January 24th, 2022

Voter Fraud Is Not The Same as Election Fraud

Election fraud is alive and well in America, and has been thriving for decades if not longer. It's millions of times bigger than voter fraud. And this appalling fact means that American elections absolutely are rigged. Trump was right about that, but of course he was lying about who was rigging them and how. Unfortunately the Democratic Party leadership fails to point out these simple and glaringly obvious facts, stupidly insisting simply that elections aren't rigged, that elections in America are honest, merely because the vote counting is incredibly accurate. Or rather, it has been in all recent elections — the future on that score is looking quite uncertain, however.

Typical voter fraud occurs when the occasional voter has an extra ballot that got mailed to their dead relative and they decide to cast the ballot in the relative's name. This earns the voter essentially nothing and subjects them to prosecution for an easily provable felony. Obviously almost nobody would ever do that. In each U.S. election, there are but a handful of such cases out of tens of millions of ballots cast and they never make any difference in an election.

Election fraud on the other hand takes dozens of forms and is very widely and aggressively practiced in the United States by the leaders and operatives of the Republican Party. Election fraud has routinely resulted in Republican candidates getting elected fraudulently, but not because the votes cast weren't counted accurately. The GOP propaganda that says that inaccurate vote counting is the problem with our elections is itself a major facet of their ongoing election fraud efforts.

Elections have many facets. For an election to be "free and fair", i.e. for it to be a real, proper and fair election, with no cheating, it has to have all of these features and more:

1) All citizens above the minimum voting age must be eligible to vote, except in such extraordinary circumstances as while a person is incarcerated for a relatively serious crime. (even this exception should be regarded with suspicion)

2) All eligible voters should be automatically registered to vote and/or voter registration should be strongly encouraged, very easy for everyone to do and present no obstacle whatever to voting. The threat of any given citizen double-voting is so infinitesimal that any activity that discards voter registrations must be regarded skeptically as it is A) Only trivially useful and then only for cleaning up registrations that are no longer of use to the voter, and B) Also likely to represent a serious threat to an actual right to vote.

3) All voters must be provided by their state and local governments with rich and accurate descriptions of the many choices to be made on ballots and to have easy access to endorsements and statements of candidates for office.

4) Ballot initiatives and other choices available to voters must have any major financial supporters identified, in the case that we continue to fail to have clean, publicly-funded elections.

5) All voters must have handy and safe voting locations and vote-by-mail options, and must never be required to wait in line to vote for more than a few minutes.

6) Election Day must be a national holiday so that all voters can be certain to have plenty of time to vote.

7) Extensive and convenient periods for early voting must be provided.

8) Only universally easy-to-acquire forms of ID should ever be required for use at the polls.

9) Elections must be publicly financed, preferably by a matching system, so that public support can easily and thoroughly displace the big money spending that results in politicians being bought and paid for. The Congress is for sale and We The People have to be the ones to buy it (and thus to own it, so that it works for us, instead of for the big money corrupters). Buying the Congress is unbelievably cheap. Failing to buy it is unbelievably expensive. For every dollar we spend successfully funding elections using a matching system which amplifies the support of very large numbers of citizens we save thousands of dollars that would otherwise get stolen from us by the corrupt fraction of the politicians. As of the 2014 mid-term elections for the U.S. Congress (House and Senate both) the total annual cost of electing all of the candidates on the ballot (all House seats and one-third of the Senate seats) was equal to the amount of money the American people spend each year buying Easter candy. No kidding. 

10) Candidates must be honest with their prospective voters about their goals for their service as an elected official. Candidates whose candidacies are founded on a fraudulent relationship with their voters are probably the worst of all possible enemies of the Republic. Our 45th President's entire campaigns for President in both 2016 and 2020 were 100% fraudulent from the ground up. The former "President" was literally never honest in public during either campaign (or at any other time while in office), making him a purely fraudulent and thus totally illegitimate office holder in the first place. This also makes him guilty of what is probably the worst possible crime that a person can commit against the United States of America as well as the worst kind of enemy of the Constitution imaginable. He is our Founding Fathers' worst nightmare.

11) All manner of voter suppression must be regarded as the serious crime that it is — class A felony-level crime that must be vigorously prosecuted. If it were up to me, voter suppression would be regarded as equivalent to mass murder.

12) All legally cast ballots must be counted accurately, and every voter's votes must be recorded on voter-readable paper. Every vote counting process must use counting of samples of those paper ballots by hand in a randomized, statistically valid manner so as to prove that machine counts are correct.

13) All voting machine software must be open-source software that is available for inspection by computer security experts to study and voting machines must be and remain invulnerable to cheating by all possible methods.

14) Election outcomes must be determined by a plurality of votes counted. The Electoral College is a travesty that's largely an artifact of the nation's greatest original sin (slavery) that was forced upon a majority of the Founders at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 by the slave states and some of the other smaller states. The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is a proposal, already years underway, which can surmount the Electoral College if only a few more states sign on to it. We must elect presidents by seeing who gets the most votes, and no state's votes should be winner-take-all, so that Presidential elections are decided by all voters, not merely by those of a few "battleground" states.

