I lost track of bonkers voter fraud theories

Since the 2020 US Presidential election, there have been a lot of theories from the right explaining that they didn’t really lose. There was a revival of these claims this year when the midterm elections fizzled for the Republican Party https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2022/11/10/more-nutty-fraud-claims/

There was a time when I tried to keep abreast of each of the theories but I realised that I lost interest somewhere along the way. Dinesh D’Souza (who should know something about election crimes, having been convicted for illegal campaign contributions) made a film alleging that fraud was committed by a small army of people dropping off ballots (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000_Mules ). Part of me enjoys bizarre, paranoid and illogical theories but this one was just dull. The only interesting thing is when his publisher had to recall the book version https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000_Mules#Book_version

Underlying all of these theories is a simple fact that the Democrats won some elections and the Republicans lost. However, mail-in ballots and other forms of early voting feature prominently in many of them. The role of mail-in ballots in these theories also increased when voting machine companies started suing people for defamation. Yet even back when the Right was focused on voting machines and had thrilling stories about the US special forces raiding CIA server farms in Germany, mail-in ballots were still relevant to the narrative.

Repeatedly, the claimed evidence that there was fraud in 2020 amounts to examples of a shift in the proportion of votes away from Republican candidates in the later stages of counting. The shifts (when real) typically arose due to early voting in various methods being counted after the in-person votes that were cast on election day. With Trump and Republicans suggesting that their supporters should vote in person (among other reasons), the different voting methods don’t reflect the same proportions of voters as the aggregate ballots. That’s a known phenomenon and well documented but it helps fuel the “evidence” of fraud.

However, there’s also a kind of meta-fraud theory that is common to the majority of these theories. Here is an example at a site I assumed had gone defunct years ago. The fraud mechanism the article is claiming is hand waving at database latency but that is by the by. What interests me is the summary of the meta-theory:

“Here’s the fraud equation taking place across the country: 
• Count the in-person votes on election day. 
• Count the early, in-person votes.
• Shut down the system (Atlanta water leak, Maricopa County everything). 
• Bring in undeliverable ballots gathered when you changed voters’ names, addresses, or zip codes, then changed them back.
• Determine the votes you need to win.  Press the “WIN” button.
• Wait for the Republicans to file a lawsuit months later.”


I’ve seen various versions of this, each one attached to a different theory as to the mechanism of the actual fraudulent ballots. The idea is that the conspiracy to steal elections is done in a way that makes the election close and that sometimes the conspirators get it wrong and that’s how Republicans still manage to win — that’s important because the fraud claims have a side effect of discouraging Republican supporters from voting, so the theory needs a clause that makes victory possible if everybody just votes hard enough on the day.

This meta-theory also allows for any delay of general slowness of ballot counting to be taken as evidence of fraud and, vice-versa, speedy results selectively taken as evidence of non-fraud (eg Florida during the midterms).

Interestingly, it also suggests a simple solution that notably Republicans have not adopted: count the in-person election day votes LAST.


30 responses to “I lost track of bonkers voter fraud theories”

  1. Once upon a time, early and mail-in voting were both GOP strongholds. The latter was especially unsurprising, since both military members serving overseas or otherwise away from their address of record, and elderly shut-ins were heavily Republican demographics.

    It’s almost like some national figure in the last six years came along and turned GOP voters off on these systems en masse,

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Arizona Republican Liz Harris has announced she won’t cast any votes until the state redoes the election. Her big issue is Kimberly Yee, state treasurer and Republican winning by Too Many Votes. Possibly Yee being Asian-American has something to do with this.

    Liked by 2 people

        • I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that the two Republican county commissioners in Cochise County continue to refuse to certify their votes, because REASONS. If they keep it up until 5 PM next Monday, all of Cochise County’s (heavily Republican) votes will be disqualified, and the Republican victor in the 2nd Congressional District will lose his seat to his Democratic opponent, as will the Republican superintendent of schools.


