By James Molnar
Voters across the country remain puzzled as two starkly opposing accounts of reality are strongly put forward to them. On the one hand, the legacy media has asserted categorically that no significant election fraud has occurred and gone so far as to suggest that claims to the contrary are anti-democratic. This view has also been promoted by social media companies such as Twitter, which have developed a habit of “fact-checking” the president’s tweets regarding the election. Meanwhile, the president and much of the conservative media have held that there was substantial voter fraud and irregularities which systematically swayed the election in favor of Mr. Biden. President Trump has therefore called for a recount in several key states including Georgia and Wisconsin.
So what on earth is going on? The fact of the matter is that we simply do not yet know the extent of voter fraud in this election. Neither we, nor the press, have received anything like the entirety of the facts on this matter. Therefore much of the aforementioned claims, though they have a veneer of certainty, are premature and likely politically motivated. The ultimate decision, and the only one which is actually binding, will be made by the courts after they have thoroughly and objectively weighed the evidence presented. Nonetheless, some evidence has recently come to light.
On November 10th, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel revealed to the press that 500 sworn affidavits have been collected, which allege some 11,000 incidents of voter fraud. An affidavit is a statement which is made under penalty of perjury. This means that if it turns out to be a lie, the claimant can face severe penalties. In Michigan for instance, where many of these affidavits are from, lying in an affidavit constitutes a felony and can result in up to 15 years in prison.
In the affidavits which we have seen so far, various illicit counting practices have been documented. One individual in Michigan alleged that she saw another poll worker repeatedly insert the same ballots, which had tape where their ballot number should have been, into the counting machine. Another reported that they witnessed poll workers “duplicating ballots to incorrect precincts in order to run two ballots through for the same person.”
It is important to note that even if much of this testimony is accurate, it may not be enough to account for Mr. Biden’s win. Therefore, if President Trump hopes to demonstrate that he is in fact the rightful President-elect, he will be tasked not only with providing evidence of voter fraud, but also demonstrating that once we account for its effects, he will have reached the necessary 270 electoral votes.
In addition, while some have denounced the president's allegations of voter fraud as anti-democratic, the ability to legally challenge the results of a U.S. election is actually a vital aspect of a sound democracy. It is also by no means without precedent. After the presidential election of 2000, in which George W. Bush ran against Al Gore, the election results were contested in a legal dispute which ultimately reached the Supreme Court. It took until December 12th of that year, more than a month after election day, to resolve this legal challenge.
It appears that the American people will be put through yet another exercise in tolerating uncertainty as they wait for the final verdict of the 2020 presidential election.
Melanie Moyer '22,