The soporific vision of genial old Joe, eating ice cream and mumbling through an autocued speech, belies what’s actually happening in US politics, which is much closer to knife fights in back alleys and bare-knuckle brawls. Recently one of those smouldering backroom battles, over the key issue of election integrity, spilt out into the public square.
Two separate election integrity reports revealed extensive malpractice, and possibly criminal fraud, in both Georgia (GA) and Arizona (AZ) in the 2020 presidential election.
The mainstream media in both the US and here won’t touch this story, having long ago declared these claims ‘baseless’ conspiracy theories – although leading leftists such as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow regularly badge any new developments as loony, just in case the large minority of US voters who think Trump did win the election start to get any traction. (A May 2021 Reuters poll found 53 per cent of Republicans think Trump won, as do one-quarter of all voters.) Despite the clamp on election fraud reporting, those rebellious deplorables regularly hang ‘Trump Won’ signs at big sports games and freeways, wear their Trump Won tee-shirts (available on Amazon), punch their greenbacks with Trump Won stamps, and more.
The risk to Biden’s legitimacy is obvious and despite pooh-poohing electoral fraud claims as The Big Lie, Democrats remain deeply sensitive on the issue, advancing a bill in Congress to federalise election laws (a state responsibility under the US Constitution) and arguing that any attempt at voter ID laws is voter suppression, and Jim Crow racism to boot. It’s The Big Lie vs Stop the Steal.
A giveaway came a few days ago when Biden went to Pennsylvania (PA) to argue that voting rights were ‘the most significant test for US democracy since the Civil War’. This sudden trip occurred, coincidentally enough, just days after PA Senator Doug Mastriano announced a push to audit PA counties’ elections, along the lines of an enormous audit taking place in Arizona, undertaken by the Arizona Senate and being billed as the gold standard of forensic election inquiry. Coincidentally that same week, the Congressional Democrats announced an inquiry into the firm Cyber Ninjas, who are running Arizona’s election audit. Play-the-man, anyone? The mainstream media may turn a blind eye, but the Democrats know what matters.
Biden’s hyperbole gave Fox’s Tucker Carlson cover to run a report on the Georgia findings – and the details were damning. A non-partisan, long-standing voter integrity group called VoterGA litigated long and hard to get a look at Fulton County’s mail-in ballot images from 3 November, and after analysis, announced the ballot images were ‘riddled with massive errors and provable fraud’, including:
– A 60 per cent error rate: ‘(VoterGA’s) analysis revealed that 923 of 1,539 mail-in ballot batch files contained votes incorrectly reported in Fulton’s official 3 November 2020 results’;
– Duplication of at least 4,255 votes, with the lion’s share going to Biden;
– Seven falsified ballot tally sheets: ‘For example, a batch containing 60 ballot images for Joe Biden, 50 for Donald Trump was reported as 100 for Biden and 0 for Trump’.
Later in the week came the first reveal from the Arizona audit, in a Senate hearing. The results, partial and preliminary, were enough for AZ Senator Wendy Rogers to call for decertification of the election, and AZ Rep Mark Finchem to talk of felonies. Results included:
– 74,243 mail-in ballots with ‘no clear record of being sent out’;
– 11,326 who voted in November, but were not on the rolls until December;
– 18,000 who voted in November but were then removed from the rolls;
– Thousands of duplicate ballots without verifying serial numbers;
– An unpublicised digital breach of the election system in November;
– Ballot papers inconsistent with official ballot paper stock;
– A one-off digital event erasing the security log for the period covering the November election. The auditors reported 37,646 entries into the digital security log for the election management system – which has only eight accounts – on one day, 11 March 2021. Data being kept on a first-in, first-out principle, the digital deluge shoved enough previous data out to hide election security log events before February 2021. Rep. Finchem claims this shows criminal intent.
To put these figures in context, Biden won both states by between ten and thirteen thousand votes
Data can be misinterpreted, of course, and no election is free from voting error. Keeping voter rolls accurate and identifying legal votes are not easy tasks, nor are election procedures simple. Any genuine audit in any country in any election will likely find some mistakes. It’s a question of the number of illegitimate votes and whether they point to systemic fraud and/or failure.
More results will emerge from the Arizona audit over coming weeks, while a myriad of election fraud court cases work their way through US courts. Texas alone has over five hundred election fraud cases pending, while Democrat legislators famously fled the state recently rather than allow voter ID requirements to become Texas state law.
However, the steady accumulation of malfeasance, incompetence and downright embarrassing election errors is having an effect, with some top officials changing their tune. In Georgia the once-steadfast Secretary of State is now urging the firing of Fulton County’s elections director, and even senior Fulton County officials are seeking forensic audits all across Georgia.
This grassroots push for election audits is spreading around the US, especially in swing states. Some states such as Florida, where the infamous ‘hanging chads’ election of 2000 forced an overhaul, seem to run clean elections, while others display Tammany Hall levels of corruption – in Philadelphia in 2020 a Judge of Elections pleaded guilty to charges of vote fraud and bribery to get Democrat candidates elected to judicial positions in 2014, 2015 and 2016.
You might think everyone would want audits to prove an election was fair and transparent and bolster faith in democratic processes, but you’d be wrong. Democrats are fighting to maintain the advantage they won in their Covid-linked changes to election laws and machinery prior to the 2020 election and Republicans are fighting to undo any fraud, and reinstate voter ID safeguards.
Whether a tipping point is reached and some egregious fraud becomes so in-your-face as to be indisputable, and thus breaks out into the legacy media, only time will tell. But it’s fair to say the 2022 electoral battle is already well under way.
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