New Jersey Ballots Hit Fraud-side

June 30, 2020

Thanks to New Jersey, we don't have to wonder if the mail-in balloting is a horrible idea. We have proof! In what is already a PR nightmare for the Democratic Party, at least one in five ballots have been disqualified in a local election for fraud. But wait, you say. Liberals swore that never happens! Well, it's happening all right. And just in time to rethink the ridiculous idea ending in-person voting.

"We should be sounding a [siren]," RealClearPolitics' Mark Hemmingway told me on "Washington Watch." "I mean, it wasn't just that we had one in five ballots in the third largest city of New Jersey suspected of fraud. The New Jersey attorney general, who is a Democrat, brought fraud charges against four different people in the city -- which included candidates for the city council and the current vice president of the city council in Paterson." And, as Mark explained, it involved all kinds of things: "stealing ballots out of people's mailboxes, mishandling ballots, ballot harvesting." If there was an avenue of corruption, they found it.

But it wasn't just Paterson. "There were 31 municipal elections across New Jersey last month. And in those elections -- which were all mail-in elections because of the pandemic -- 9.6 percent, about one in 10 ballots, were all rejected... which suggests that something is going on there. Clearly, I don't know if that's all fraud or just partially fraud or whatever. But we have not ironed out the problem." And that's especially concerning now, as the Democrats ramp up this push for November -- with tens of millions more Americans voting by mail voting that way for the first time.

And, as we've seen in tight races all across the country, it only took a handful of ballots to make the difference in the final outcome. Just imagine what would happen if that same faulty system were applied across the board. As Mark pointed out, we don't have to. Donald Trump would lose. "The last presidential election was decided by less than 80,000 votes across the handful of states. That's what determined the Electoral College winner. So when you [consider that] 129 million total ballots were cast in that election... even a tiny fraction of the ballots being fraudulent [would] completely throw things into doubt."

Even now, as states debate the idea, there are dozens of lawsuits being filed across the country, mostly by Democratic Party-affiliated groups that are rushing to expand access to mail-in ballots. And as part of those lawsuits, Mark explains, they're trying to squash a lot of the security measures we have in place for mail-in ballots. "So, for instance, there were a few thousand ballots in Patterson, New Jersey [that] were thrown out because [of] signature match issues, which is... one of the ways that they verify it's an authentic ballot. They compare the signature on the ballot to a voter registration card or something they have on file at the board of elections. And it's not a great way to do election security, but in a lot of ways that's the only security measure in place for mail-in ballots. And yet there are lawsuits across the country right now to do away with signature matching."

Even the barest attempts at election integrity are being chipped away, thanks in part to the media's steady insistence that voter fraud doesn't exist. "And if you believe that, then why really worry about any sense of security measure? ...Any extra step to ensure the integrity of the ballot is really just some form of voter suppression, [their attitude seems to be]. And it's really sort of troubling." Especially since the evidence on fraud is clear about just how misguided the press's coverage has been. Ten years ago, Mark explains, Cal Tech and M.I.T. put out a joint report on voting that warned fraud is concentrated in the mail-in ballot system. "And not only do we need to look into that, we need to probably scale back on the amount of mail-in and voting that we're doing."

There are other ways, after all, to make sure everyone has a chance to exercise their civic duty -- like expanding the hours and days that in-person voting is open, because it's much more secure. Now, obviously, communities need to do what's best for them. But there are trends, like legalizing ballot harvesting, that almost guarantee tampering. When someone else is allowed to pick up your ballot and deliver it, there's absolutely no way to guarantee that vote's integrity.

"Bad things happen with mail-ins," the president insisted. And I don't know many Americans willing to risk their vote to find out how bad.