and/or monetary fine) wherein the actual election results have been overturned or a new election done?

anna hubert
3 months ago

The problem itself is not a problem The unwillingness to solve it is Personal ID and proof of citizenship is a simple solution will it be implemented,no.There will be usual hewing and hemming and spewing from “officials” but not doing

Jeb
3 months ago

Will I vote….absolutely yes. Do I trust the way my vote is being handled…no. So….here we are. I bet I am not alone.

Stephen Russell
3 months ago

NO EI= No Republic

Nick
3 months ago

I’m genuinely curious to see whether voter fraud will be investigated on the GOP side if Trump fails to win a competitive nomination.

I had thought the chances of this were slim, for various reasons, but now I’m not so sure. Bad blood between Trump and DeSantis continues to build, with Trump loudly touting his superior poll numbers and DeSantis pointedly refusing to say whether he’d step aside if Trump ran.

If they both run for the nomination, then clearly the battle will be bloody. Doesn’t matter how many other contenders there are — 20, 30, 40 — DeSantis will be the non-Trump frontrunner, which means Trump will go for his throat from the get-go.

Would DeSantis step aside to prevent all this from happening? Maybe, maybe not. Personally I think he’d be an idiot to step back. Even if he did so on his own volition with zero pressuring or cajoling, Trump will go around telling everyone, “I told Ron not to run if he knew what was good for him.” And if DeSantis thinks Trump would repay his loyalty by stumping for him in 2024, then I have several bridges to sell him. Trump is incapable of being loyal even when it’s in his best interest. Not saying it’s a complete liability since lots of voters seem to love him precisely because he’s so willing to burn bridges at the smallest slight. But he does not make strategic alliances. Other people try to make strategic alliances with *him*, and even publicly act like they’ve done so (see: the RNC) but he never feels bound to them in the slightest.

A Trump/DeSantis ticket? Goodness no. With Pence, Trump chose the most demure, non-threatening, no-ambition flunky he could possibly find and — in Trump’s opinion, as well as most of Trump’s followers’ opinions — Pence turned out to be a horrible backstabber. Choosing a VP who openly wants and even expects to be President? The most popular Republican in the country aside from Trump himself? C’mon. You’ve all seen All About Eve. If anything, Trump will be the first candidate since Martin Van Buren to run without a running mate. (Yes, this is allowed, and it would also pave the way for others to run for Vice President without a presidential running mate, which is also allowed. Thanks, Google!) Otherwise, he will choose a complete unknown, or maybe one of his children — just kidding; he doesn’t trust them either.

Which brings us back around to the possibility that DeSantis simply beats Trump fair and square for the GOP nomination. Would Trump accept those results? Maybe, but it would be the very first time he has accepted a competitive loss of virtually any kind, and I’m including golf and IQ tests here. What kind of case would he have there? Would the GOP be forced to go along with it? There would be no national apparatus to investigate since the nomination is not actually an election and it does not need to be determined by votes, so the GOP would have to investigate internally — they could refuse, but that would make Trump an even more powerful enemy. Or they could do it, which would undermine DeSantis as the actual candidate.

Anyway, it will be interesting. I’ve got the popcorn ready.

PaulE
3 months ago
Reply to  Nick

Thanks for your perspective from the Democrat side of things Nick. Either Trump or DeSantis would be fine in 2024 for most people voting Republican. We generally are not fixated on personalities as much as what the policies will be implemented from the person. DeSantis would copy most, if not all, of Trump’s policies. It is simply a question who would be better able to stand up to the unrelenting 24×7 attacks and obstruction coming from Democrat side, that will be leveled at whoever gets the Republican nomination. Thanks for your concern.

So given that even the DNC or even a significant number of Democrat voters don’t want Biden or Harris to run for POTUS in 2024, who are you folks on the Democrat side hoping will jump in to try to save the day? The assortment of names being thrown around is already something like 20 or 25 that are being mentioned. Keeping in mind that person would have to own and try to correct the several train wrecks that Biden has created on the southern border, inflation, rising interest rates, a soon to be completely depleted SPR, multiple national security concerns related to China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, and several south american countries with newly elected socialist governments, as well as the after effects of the recession and a much higher jobless rate the Federal Reserve will undoubtedly create by early 2023.

