Stolen, Stealing, and Procedure

I’m not a Democrat. By virtue of not being a Democrat, my first reaction when an election doesn’t go my way is not to claim the election was stolen or question the legitimacy of the election. I want to address real concerns about the election and the possibility of a stolen election, but I need you to understand that first.

Democrats, to this day and despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, are convinced the Russians stole the 2016 election. I am just not going to stoop to their level. The President is behind by 3.5 million votes nationwide and that will impact the Electoral College.

But that isn’t to say there are legitimate concerns.

Vote Fraud

I was an elections lawyer for five years. I have seen vote fraud. The very same American media outlets that tell you the GOP was going to get annihilated and is a small regional party unable to attract non-white votes is the very same media that tells you voter fraud does not happen. They tell you that because Democrats assure them that is the case.

I have seen vote fraud. I have defended elections and challenged elections based on allegations of vote fraud. It is real.

There are races, particularly at the local level, that can have votes manufactured enough to matter. The question is whether vote fraud can happen at scale in races and go undetected. Based on my experience, I am skeptical any group can manufacture 100,000 votes without getting caught.

But I have no doubt we will find instances of vote fraud from local officials in this election and the media would be better off investigating than dismissing claims.

Process Integrity

This is where the President has a legitimate grievance that everyone should take seriously.

In Michigan and Pennsylvania, there are already several instances where local officials are trying to block Republican observers from witnesses the vote counting. The counting requires bipartisan eyes to make sure neither side gets too cute with the vote.

That there are already documented instances of this happening means we need to take seriously concerns about the integrity of the process and also acknowledge that Democrats in, for example, Nevada or Allegheny County, PA, dragging their feet raise doubts and they need to be examined.

Rules

In some states, election rules require that no votes be accepted after election day. In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has chosen to reject that pre-existing rule and that should be challenged.

Likewise, counting votes without clear postmarks should be prohibited and to the extent that is happening, it needs to be stopped.

Lastly, absentee ballots require signatures. There are reports of some ballots being processed that lacked signatures. They need to be rejected and the President’s team is right to try to block those votes from being counted.

Any attempt to accept any ballot contrary to the laws and rule that existed the day before the election should be fought ruthlessly by President Trump’s legal team.

Flawless Elections

No election is flawless. Regardless of the state, the county, and the procedures employed, mistakes happen and sometimes those mistakes are willful. The issue, overwhelmingly, comes down to two points.

First, is the process transparent? Are both sides allowed access to observe? If not, sue.

Second, are the rules that were in place before the election still in place? If not, sue. Partisans on courts are no better than partisans in local government. They too can try to steer corrupt changes to benefit their side. Federal courts should become involved and so should the Department of Justice if that happens.

Mistakes happen. They need to be fixed. Maliciously making mistakes to alter the election should require jail time for the offender.

The Count

Ultimately, what we need to determine is which are the lawful and legitimate votes. In Pennsylvania, for example, there appears to be a massive pile of absentee votes that were (1) submitted before the election by (2) legitimately registered voters that (3) signed their ballots and (4) are not disputed.

Those ballots should be counted. If they affect the results, they affect the results.

Then determine the propriety of the other ballots.

All legally cast and lawful ballots collected by Election Day should be counted. I continue to be unpersuaded that the Democrats could manufacture, for example, 148,000 votes in Michigan for Joe Biden, the current gap between the candidates. No, there were not 130,000 miraculously found votes for Biden. Contrary to what you read on the internet, that has been proven by both the GOP and Democrats to have been a data error. There are a whole lot of people willfully lying to keep passions and energy engaged and I want not part of that.

I realize I will no more dissuade partisans on the right that the election was not stolen than partisans on the left that their “Russia stole it” narrative was a mess. I maintain the President has the right to file lawsuits to challenge the process and ensure both the integrity of the process and the transparency of the process. But I’m not willing to conclude the Democrats have stolen the election based on the evidence revealed thus far. I’m sorry if that upsets you, but I’m not a Democrat so I don’t rush to immediately delegitimize elections that don’t go my way.