Some time ago, Trump made the claim that “In certain swing states, there were more votes than people who voted, and in big numbers.” Politifact ran analysis of Trump’s statement, and then I ran analysis of Politifact’s analysis. It got me thinking. I remembered hearing similar claims by people other than Trump, so I did an internet search.
Unfortunately, all I could find was one article allegedly debunking some of these claims. Yet, without hearing the original claims in their entirety, in context and with supporting evidence, and relying only on the article “debunking” these claims, I have now become convinced that the claims are almost certainly true.
The Story: Republicans in the state legislature claimed that there were about 200,000 more votes cast in Pennsylvania than there were people who actually voted. The department of state spokesman responded that it was a misunderstanding, explaining that not all counties had finished reporting into the SURE system, yet had separately certified to the secretary the number of voters, adding that it is the certification that determines the number of voters, not the balance in SURE.
Well, if certification determines the number, what is the SURE system for? Could it be that we don’t trust those doing the certifying and have publicly accessible software to check inputs in real time? Is that what SURE is? What else could it be if not that? Based on the context, we know it is in part some way of tracking the number of voters, even if it might be imperfect.
Why is it that as late as December 29 (when the story came out), the numbers were still not uploaded into SURE? One would think that adding up the number of people that vote should be very quick and easy and should be made public before ballots are counted so that poll workers cannot add more names to the system as needed to match the number of ballots already counted thereby covering up fraudulent ballots. Instead, this was weeks after the election! If they had time to count up their numbers and certify, how did they not have time to upload them to SURE? Did they even know their numbers before they certified?
That is damn suspicious. If the state had simply said the Republicans were lying, and made no further comment, I would not know who to believe until I had heard the Republicans make their case. However, by mentioning that there is indeed some system that tracks voters, but then dismissing it without giving a reason, while claiming no discrepancy in whatever system is used for certification, the state gives the GOP claims some credibility.
Furthermore, because I have some previous knowledge of such things going back many years before this particular election, I am skeptical of elections in general:
I happen to know that states do not always keep their voter rolls updated to eliminate those who have moved or died (it’s an ongoing problem) and that some states were mailing out ballots to everybody on the list, meaning some residents received ballots for every previous occupant of the home. Combined with unmanned drop-off sites and lack of ID checks, there is no way to know that some people didn’t vote twice. Given human nature, it is virtually certain that many people did vote twice (or more) – on their own – without need for a large-scale conspiracy. Did the extra votes split evenly between all candidates? Given demographic differences, possibly not.
I also know that state secretaries do not keep close track of how many people vote because the news is full of stories of poll workers finding more ballots to count days after election day. In all cases, the number is too small to make a difference and there is no reason to suspect ill intent rather than incompetence, but in all cases they are said to be surprises as if they didn’t know that some ballots must be missing.
Trust no one.