Nick
3 months ago
Reply to  PaulE

Even a few months ago I would have been hoping for Biden not to run, but now he’s on a roll and I’d be happy to vote for him again. He’s delivering the progressive red meat — student loan forgiveness (slowly but surely); decriminalization of marijuana; strongly and unconditionally denouncing MAGA as the threat that it is. He may be older than any of us would prefer, but that also means the DNC has nothing to threaten him with. If we can do well in the midterms and deliver a stronger majority in Congress, he’ll have more ammunition to keep up the leftward pivot (and play as tough as he needs to with Manchin).

So yeah, I’m hopeful. #DarkBrandon

PaulE
3 months ago
Reply to  Nick

Thanks for your honest reply. As always, it is appreciated. If nothing else, it does show to other readers here, who live in a fantasy world of hoping for some grand bi-partisan comprise, just how far apart the two sides are in terms of what is viewed as major national priorities in need of attention. Again, thanks for your honesty.

Philip Hammersley
3 months ago
Reply to  Nick

Nick, You need to go back on your psych meds!

Gunny Joe
3 months ago

Sir it’s a free Nation, but shallow minded comments do not represent what we need. PaulE comments are. I don’t like nor never have liked mr biden, we’re by some fluke, any of my awards be upgrade to the point mister biden would present that upgrade to me, I would be a no show!
But a personal attack is not called for, use a logical argument on point and with facts is how to prevail.

Nick
3 months ago

Philip – I take Lexapro and Concerta and they both work great. Can’t imagine ever going off them.

johnh
3 months ago
Reply to  Nick

Biden’s war on Fossil Fuels is causing great harm to America & he refuses to admit that he is responsible for rising energy prices. COME ON MAN !!!!

johnh
3 months ago
Reply to  Nick

Trump has a personality that clashes with anyone that is smarter than him & really resents it if someone is more popular or has a bigger parade than him. Therefore, this will not be a friendly battle & will decide what Republican party wants to be in the future.

Tom
3 months ago

Please note the hundred of millions spent of your money by the democrats to buy pvotes. Now it’s Mary Jane users in prison to be pardoned. They may pull it off and we either live with it or move. People like someone else paying their bills and give up your and their freedoms to continue the money flow. After election the need is over and maybe the money ends. But what are we going to do to take our republic back???

Karen X Fox
3 months ago
Reply to  Tom

Someone else paying their bills? You mean like Ron DeSantis begging for free federal money from Biden and his “socialists?” DeSantis sure hates socialism until it benefits him. Just like Herschel Walker being against abortion…except the ones he wants.

PaulE
4 months ago

Kind of more than a little late to be concerned with election integrity at this point folks. We have what we have at this point and have to just turn out in sufficient numbers to make any large scale fraud obvious to the point that it will be difficult for the MSM to bury it this time around. Absent that, it’s all a coin toss for the republic at this point.

David Millikan
4 months ago

This Election is about the Republic whether we Keep it or Lose it. Do NOT doubt it.
We will be either the United States of America, or the Communist States of Amerika?
VOTE!

Karen X Fox
3 months ago
Reply to  David Millikan

Communists? Yo, Dave…the 1960’s called, they want their boogeyman back!

Dave
3 months ago
Reply to  Karen X Fox

That was good Karen. U might want to face reality in 2022.

Karen X Fox
3 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Snowflakes bellyaching about communism. Sad.

Nick
3 months ago
Reply to  Karen X Fox

They really need to do better with the anti-communism! We have socialized fire departments, police forces, military, highways… the Red Scare won’t be over until folks are putting out house fires with bottles of Crystal Geyser and signing up for Amazon Road to be allowed to drive to work!

Karen X Fox
3 months ago
Reply to  Dave

Oh, and it’s “MRS. FOX” to you, sir.

Philip Hammersley
3 months ago
Reply to  Karen X Fox

You need to sign up for socialist AARP! Is Georgie Soros paying for your AMAC membership?

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