The Watchdog is a Sheepdog

Nationwide, around 750,000 mail-in ballots were rejected in the 2016 and 2018 elections, most of those in 2018, where one out of every seven ballots were rejected. Overall, that’s about 1.2 percent of the total ballots returned, tens of thousands of them rejected because signatures didn’t match. That suggests fraud.

In 2020, more than 500,000 ballots were rejected in the primaries nation-wide. In Wisconsin, for example, 23,000 ballots were rejected during the primaries, a number greater than Trump’s margin of victory in the state in 2016. That’s 1.8 percent of mail-in ballots (964,433).

How did Wisconsin do in the November 2020 election? As of Tuesday last week, the Wisconsin Elections Commission determined that only 1,506 mail-in ballots—out of 1.45 million ballots returned—had problems. That’s an astonishing low 0.1 percent. The difference between Trump and Biden in Wisconsin? Around 20,000 votes.

If the 1.2 percent rejection rate had held across the country for the 2020 election, an election in which many more millions more people voted by mail than previously, 780,000 mail-in ballots would be rejected.

In Georgia, nearly 5 million citizens voted. Applying the 1.2 percent metric, one would expect 60,000 or so rejected mail-in ballots in the state. The difference between Trump and Biden in Georgia? 15,000. We know mail-in balloting favored Joe Biden.

Looking at the percent of county-level ballots rejected in Georgia in the November 2020 election, the vast number of counties were between 0.0 and 0.1 percent (there are a few 0.2% counties, one 0.5%, and one 0.9%.), replicating Wisconsin’s highly improbable improvement in rejection rates. This is a stunning level of voter competence. How did this happen with so little experience voting by mail?

We were told there is an audit of votes in Georgia, so maybe we will get an answer. Not so fast. They don’t appear to actually be auditing the ballots in Georgia. They’re recounting. What does it accomplish to recount votes without a deep-dive verification process? Sounds like a massive waste of taxpayer money.

So the question remains: How does mail-in balloting move from hundreds of thousands of votes rejected upon examination to fractions of a percent discrepancies in an election in which a vastly larger proportion of voters voted by mail than any time in the nation’s history? In the middle of a pandemic?

Democrats are big on election integrity. At least they say they are. So what are Democrats doing about making sure this election was maximally valid? Democrats and the media told us for months that we would not know who won the presidency on the evening of November 3. It will take time to count all the votes and resolve all the disputes, they said. It would be the first time mail-in voting would constitute such a large proportion of the votes counted. Be patient, they begged us. Be understanding, they implored. Experts expected well more than one percent of mail-in ballots to be rejected.

The early morning November 4 vote flips in key states that produced Biden’s victory were mail-in ballot dumps. Just like they told us. How do they know? With polling specularly wrong, they seemed to know how the election would go down.

The media is telling us that there was no fraud. The headlines never note “Trump’s claims” about the election, but frame the campaign’s statements as “Trump’s false claims.” What they aren’t asking is more telling. Why must we settle for these election results without asking why the hundreds of thousands of rejected mail-in ballots the experts expected never materialized? Isn’t the media supposed to be a watchdog and ask the tough questions?

Instead, if you do ask tough questions, you’re branded a “sore loser” or a “conspiracy theorist.” The gaslighting continues.

Published by

Andrew Austin

Andrew Austin is on the faculty of Democracy and Justice Studies and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin—Green Bay. He has published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books, encyclopedia, journals, and newspapers.

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