Don’t Trust DC on Election Integrity

Source: The American Conservative

As inflation continues to soar and the economy continues to fall, Beltway elitists continue to dismiss what was one of the most obvious examples of voter fraud in the history of the United States: the 2020 Presidential Election.

Voter fraud has been with us for millennia, but the 2020 election was especially alarming. In 2020, a number of swing states changed the election rules and procedures, which compromised the security protections of the process. Several states sent out millions of ballots in the mail, causing confusion and obfuscating the tracking and authentication of those ballots. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg famously infused hundreds of millions of dollars deemed “Zuckerbucks” into local elections. This created unreliable and troubling outcomes in the election and caused distortions of the rules in swing-state big cities such as Phoenix, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee.

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President Donald Trump rightly focused on the problem of election integrity long before the 2020 election; it was a subject that had motivated him for years. In May 2017, President Trump announced the creation of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, with Vice President Mike Pence in a titular role as chairman. Although Pence did not get involved personally, he did provide his own staff to serve as the staff of the Commission. The real leader was the vice chairman, conservative Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach—a well-known crusader against voter fraud.  

The Commission also included recognized experts in the field, such as author Hans von Spakovsky, election attorney J. Christian Adams, and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell. If any presidential commission could make a dent in the problem of voter fraud, this was it.

The Commission made headlines at its initial meetings in July and September of 2017, presenting over 900 cases in which individuals had been convicted of election crimes, and showcasing a study that revealed thousands of cases of double voting in the 2016 election.

Not surprisingly, the left was worried. Other items on the Commission’s to-do list were to study the election system in Philadelphia and to compare government databases to determine the number of noncitizens on the voter rolls. If the Commission had been allowed to continue, the machinery of voter fraud could have been exposed to broad daylight.

In an effort to stop the Commission, the left engaged in full-scale lawfare. An unholy alliance of activist groups including the ACLU, the Lawyers’ Committee on Civil Rights, Common Cause, and the NAACP filed numerous lawsuits to hamper the Commission’s work. No other presidential commission had been thwarted by so many lawsuits. Though they failed to stop the Commission from meeting and publicizing its research, and though many of the lawsuits’ meritless claims were eventually rejected by judges, the lawfare succeeded in diverting the work of the Commission’s staff.

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Nevertheless, the Commission soldiered on. The mission was too important to stop. Until it wasn’t. Suddenly, on January 3, 2018, the White House announced that the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity was shutting down. The White House press office tried to explain the move by saying that the Department of Homeland Security could continue the Commission’s work. That never happened.

The backstory was that the plug was pulled on the Commission by Pence and his staff.  President Trump and the commissioners weren’t even informed in advance. This was another of President Trump’s priorities quietly sabotaged by the Swamp.

In 2020, the RNC and Trump campaign were hearing from people in the field who complained about changes to election procedures. These changes were inconsistent with state regulations and vulnerable to fraud. Instead of effectively addressing the problems, the RNC and Trump campaign—under the control of Jared Kushner—poured money into the coffers of their legal buddies, who appeared to do nothing to remedy the irregularities. By the time many of the people on the ground were fully aware of the magnitude of the irregularities, the election was over.

The RNC and Trump campaign are still raising huge sums of money, allegedly to correct the election problems. According to a number of people on the ground, however, these RNC election integrity projects consist of paying Swampers lots of money to slow-walk “solutions”—Washington Kabuki theater at its finest.

The RNC and Trump campaign’s willful inaction in 2020 changed the nature of the possible solution. If legal challenges to the unconstitutional changes in election procedures had been pursued in the summer and fall of 2020, the courts would have been presented with simple judicial stays of the unconstitutional procedures; this is not a big lift for a judge.

Because Republicans failed to take action before the election, however, these judges were being asked to change the outcome of an election that had already taken place. It is hard to understate how difficult it is for a judge (many are elected themselves) to nullify an election. This is especially true when there were unpursued remedies available before the election occurred. A number of the cases were denied specifically because the court ruled the plaintiffs failed to act when they were aware of the problems before the election. It is a longstanding legal concept: laches.

As has been the long and bitter experience, the Swamp pocketed the millions and nothing effective was done. This process of stalling was also an effective tool to keep Trump supporters out of the administration: slow-walk until it is too late. The consequences of this grift were only apparent to the MAGA loyalists at the time, and the general public was kept in the dark. If the Commission had been allowed to continue its work, expose the nature and scale of election fraud, and recommend appropriate solutions to protect the integrity of the election, the 2020 election confusion would have been mitigated. 

To this day, many in Trump’s orbit continue to downplay the gravity of the election fraud that occurred in 2020. During his June 13, 2022, testimony to the January 6th Commission, Trump’s former campaign manager, Bill Stepien, indicated that he was too concerned with his professional reputation to fight the fraud. 

Since the election, Trump’s team and the Republican National Committee together raised $280 million by claiming election fraud and seeking support to fight the 2020 results, but reported spending only about $13 million on legal expenses, filings show. Deja vu all over again.

There is no way we will be able to undo the RNC and Trump campaign’s failures of 2020, but we can learn from their example. We cannot rely on the Swamp to do anything but raise money with false promises.

We have to work to provide an environment for elections with integrity at the state and local level. The Constitution places the power for election management in the states. There are a number of sources for good model state legislation, and local groups can and should put pressure on their county supervisors of election to follow the rules. Cleaning up the voter files would go a long way to reducing fraud.

When it comes to election integrity, do not trust or be distracted by Washington-based organizations. Pay attention close to home.