America — and the rest of the world — is holding its breath as the remaining swing states finish counting ballots and both presidential contenders claim a path to victory. In the meantime, questions linger over the security of the 2020 US election, and peaceful protests have begun in many cities.
The Trump campaign and many independent media outlets have long warned that mailing out tens of millions of unsolicited ballots without proper verification checks was both historically unprecedented and would likely result in election fraud.
Addressing the media for the first time since election day, President Trump today reaffirmed this stance, claiming in no uncertain terms that Democrats are trying to “steal the election”.
He explained that his campaign has been provided with credible evidence of voter fraud taking place in states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan — and that on this basis they will pursue legal action that may go all the way to the US Supreme Court.
Towards the end of election day, President Trump maintained a strong lead over his challenger Joe Biden in many battleground states. At that point, a number of these states unusually stopped counting ballots — and Trump’s lead was subsequently, in his words, “whittled away in the dead of night”.
While late-arriving postal votes and other late deliveries of county ballots were expected to favour Biden in certain battleground states, questions have been raised about how statistically unusual that favouritism has been, and whether fraudulent ballots are possibly being included in the count. Trump also recounted scenarios in which Republican observers were prevented from observing ballot counts take place.
What complicates matters is that most of the battleground states still in play have an election apparatus that is run by Democrats. Consider that in Pennsylvania, the election process is being overseen by Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, whose Twitter timeline reveals a serious grudge against President Trump:
Using the title 'President' before the word 'Trump' really demeans the office of the presidency…
— Kathy Boockvar (@KathyBoockvar) March 7, 2017
Due to Covid-19, several of these battleground states also made last-minute changes to their election laws that allow ballots to arrive after election day — a situation that could quite easily be abused.
While President Trump’s claim of deliberate fraud has been red meat for a hostile media — both domestic and global — there is certainly reason for him and his voters to have their concerns heard.
Put the shoe on the other foot for a moment: imagine your reaction as a Joe Biden supporter — and the reaction of the legacy media — if Biden led strongly in key battleground states, only to see that lead disappear or even reverse entirely by the following morning. Also imagine that many videos and anecdotal stories were emerging, suggesting election tampering and a lack of transparency for Democrat observers.
Given the unprecedented situation with mass mail-in voting, it’s quite reasonable for these irregularities to be examined.
To those already convinced that Trump has been a terrible leader and that America would be better off without him, it no doubt appears that the incumbent president is merely a sore loser. But for anyone willing to step back and imagine that this was happening to Joe Biden and the tens of millions who voted for him, there is clearly a valid case for litigation.
Moreover, if widespread election fraud hasn’t taken place, no one should object to courts examining evidence presented in the states where the race is tight.
So what evidence is there?
Before we consider this, it should be noted that many hoax posts have gone viral on social media, claiming footage from past elections or other countries as evidence of voter fraud this week. It can be difficult to wade through it all, so caution is urged.
Additionally, consider that it doesn’t ultimately matter what you or I think: these matters will be decided by courts in due time.
But here’s what has emerged so far.
Republican observers were barred from entering a vote counting centre in Philadelphia — even after they received a court order enabling them to stand within six feet of the ballot counters. Similar stories have emerged out of Detroit, where Republican observers have reported a lack of transparency and launched legal action.
The chairman of the GOP in Georgia likewise claimed on Twitter that “Fulton County told our observers last night to go home because they were closing up and then continued to count ballots in secret.” The party has since filed a lawsuit about this issue.
The Trump campaign has also filed a lawsuit in Nevada, alleging that over 10,000 non-residents have cast a vote there. And the Nevada GOP has sent a criminal referral to US Attorney General Bill Barr, highlighting over 3,000 specific instances of alleged voter fraud.
A controversy now known as “SharpieGate” enveloped the state of Arizona. A legal firm has filed a lawsuit on behalf of an unknown number of voters who fear their votes have not been counted, after the Sharpie pens provided by poll workers caused errors with tabulation machines.
Unusual “ballot dumps” of over 100,000 votes appear to have been tallied in the early hours of Wednesday in both Wisconsin and Michigan — with 100% of them being assigned to Joe Biden. While a “statistics error” counter-explanation has been offered for this, these irregularities will likely be scrutinised, after the Trump campaign called for a recount in Wisconsin.
Anonymous whistleblowers from post offices in both Michigan and Pennsylvania have alleged that their postmaster instructed them to incorrectly stamp late ballots with the date of November 3rd so that they will be included in the election day count. A postal worker from Nevada was also filmed saying he’d willingly give out ballots that had been sent to the wrong address and returned to the post office — presumably so they could be used to submit fraudulent votes.
Even as certain states are called for either Trump or Biden in the coming days, these may not reflect the final result once the courts have had their say. It will likely be a bumpy ride over the next week as recounts and legal proceedings take place.
Unfortunately, the whole saga will likely result in a more divided US electorate, with the losing party feeling cheated — whoever that ends up being. But if something positive emerges from the many legal disputes, it may well be strong election law reform that prevents the same situation from taking place again.
America’s election right now sadly looks more like something that would unfold in a Soviet state or a banana republic, rather than the world’s superpower.
Please pray as clarity is sought in the mess.