Politics

Explaining, Evaluating, and Debunking alleged cases of voter fraud in the 2020 election

PHOTO CREDITS: THE BOSTON GLOBE

Amidst the election coming to a close and tensions running high across the United States, suspicions of voter fraud have begun to surface, with many cases being debunked and others currently being investigated.

Accusations of voter fraud began on the second day of the election after Biden received a large amount of votes in both Michigan and Wisconsin. According to The Federalist, 138,339 votes went to Biden in Michigan overnight, while Trump did not receive a single vote. Right-wing political figures such as Sean Davis and Matt Walsh pointed out this peculiarity on Twitter. Though this instance was later fixed, with Michigan officials calling the error a typo, many accusations of voter fraud are currently being investigated and are ongoing, while others have been debunked and dismissed

The posts in question were almost immediately flagged by Twitter’s support team. In response to the rising questions, Decision Desk HQ said to Buzzfeed, “It was a simple error from a file created by the state that we ingested. DDHQ does not correct / amend / adjust any state provided file. The state noticed the error and produced an updated count. This happens on election nights and we expect other vote tabulators in MI experienced this error and corrected in real-time as we did.”

On Wednesday, Donald Trump’s campaign team demanded a recount in Wisconsin. Bill Stepien, Trump’s campaign manager, in a statement said the following: “Despite ridiculous public polling used as a voter suppression tactic, Wisconsin has been a razor thin race as we always knew that it would be.There have been reports of irregularities in several Wisconsin counties which raise serious doubts about the validity of the results. The president is well within the threshold to request a recount and we will immediately do so.” Other suspicions began to arise in counties such as Antrim, Michigan, a notably republican county, where Trump beat Hillary by 30 points in 2016,  was now leaning heavily blue, ahead of Trump by 29 points. Once the news caught national attention, election officials began to investigate the “skewed results”.

On November 5th, a law firm working with Donald Trump’s campaign team identified over 6,000 illegal votes in Nevada. The law firm sent a letter to Clark County alleging voter fraud, claiming that illegitimate votes were casted. John Roberts released the letter via Twitter, saying, “Indeed, we have initially identified 3,062 voters who moved from Nevada before the election but still cast ballots in this election. We have verified this by cross-referencing the list of general election voters with publicly available change of address records. For instance, demographic experts agree that the National Change of Address database only captures about one-third of relocations. Consequently, this number will likely grow by 6,000 voters, at minimum.”

Additionally, a report by LawEnforceMent Today revealed that over 223,000 mail-in ballots were sent to the wrong address in the state of Nevada. This discovery was found by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), an election support group. Logan Churchwell, Communications Director for PILF said, “Nevada’s voter rolls aren’t maintained to the standard required for an all-mail experience like Oregon or Washington.  The Nevada governor is foolish to think he can replicate his regional neighbor’s years of development and practices with mail voting in a matter of months with a weekend emergency bill.”

According to the New York Post, Ballots have been mailed in to the New York City Board of Elections in the name of dead voters. Records show that the elections board received an absentee ballot from Frances Reckhow of Staten Island, a registered Democrat. The BOE mailed an absentee ballot requested by Frances M. Reckhow of Bedell Avenue on Sept. 24. Reckhow supposedly mailed the ballot back on Oct. 6 and the BOE received it and declared it valid on Oct. 8, tracking records show. However, Frances Reckhow, who was born on July 6, 1915, and would be 105 today, died in 2012, according to an obituary filed with the Staten Island Advance. Her daughter, Carol Huben – a registered Republican, according to voting records – is listed as residing at the same address as her late mother. The Board of Elections said it will look into it.

An absentee ballot was also mailed from a Gertrude Nizzere, also a registered Democrat, who was born on Feb. 7, 1919, and would be 101 today. The BOE said someone identifying as Gertrude Nizzere, with an address of Shore Road in Brooklyn, requested an absentee ballot in September. Records show the Nizzere ballot was mailed on Oct. 9 and it was received by the BOE on Oct.13, which declared the ballot valid on Oct. 25. But after further review, the agency on Oct. 30 declared the Nizzere ballot “Invalid” because a search found the voter was “Deceased,” its records show. Nizzere died on July 4, 2016, and is buried in Calverton cemetery.

Filling out a ballot in a dead person’s name is fraud and has resulted in prosecutions elsewhere, including recently on Long Island, where a voter was accused of forging his dead mom’s name on an absentee ballot. The Staten Island Republican Party, which is closely scrutinizing absentee ballots, flagged the two records to The Post and is referring the matter to the police and Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon’s office. “People should be on the alert for dead people voting. There are people using the names of dead voters to cast ballots,” said Staten Island GOP chairman Brendan Lantry. “I believe this is just the tip of the iceberg,” said Lantry. “We’re requesting that the NYPD and the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office investigate.”

According to a recent lawsuit filed Thursday by the Public Interest Legal Foundation, there are at least 21,000 dead people on the state of Pennsylvania’s voter rolls. The lawsuit alleges that there are at least 21,000 dead people on Pennsylvania’s voter rolls and claims that Pennsylvania failed to “reasonably maintain” their voter registration records under federal and state law in time for the 2020 presidential election.

Both sides are permitted by law to observe the counting of ballots to ensure honesty and transparency. Republican poll watchers in multiple states were reportedly denied meaningful access to observe the ballot counts. 

The law requires both sides to be able to observe the ballot counting in a manner that allows campaigns to ensure fairness. Even in competitions where ballots are counted and where the results have far less impact than a presidential election, an observer from each team is allowed access to the tabulation room to inspect the ballots to ensure accuracy in the count. 

Though former Vice President Joe Biden has been deemed the winner of the presidential election, defeating President Trump, the media does not have the power to decide the outcome of American elections, and Biden will not officially be inaugurated until January 20, unless evidence arises that would prevent him from doing so. 

None of the legal fights currently being waged are new. According to Fox News, our nation went through a legal challenge to the results in Florida during the 2000 presidential election between then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush and then-Vice President Al Gore, for example. Twenty years ago, news organizations said Gore won and would become the next president of the United States. Legal challenges by the Bush campaign went all the way to the Supreme Court where they determined that George W. Bush won the election. 

ARTICLE: YULIANIE HERNANDEZ

POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

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