“I have investigated political shenanigans from Tammany Hall to Nucky Johnson in Atlantic City to the Pendergast Brothers in Kansas City, and Omaha has by far the most effective and most daring operation carrying out election fraud I have ever seen,” said a federal investigator a hundred years ago.
We have heard a great deal about voter fraud over the last four years and spent tens of millions of dollars investigating it. Depending on the charge, one side or the other has argued it is all nonsense – nothing more than another conspiracy theory or hoax. Well, the truth is that voter fraud has been with us since the beginning, and this year, only seems all the more likely.
In the last two election cycles, 1,296 cases of voter fraud have been proven, resulting in 1,119 criminal convictions, 48 civil penalties and the rest spread over other administrative penalties. The charges include impersonation of a registered voter, false registration, duplicate voting, fraudulent use of absentee ballots, buying votes, illegal assistance at the polls, ineligible voting, altered vote counts and ballot petition fraud.
You might ask: It’s been going on for so long, does it really matter? Yes, it does. We the People believe in the value of our vote – one person, one vote. And though that faith has been waning, more than any other factor, our vote is still the ultimate demonstration of belief in our government. Even if elections don’t go our way, we believe our vote is important, even sacred. Without it, we’re nothing but individuals at the mercy of a government we no longer trust. Our collective say is meaningless.
And fraud has made a difference in our history. It was a major issue in the election of 1876, which I mentioned a few weeks ago. The tainted results of that election had a catastrophic impact on the lives of our African American population which continues to this day. The election of 1960 between Kennedy and Nixon was equally questionable. It’s possible that voter fraud in Illinois, Texas and Alabama could have turned the election in Nixon’s favor. And how might that have changed American history?
As darkly as Nixon has been painted in history, it’s important to note how he handled the Constitutional crisis when it was laid at his doorstep. He personally discouraged reporters from covering the fraud stories, and said during the counting of the electoral vote, “In our campaigns, no matter how hard they may be, no matter how close the election may turn out to be, those who lose accept the verdict and support the winner.” Yes, in spite of his concession, behind the scenes, he supported a recount effort and looked for another path to victory, but publicly, he was quiet. He implicitly understood the danger to the union if the people lost faith in their vote. Even he had more faith in our system then to let that happen.
If you privately discuss voter fraud with the people closest to the system, they will tell you there are many ways to cheat. Of course, there are safeguards and processes in place to protect the system, but if someone is highly motivated, they can alter the vote. There are just too many humans involved in the process and not enough integrity to go around.
The truth and the great danger to our union is that elections have come to matter far too much for a system of democracy to operate effectively. When winning becomes more important than ethical or even legal considerations, we’ve slid off the page of our Constitution and are operating purely in a twilight zone of flawed perspectives.
Case in point: There are people out there, on our side, that believe that Donald Trump is so wrong and so evil, that he must be stopped at all cost. And there are Republicans out there that believe the same thing about Joe Biden. They believe the ends justify the means – lie, cheat, steal and so on – it’s all good. It doesn’t matter as long as our candidate wins. They are wrong. They are all dead wrong, and it is destroying our nation. Democracy demands integrity, and if we lose it, our nation is doomed.
How have we come to this point? Because it is no longer about our candidates. As much as we pretend it’s about Joe Biden, Donald Trump or the ridicule they throw at one another, this is about something else. How else could you possibly explain why these two are the binary choice we're faced with to lead the greatest nation in the world? No, this is really about the trillions of dollars running in, around and through our federal government. This is about greed. Why would anyone contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to the electoral process? Because they believe in the righteousness of their respective candidate – their cause? Laughable nonsense. It is because they expect a much greater return on their investment. On both sides, this is about the rich trying to get richer.
Photo courtesy of cerescourier.com.