15) The electorate needs to understand the features of the electoral system and have faith that it's being administered impartially.                                                

There are many ways in which American elections are far from free and fair. They are very heavily rigged by the many, many ways in which the Republican Party leadership is dedicated to cheating. Gerrymandering is practiced by both parties but is decidedly not the preferred approach of the Democratic Party, unlike the firm preference of the Republican Party, which is all-in on drawing such outrageously illegitimate maps that a state can get 40% Republican votes but they can then win 70% of the seats for the U.S. House of Representatives. This kind of cheating is no less criminal or serious than kidnapping or first degree murder, as it is unmitigated warfare against our democracy. Healthy democracy is the most valuable thing any nation can possess and it is the principal source of our liberty. Democratically dominated states such as California have made the strategic error of unilaterally disarming, in effect, by moving to independent redistricting commissions to set fair boundaries at each 10-year redistricting cycle. What California should have done is to promise to do the honest thing only once Texas, Florida and Ohio have agreed to disarm too (or some other similar formulation).

Lying about their intentions for holding office is the Republican Party candidates' number one weapon. Massive voter suppression, carried out in dozens and dozens of ways, is their number two weapon. As of the 2020 election, they have been unable to successfully cheat during the counting of the votes, but they have been hard at work, since the election just past, passing laws which will enable them to cheat in the vote counting process in future elections, and even more outrageously, to simply choose to override the results of a given vote tally when the vote doesn't go their way.

Today's Republican Party leadership is firmly and almost universally devoted to one party rule, i.e. to fascist dictatorship. The orange bozo whom the nation sent away in 2020 is vigorously continuing his ongoing quest for the role of America's first Dictator for Life. Our lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness have never before been as threatened as they are by that person and by his thousands of devoted, cowardly minions in the halls of power around the country. Hitler's Third Reich, Imperial Japan, and Stalinist Russian couldn't do to America what today's GOP is doing — and without even firing a shot.

A fair rule of thumb is that at any given time, roughly half of the politicians at work in Washington, D.C. and in the state capitols are devoted entirely to stealing, while the rest are devoted entirely and heroically to public service. It really is that simple at heart. The Democrats' failure to just come right out and say as much I find to be a tragic error. Being "polite" to people who are deeply devoted to operating in bad faith is a losing proposition. We should be damned angry about being pillaged, and resolve to keep a keen eye on what's really happening in government via great journalism and membership in organizations devoted to defending democracy from those who want to carve it up and carry away the pieces.

It takes thousands of lawyers, lobbyists, strategists, think tank employees, and just generally devious bastards for the GOP to come up with the schemes that they pursue with regard to lying to the American people. And it takes many thousands more to devise the myriad schemes to steal what is rightly ours. Whether it's stealing the health care we deserve and that we'd get in any other first world country, stealing the Postal Service, stealing a large fraction of the wages of almost every employed person in the country, stealing our military for their profitable foreign wars, stealing the National Weather Service, stealing the superb public schools that we would and should and must have for democracy to work, stealing our pensions, stealing our shared natural resources, including the health of the atmosphere, upon which our climate and thus our futures depend, or any of the things we possess or ought to possess which a thief can figure out how to pillage — it's always the same story. If they can figure out a way to make a buck by stealing what's yours, they'll do it.

It's not "working families" versus "the one percent". It's basically The American People versus a tiny minority, a group which at its heart is more like one percent of one percent of one percent, if that. Those one-in-a-million who are the right wing and libertarian billionaires and hundred-millionaires who are the key mega-donors of the GOP are the real villains who are driving this war on American democracy. It's just today's version of the Game of Thrones, a game that's been thriving ever since civilization began.

You are what you do, not what you say. Beware the skilled liar. Follow the money. Our federal government controls the flow of some four trillion dollars of incoming money each year and an even larger amount of outgoing money, benefits and costs in the form of laws and regulations. This is a massive flow of wealth and power through a tiny funnel, where siphoning off minuscule fractions of the wealth can make many people fantastically wealthy. A funnel where a modest lobbying expenditure can and often does yield returns of more than a hundred to one for many of America's largest corporations, trade associations and ultra-wealthy citizens. Powerful monied interests are incredibly dangerous to a free people.

Corruption is a force akin to gravity. Its temptations are always there and must be fought every day of the week to be kept at bay. Stealing a democracy can make you incredibly rich, despite the fact that for every dollar stolen, the rest of the people typically lose more than a hundred. And of course what is stolen cannot, for the most part, be measured in dollars.

Consider what historian, Professor Heather Cox Richardson had to say about Election Fraud vs Voter Fraud on January 17, 2022, though it's probably fair to say that my definition of election fraud is more inclusive of every kind of dirty pool than hers. Voter fraud barely exists, but election fraud is killing us. Don't buy the GOP's B.S. to the contrary.


—Joseph Holmes