by Lincoln Institute | December 22, 2020

Neither the President nor the press is right about irregularities in the 2020 Presidential election, and the public is poorly informed as a result. Both sides make the same mistake: they fall into the trap of claiming fraud, in the case of the President, or refuting the claims of fraud, in the case of the media.  The initial error is of the course the President’s doing, and because of his overreach, he vastly simplifies the task of refuting his claims to the point of ridicule and suggestions that he’s undermining the very foundations of American democracy.  Both sides are more engaged in demagoguery than democracy.

The fundamental problem in claiming fraud is that it requires both proof of motive and the identification of the perpetrator of the fraud. Until or unless both are conclusively proven, at least in the court of public opinion, the claims can be labeled as conspiracy theories, which completely takes the focus off whatever underlying evidence may exist.

A much better strategy would be to stay entirely away from any claim of fraud, and focus instead on the evidence of irregularities or anomalies, of which there are plenty that never get fairly presented to the public. The media are too lazy to do the analytical work required.  The fact of the matter is that the 2020 election had hundreds of thousands of votes counted that should not have been, and the distribution of those votes could have affected the outcome in several closely-decided states.

One of most comprehensive lists of voting irregularities is contained in the 36-page report prepared by Peter Navarro and released a little over one week ago. The report is weakened by instance after instance of Navarro’s intellectual ego interrupting the presentation of evidence, but it’s possible to read the report and ignore his incessant insertions of look-how-smart-I-am references to classical literature and other bursts of Harvard pride. Very specific and extensively footnoted claims well in excess of the margins of victory in six states are contained in that report. A similarly detailed list of specific irregularities can be found in a report authored by Jason Miller of the Trump campaign, but largely ignored by the major media.  Here are the irregularities claimed by Miller just in the state of Georgia:

  • 66,247 Underage persons were allowed to register illegally and then voted
  • 8,718 persons apparently deceased prior to voting.

Absentee ballots were sent to 2,560 Felons

  • 2,423 Unregistered persons
  • 4,926 Persons registered in another state after moving from Georgia
  • 1,043 Persons registered using a P.O Box, not a legal residence
  • 15,700 Persons who had filed a national change of address with the USPS as

having relocated to another state prior to Election Day, and

  • 40,279 Persons who moved without reregistering/voting in their new county.

That’s a total of 141,896 possibly illegal votes in a state that Biden won by 12,670. Every one of those claims should be thoroughly investigated. Some of them may well be wrong, and it may well take weeks to complete the investigations, but they should be pursued, as should the claims of irregularities in the other five states. If the presentation of these claims had been stripped of any concurrent claims of fraud, then the media would have been forced to look at the evidence behind the claims. But the mere addition of a handful of vague references to possible fraud by Trump, Navarro & Miller completely changes the media dynamic and allows the blanket application of the term “conspiracy theories” as a total discreditation of the claims.

Given the calendar, the certification of votes by states, the convening of the Electoral College, the imminent Congressional certification and the inauguration itself on January 20, it is entirely proper to inaugurate Joe Biden as the next President of the United States. But it is equally proper for every one of the specific claims of ballot, counting, timing and registration irregularities to be thorough investigated over the next several months. Only then will Americans regain their trust in voting in general and voting by mail in particular. The media’s effort to sweep all claims of irregularities under the rug by claiming that they are irresponsible, unfounded and the product of a President who cannot accept the reality of his defeat, without ever fully investigating them, is a true disservice to the nation.