          • The shenanigans of two officials shouldn’t disenfranchise thousands of voters, regardless of who they voted for. (If it’s allowed to, you can bet the same trick would be pulled in lots of other elections that would have much less appealing outcomes.) I believe the courts can intervene to punish the commissioners and order the votes certified by other means, and I hope that happens if the commissioners don’t do their job.

            Liked by 3 people

            • Spoilsport.

              No, I can’t disagree with you. They’re already being sued by the Arizona Secretary of State and some Cochise County voters, among others. I believe that the refusal to carry out their duties is a felony.

              Liked by 1 person

            • You expect RWNJ to try to disenfranchise any voters to the left of MAGAts, but not their own.

              Looks like the threat of getting a felony record finally scared them into it. Also maybe fear of getting shot up by some of their fellow travelers upset about losing their votes.

              There’s 3 of them; one still refused to certify.


            • And that’s a good thing: despite my earlier snarky comment, no voters of any stripe should face disenfranchisement because their elected officials are *%&$ing idiots. (That said voters might ask themselves why these people are their elected officials is probably too much to hope for.)

              Liked by 1 person

            • Arizona turned purple swing state, despite the retirees, and leans bluer each cycle, so the Republicans there are desperate to stay in control and all sorts of weird grifters in their party turn up there, trying to mess up elections and claim massive fraud in the state (except where Republicans get elected/re-elected. Eventually they are going to be part of a blue block made up of California, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and parts of Utah, but for now, shenanigans. But they lose every court challenge.

              Liked by 3 people

  3. A couple of observations:
    1) At the core of every single one of these “vote fraud” theories is a very solid refusal to contemplate the possibility people just don’t like their candidates or their policies.
    2) Every single one of those conspiracies is Republicans telling us how they’d do fraudulent things if they had the opportunity (I mean, as well as their tried-and-true tactics of gerrymander and voter suppression) which means if you study them, you wind up with a bundle of good ideas about how to strengthen electoral law to countermand them.

    Liked by 6 people

    • Just like the Puppies, a lot of these people assume that they are really part of the silent majority because they never talk to anybody who doesn’t think the way they do. (Or, at least, people who don’t think the way they do know to keep their mouths shut to avoid an incident.) The idea that the majority of people actually dislike them never crosses their minds, because their blinkered vision only encompasses people like them and the vast generic ‘Other’.

      Liked by 5 people

  4. It’s very much a deliberate set-up to lower turnout. If turnout is high and more people can easily vote, then Democrats (the more liberal position) win, because their policy positions are the ones most citizens share and they are mostly not autocrats in speech. If turnout is low and voting is difficult, especially in POC dominated neighborhoods, then Republicans (the right wing position) tend to win as their loyal autocrat voters still show up, at least in part. This is especially the case in the U.S. because the majority of older white citizens (who make up more of the majority of their generations) get more conservative as they age and the culture changes on them and criticizes them for their civil rights failures and unfair advantages/power/hoarding of money and resources. (We are a white supremacy still after all.) And older voters, if not poor and Dem-leaning, tend to have more time and ability to go vote on an election day.

    Early mail-in ballots and drop boxes make it easy for people to vote. It especially makes it easy for young people and university students, poor seniors and disabled who don’t have transport, women with kids and Dem-leaning low income workers who have a POC majority and who can’t easily get off work to vote. The mail-in voting means lines on election day or early voting days (which also make voting easier) are shorter — easier to vote. And Dems favor mail-in voting, which means that even though Republicans use it too, it must be suspect and a cheat in Dem hands.

    So they’ve used voter suppression strategies to get mail-in ballots discounted, such as people filling in a date wrong. And where they could they made it law that mail-in votes have to be counted after election day votes, delaying the counting process so they can declare fraud. They continually denigrate and cast suspicion on the post office, because it handles mail-in ballots and is also a public service that helps people.

    All of that isn’t working as well as hoped to depress mail-in ballot turnout. Which is why they’ve been relying more and more on gerrymandering districts in states they control to win by stacking the voter deck. But some of those maps are getting thrown out by courts and even if they ignore the courts or don’t get sued, there are limits, at least for now. And as you note, the effort to take early Dem worries about voting machines and use them as a fraud conspiracy for Republicans has tended to backfire and not get past the courts.

