FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why Trump is Doubling Down on the Voter Fraud Fraud

by

“In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide,” US president-elect Donald Trump tweeted in late November, “I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” Kind of a sore winner. And now that he’s no longer just president-elect but actually president, he’s doubling down and says he “will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD …”

That’s dumb. And dangerous.

Dumb because voter fraud is almost non-existent. There are rare cases in which individuals will try to vote illegally. Former Republican congressman Todd Akin of Missouri, for example, who got caught voting at his old polling place after moving, presumably to hide the move from his constituents and opponents. But the key word is “rare.”

Voter fraud is not a strategy used by candidates and campaigns to move the needle on election results. Why? Because it’s just about the most expensive, burdensome, unreliable and risky way imaginable to do that. A successful voter fraud operation on any scale would require rounding up a whole bunch of people, trusting those people to cast the votes desired instead of just voting however they wanted to vote, and risking any or all of them getting caught (or sprouting a conscience) and blowing the operation. Too many co-conspirators and too many ways for things to go south fast and hard.

If we remove the letter “r” from the end of “voter,” things make more sense. Yes, elections are sometimes rigged. But they’re not rigged the hard way, by impersonating voters.

In some cases they’re rigged at the level of counting votes. Why recruit millions of voters as co-conspirators when a few key election workers (or voting machine programmers) are easier to find, probably more reliable, and far less vulnerable to detection?

In other cases they’re rigged by suppressing the other party’s turnout through fraud (for example, robocalls giving the wrong election date or mailings of fake absentee ballots with the wrong return address) or by law.

Which brings us to the danger of the “investigation” Trump is calling for: Its real purpose isn’t to uncover the truth, but rather to build support for “voter identification” laws.

Some, including me, have described these attempts to impose new and more onerous government identification schemes in the name of “fighting voter fraud” as a solution for a problem that doesn’t exist, but that’s not really accurate. It’s a solution to a problem. Not the problem of ineligible voters. The problem of eligible voters who don’t vote Republican.

Instead of this fake “investigation,” wouldn’t it be cheaper, and more honest, to just put a beige sign outside every polling place? As in: “You must be this pale to vote.”

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
April 28, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Slandering Populism: a Chilling Media Habit
Andrew Levine
Why I Fear and Loathe Trump Even More Now Than On Election Day
Jeffrey St. Clair
Mountain of Tears: the Vanishing Glaciers of the Pacific Northwest
Philippe Marlière
The Neoliberal or the Fascist? What Should French Progressives Do?
Conn Hallinan
America’s New Nuclear Missile Endangers the World
Peter Linebaugh
Omnia Sunt Communia: May Day 2017
Vijay Prashad
Reckless in the White House
Brian Cloughley
Who Benefits From Prolonged Warfare?
Kathy Kelly
The Shame of Killing Innocent People
Ron Jacobs
Hate Speech as Free Speech: How Does That Work, Exactly?
Andre Vltchek
Middle Eastern Surgeon Speaks About “Ecology of War”
Mike Whitney
Putin’s New World Order
Matt Rubenstein
Which Witch Hunt? Liberal Disanalogies
Sami Awad - Yoav Litvin - Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Never Give Up: Nonviolent Civilian Resistance, Healing and Active Hope in the Holyland
Pete Dolack
Tribunal Finds Monsanto an Abuser of Human Rights and Environment
Christopher Ketcham
The Coyote Hunt
Ramzy Baroud
Palestinian, Jewish Voices Must Jointly Challenge Israel’s Past
Ralph Nader
Trump’s 100 Days of Rage and Rapacity
Harvey Wasserman
Marine Le Pen Is a Fascist—Not a ‘Right-Wing Populist,’ Which Is a Contradiction in Terms
William Hawes
World War Whatever
John Stanton
War With North Korea: No Joke
Jim Goodman
NAFTA Needs to be Replaced, Not Renegotiated
Murray Dobbin
What is the Antidote to Trumpism?
Louis Proyect
Left Power in an Age of Capitalist Decay
Medea Benjamin
Women Beware: Saudi Arabia Charged with Shaping Global Standards for Women’s Equality
Rev. William Alberts
Selling Spiritual Care
Peter Lee
Invasion of the Pretty People, Kamala Harris Edition
Cal Winslow
A Special Obscenity: “Guernica” Today
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey’s Kurdish Agenda
Guillermo R. Gil
The Senator Visits Río Piedras
Jeff Mackler
Mumia Abu-Jamal Fights for a New Trial and Freedom 
Cesar Chelala
The Responsibility of Rich Countries in Yemen’s Crisis
Leslie Watson Malachi
Women’s Health is on the Chopping Block, Again
Basav Sen
The Coal Industry is a Job Killer
Judith Bello
Rojava, a Popular Imperial Project
Robert Koehler
A Public Plan for Peace
Sam Pizzigati
The Insider Who Blew the Whistle on Corporate Greed
Jesse Jackson
Jeff Sessions is Rolling Back Basic Rights
Nyla Ali Khan
There Has to be a Way Out of the Labyrinth
Rivera Sun
Blind Slogans and Shallow Greatness
Michael J. Sainato
Trump Scales Back Antiquities Act, Which Helped to Create National Parks
Stu Harrison
Under Duterte, Filipino Youth Struggle for Real Change
Martin Billheimer
Balm for Goat’s Milk
Stephen Martin
Spooky Cookies and Algorithmic Steps Dystopian
Michael Doliner
Thank You Note
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail