Election integrity – 2020 and beyond

Weekly, sometimes daily, a news report is generated that election integrity of the U.S. election of Nov. 3, 2020, had meddling and fraud. Predictably, the slant of the news re­ports run the gamut from unproven, de­bunked accusations of fraud by Trump who sought to overturn the election results to reports that Dominion voting machines and mobile voting centers changed votes in Democrat strongholds. One almost needs a scorecard for all the players who sought to be a game changer where voting and ballots were the focus. It might be easier to ask, who didn’t meddle in the election?

Time magazine in an article by Molly Ball, ti­tled “The Secret History of the Shadow Cam­paign That Saved the 2020 Election,” outlines that Mike Podhorzer, senior advisor to the President of the AFL-CIO, the nation’s larg­est union, was the architect of the plan. Es­sentially this plan consisted of assembling an overwhelming force to prevent Trump from contesting the election, should he be defeated. The article makes clear, Podhorzer considered that Trump losing was the desirable result and exerted enormous effort to achieve that. In April 2020, he began crafting, through Zoom, an alliance of tech giants, media allies, the insti­tutional left such as Planned Parenthood, and Green Peace. He invited the resistance groups Indivisible and Move On. Racial-justice ac­tivists and anti-Trump Republicans like the Lincoln Project were also invited. The Chan Zuckerberg Initia­tive chipped in $300 million for funding. Those funds were used in 37 states and D.C. to target mail-in ballots. Social media platforms were pres­sured to enforce rules to remove content or accounts that were deemed malign by a progres­sive operative group named, Catalist. A week before the election, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce called Podhorzer wanting to work together. The National Council on Election Integrity also contributed their voice. While the council does have a few conservative Re­publicans, it is tilted very much so to the liberal point of view.

The Election Integrity Project

The Election Integrity Project (EIP) issued a report titled “Electoral Integrity in the 2020 U.S. Elections “ by Pippa Norris of Harvard.

EIP maintains that U.S. election integrity compares poorly to other democracies. It is important to distinguish the parameters that EIP utilizes in their methodology of data information. Professor Pippa Norris estab­lished the project in 2012 in association with the University of Sydney, Australia. The Proj­ect considers uniformity of rules a require­ment for integrity of a national election. In the United States, election laws are a mix of federal law and states’ rights, as determined by the U.S. Constitution and amendments. EIP advocates for no excuse absentee ballots, Election Day registration of voters, extended vote by mail options and the abolishment of the current Electoral College. It also advo­cates the passage of H.R. 1, that was passed by the House of Representatives on March 3 and is being considered by the Senate. This legislative bill is titled “For the People Act of 2021.” This bill increases the power of the federal government to regulate elections and is clearly unconstitutional. It contains lan­guage that eliminates a state’s right to deter­mine eligibility and qualifications of registered voters. It violates free speech rights. It even al­lows 16 year olds the right to register to vote.

The Election Integrity Project ranks the United States as a 61, the same as Mexico and Panama. Denmark receives first place.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology also rates our elections. Their emphasis is reserved for the performance of individual states. They maintain that overall there is significant improvement, but that California, New York, Arkansas, and Mississippi have problems with election integrity.

Dominion Voting Systems

Holly Casen, a Colorado political writer wrote a piece, “The Colorado Election Es­tablishment Cabal.” She connects people in both major parties with questionable ethics in the selection of the Sequoia/Dominion Vot­ing Systems. Scott Gessler, former Colorado Secretary of State (2011-2015) under Gov. John Hick­enlooper, and current candidate for chair of the state GOP Party (election date March 27, 2021) is at the heart of her article. She main­tains that a group of bi-partisan elite politicos gained financially and professionally from the voting process that Colorado implemented. “Elections went from an essential civic event to a money-making opportunity in a high-stakes industry of wealth, power, and influ­ence on a global scale. The backbone of the election business is technology.”

Gary Fielder of Denver has filed a class ac­tion lawsuit against Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems, Facebook and its founder Mark Zuckerberg, and the governors of four states and their election officials. Fielder is seeking $160 billion in damages and to de­clare Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act unconstitutional. The lawsuit was filed Dec. 22, 2020 in U.S. District Court of Colorado. Fielder has his critics who main­tain he lacks standing, but as of this writing the court has not ruled on the merits. The essence of the suit is that Dominion has flaws that allow data manipulation, statistical voting anomalies, and that Facebook through cen­sorship and payments interfered in the elec­tion. Dominion is counter-suing.

Arizona’s legislators are passing legislation (NPR, March 11, 2021) to prohibit election workers at city, county, and state levels from ever accepting private grants again. David Becker, executive director of a nonprofit, Center for Election Innovation & Research, distributed $50 million from Zuckerberg and Chan to election officials in 24 states. Investigation into election meddling needs to be transparent, thorough, and deliberative if they are to be credible. The mainstream media’s role in the last election is cringeworthy. The Washington Post recently issued a lengthy correction to its widely disseminated story on then President Trump’s phone call with Georgia’s election investigator. The original story was published at a critical time as Georgia was conducting a runoff U.S. Senate race. That story claimed Trump instructed the investigator to “find the fraud” and she would be “a national hero” if she did. Trump said no such thing as the released audio tape clearly showed.

U.S. Circuit Judge Laurence H. Silberman is calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to re-visit its decision in the New York Times v. Sullivan case. Silberman acknowledges that the court’s decision in that case was under­standable, given the situation at that time. He wrote, “As the case has subsequently been interpreted, it allows the press to cast false aspersions on public figures with near impunity. It would be one thing if this were a two-sided phenomenon,” the judge contin­ued, observing that the press “more often manufactures scandals involving political conservatives.”

If, as a country, we cannot control the in­tegrity of our voting process, the veracity of our news media, the ability of our courts to deliver justice, and the integrity of our bor­ders, we cannot call ourselves a free country.

Valerie Maez writes from Lewis, Colo.

In Valerie Maez’s column in the March Free Press, there was a sentence that originally read: “William Webster, former director of the CIA, is credited with saying that the CIA would know its disinformation campaign was successful when a majority of Americans believed it over facts.” Maez later sent a correction saying that the person was in fact William Casey, not William Webster. However, the editor did not manage to get that correction into the final version of the newspaper and the incorrect version was published through no fault of the columnist.

From Valerie Maez.