Election 2020

Whitmer Vetoes Ballot Integrity Bills Because They Would 'Confuse Voters'

AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has vetoed two mundane ballot security bills saying they would “likely confuse voters” and “muddy the waters.”

The bills “would have made it a felony to apply for multiple absentee ballots or fill out an application for others without their consent” according to Fox News.

She said in a letter to the Republican legislature that voter fraud is already a crime. That’s very true. And so is murder. But we have “hate crime” statutes that augment that criminal act. So perhaps we should repeal all hate crime laws because they deal with things that are already illegal.

“Any suggestion that the filing of a second absentee ballot application is criminal behavior creates needless confusion and fearmongering around the absentee voting process,” she wrote. “It is bad for voters and bad for our elections.”

The main bill was passed by the Republican-controlled House and Senate with bipartisan votes of 77-26 and 32-6, respectively, according to The Associated Press.

Can we please dispense with this nonsense that it’s Republicans who are “fearmongering” about the election? Which party is claiming the mail is being fooled with? Which party is scaring people about catching coronavirus if they show up in person to vote? Which party is challenging each and every ballot security measure supported by Republicans?

According to Bolin, the legislation had “nothing” to do with voters who fill out multiple applications or ballots themselves.

“This legislation would have created a felony penalty for someone who fills out an application for another person in an attempt to commit fraud,” she said. “That’s not voter intimidation – it’s voter protection.”

Democrats keep saying that voter fraud is rare and all this silly effort to keep ballots secure is a bid by Republicans to “suppress” the vote. In this case, the old saying “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence” applies. Voter fraud, ballot box stuffing, and other forms of fraud have a long, dishonorable history in the United States. But Democrats say it discourages voters from voting if you mention that our elections are not secure, so we shouldn’t say anything about it.

We’ve come a long way in the digital age to secure the ballot. But there are so many ways to game the system that there is bound to be some fraud that goes undetected.  For individuals, it’s not only much harder to commit fraud and there isn’t enough of it to make a difference.

But how about fraud committed by organized groups who might have access to the electoral machinery? An analysis by Lorraine C. Minnite, senior fellow at Demos discusses some of the ways a partisan group can skew an election.

Political parties, campaign organizations or other groups can perpetrate organized fraud by obtaining and voting fraudulent absentee or mail-in ballots.

Interested groups can organize large-scale “commercialization of the vote” or vote buying—for example, by providing incentives for otherwise uninterested voters to go to the polls and vote in a certain way or coordinate efforts to help enough voters vote more than once.

Local election administrators or poll workers can commit clear-cut fraud through vote rigging, by not counting or destroying ballots, allowing votes that should have been barred, and tampering with ballots.

This last example is one of the reasons why partisan control of election administration has historically created the greatest potential for election fraud.

All states have both parties present when votes are being counted. And there are various security measures in place that prevent or discourage most of the sorts of fraud Minnite discusses.

But with the stakes so high and dependent on the outcome, there is plenty of incentive for both parties to commit fraud. And that’s what bothers many of us the most.

Democrats are inclined to trust the process and the people. There is no sense that fraud might be committed because people are good and love democracy.

People can be good and they can love democracy. They can also be evil and look to cheat. Republicans want to prevent that. Democrats believe making it easier to vote doesn’t make it easier to commit fraud. That’s a nonsensical attitude that breeds distrust.

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