When Republican governors, attorneys general, and legislators began cobbling together election fraud units after the 2020 presidential elections, it was apparent it would be a waste of time and money. There was scant evidence of election abuse in 2020, and to prove it, there have been practically zero cases found after the recent midterm elections. The actual fraud has been the promotion of the Big Lie, which Republicans have used to raise mountains of money from donors.
No one who is an expert in elections, or anyone who understands how low the GOP is willing to go to suppress voting, ever believed there was a real need for units dedicated to rooting out voter-related fraud—because there never was any.
Paul Smith, senior vice president of the Campaign Legal Center, told HuffPost, “I am not aware of any significant detection of fraud on Election Day, but that’s not surprising … The whole concept of voter impersonation fraud is such a horribly exaggerated problem. It doesn’t change the outcome of the election, it’s a felony, you risk getting put in jail, and you have a high possibility of getting caught. It’s a rare phenomena.”
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It was former President Donald Trump who began the whole “election fraud” shenanigans and the GOP that’s been continuing the manufactured hysteria.
Georgia, Virginia, and Florida have taken up Trump’s bogus mantle of fraud and really run with it. But so far, other than a case in Coffee County, Georgia, where there was an actual breach of voting machines at the direction of Trump, there’s been little to no evidence of fraud by voters or by the elections boards, poll workers, canvassers, or voter outreach programs designed to help people vote by absentee or early ballot. It just doesn’t exist.
In September, Daily Kos’ Joan McCarter described the Coffee County breach.
“Previously released video shows two members of SullivanStrickler, a firm hired by Donald Trump’s attorney Sidney Powell, along with the head of the county Republican Party, entering the Coffee County election office where voting machines were breached. Cathy Latham, the party official, was also one of the 16 fake electors to sign a certificate falsely claiming Trump had won the state of Georgia as part of the Jan. 6 conspiracy,” McCarter writes.
A year or so after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis created an Office of Election Crimes and Security, and just weeks prior to the midterm elections, 15 Black Florida residents were arrested for illegally voting in 2020—12 of whom were registered as Democrats.
LaVon Bracy, the director of democracy for the religious nonprofit agency Faith in Florida, which encourages civic participation, told The Washington Post at the time, “These laws were put in place to intimidate people, and that’s what’s happening … People are just wondering, is it worth it?”
HuffPost reports that in September, Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares also formed an Election Integrity Unit—and this is in a state where in 2021, Republicans won in three statewide elections.
In an op-ed in The Washington Post, Miyares admitted there “was no widespread voter fraud in Virginia or elsewhere in the country” but formed the unit anyway.
As Smith says, despite the fact that there have been no genuine issues of voter fraud, the GOP continues to push the fake narrative and give itself an unnecessary and frightening power during elections.
“It’s a myth that’s created so they can justify making it harder for people to vote,” Smith says.
In fact, most cases of voter fraud, as rare as they were, weren’t even from Democrats—they were from Republican voters.
Three residents at The Villages, a senior community, located just outside of Orlando, Florida—Jay Ketcik, Joan Halstead, and John Rider—were each charged with casting more than one ballot in an election, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
Then there was a Scottsdale, Arizona, man—registered as a Republican—who admitted he’d registered to vote under his dead mother’s name.
And last but not least, let’s not forget Mark Meadows, who was removed from voter rolls in North Carolina after it was discovered he was registered in both Virginia and North Carolina. But then it was discovered he also registered in South Carolina. I mean, who’s trying to commit voter fraud?
As the final results of the 2022 midterm elections came into focus this past week, the lack of clarity in the GOP’s leadership also became apparent. Kerry and Markos break down what this means for Democratic voters going forward and how Donald Trump’s campaign for president is a lose lose proposition for Republicans.