Voter Fraud: Yes, We’re Still Waiting For It To Happen

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Here’s a piece from Kevin Williamson today. This is the entire post:

That Thing That Never Happens but Keeps Happening

While I’m on the subject of Texas politics: You know that voting fraud that our Democratic friends are always indignantly insisting does not exist? A former Democratic-party official in Texas has been named as the financier behind a voting-fraud ring that has resulted in four arrests and dozens of felony indictments. The fax machine that prosecutors say was used to transmit fraudulent voting applications belonged to a former Fort Worth elected official, who, as you will guess, is not a Republican.

Voter fraud! I figured I had to check it out, which I did via the clever investigatory mechanism of clicking the link. Here’s what I dug up:

  • The fraud that Democrats say “never happens” is a very specific type of voter fraud: in-person voting under a false name. This is the fraud that motivates photo ID laws.
  • The fraud that Democrats say we should take seriously is mail-in ballot fraud. However, Republicans don’t like to worry about this because mail-in voters tend to be middle-class Republicans.
  • The fraud that allegedly happened in Texas was mail-in ballot fraud.

You can stop now if you want since it’s already obvious that nothing much happened here. But there’s more:

  • The main allegations aren’t related to voting at all. They’re aimed at faxed applications for mail-in ballots. In other words, it’s related to the standard-issue voter canvassing that’s a big part of GOTV operations for both parties in nearly all elections.
  • Vote canvassers are usually paid by the local party, so there’s nothing odd about the fact that they received money “from funds.” In fact, the local party probably paid dozens or hundreds of canvassers.
  • A specific group of four canvassers was indicted. Neither of the Democratic officials Williamson mentions was part of the indictment.
  • It’s not uncommon for aggressive canvassers to push the boundaries of the law, which includes altering ballot applications if the voter filled out part of it wrong. If this actually happened, it’s a bad thing but hardly the end of the world.
  • From the Star-Telegram story: “The state’s notice also accuses Sanchez of illegally voting by marking ballots or encouraging others to mark ballots in more than a dozen instances without the voter’s consent or knowledge. She is only charged, however, with one count of illegal voting and 16 counts of providing false information on an application. She also is accused in the notice of committing, or aiding others in committing, more than 100 counts each of forgery, tampering with a governmental record and providing false information on an application.”
  • Note also that these are only charges. No one has actually been convicted of anything yet.

According to Texas Gov. Greg Abbot, “Largest Voter fraud Investigation in Texas History Underway in Tarrant County. We will crush illegal voting.” Golly. If this is the biggest voter fraud investigation ever in a state with a population of 30 million, I think we can all breathe a sigh of relief at just how honest our elections are.

After that we can go back to asking Republicans for examples of in-person vote fraud. Then, after we’ve finished watching the paint dry, the grass grow, and downloaded Facebook over a 300 baud modem, we can go about our business. Because they don’t have any examples. As in this case, it always turns out to be something else.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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