    So mail-in/drop box is the current area where they can still really lie and Republicans want to believe it because they are the righteous chosen and the Dems are the uppity peasants. It doesn’t matter if it’s true, it matters whether the Republicans can enforce the lie — dominating power of the righteous chosen and the true god, etc. When they lose elections — especially if they lose by a lot — it shows their autocratic supporters that they can’t enforce the lie. To keep the supporters, they have to lie some more and try to enforce it. Plus, there are just a lot of grifters who’ve always used these conspiracies to rake in cash and the Internet has made it extremely easy the last 20 years.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. …that makes victory possible if everybody just votes hard enough on the day.

    I vote so hard I’ve occasionally injured myself.

    The state of Colorado (where I lived until we moved to Arizona just over a year ago) has had mail-in voting as the default for about a decade. Ballots are simply counted as they come in, and since most people take advantage of it election results are usually known not long after the polls close.

    Arizona also tabulates ballots as they come in (I put ours in the mail more than a week before election day) but a large fraction of voters insist on in-person voting.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Then there are states like PA, whose Republican-dominated legislature forbade any vote counting til Election Day, which just happens to produce both “the red mirage” and the slow counting that fuels conspiracy theories.

      OR and CO are models of election excellence.

      P.S. Dear Dinesh, “a small army of people dropping off ballots” is what you get in a vote-by-mail system.

      Liked by 1 person

      • One of the people he claimed was a “mule” in the film is suing them over it now. The basic premise is that because people can legally take mail-in ballots of others to the post office for their friends and family and can legally take mail-in ballots of others to drop/mail boxes for their friends and family, they must be cheating doing that. They show someone dropping off more than one ballot at a drop-off box and declare it fraud, especially if the person isn’t white.

        That it’s Dinesh, who went to jail for campaign fraud, pushing the theory doesn’t matter. Because if you can enforce the lie, enforce their dominance, that’s okay. As soon as they don’t feel enough in control, they start talking about conspiracy, fraud and how they’re going to shoot their neighbors.

        Liked by 2 people

        • I see he’s still trying to be “the good ones”.

          Mr. LT took my absentee ballot to the elementary school library for me for many years when he voted. Now we both just chuck ’em in the mail and get an email when they’ve arrived and been counted.


  6. What amused me is that the publisher that recalled Dinesh D’Souza’s book is Regnery, which is also Correia’s publisher for his Big Book of Guns. What kind of publisher fails to run their controversial book past their legal department?

    Liked by 1 person

      • No kidding. Regnery is infamous for being the professional ‘wingnut welfare’ publishing company. They’re to the level where if someone cites a book from Regnery saying the sky is blue, look outside to check.

        If Regnery pulled D’Souza’s book, it was more likely a combination of ‘we don’t like the looks of all these lawsuits coming around from large companies that we can’t just pay off, so we’re going to cover our asses’ along with ‘D’Souza isn’t important/white enough for us to actually take a risk on’.

        Liked by 3 people

      • I’d take it more as evidence that there is at least one competent lawyer on staff who managed to convince management that the original version of D’Souza’s book was setting them up to get sued six ways from Sunday, and that they would lose.


      • Regenry looks like they couldn’t spell a real word. Reminiscent of the joke about “strategery”. Spell check wants “Regency” or “reentry”. Spell check passes either “Spiderman” or “Spider-Man”, though.

        Also I often read it as Regretsy, but minus the wit and humor.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Regnery is basically the Right’s vanity/propagandist press. They’re owned by a Christofascist radio network, Salem Media. They print up right-wing and Christian nationalist titles, particularly of Republican pols, and then the various RW backers buy up copies of the books through things like the Conservative Book Club to get them on non-fiction bestseller lists. Some of the big lists won’t count their sales claims because of this. They were once sued by several of their authors over royalty non-payment, and won in arbitration.

        For Dinesh’s tie-in book, there were some passages that were more specific in their accusations than the movie, accusing various non-profit organizations and BLM of specific criminal activity and coming too close to the original electronic voting machine claims that are now getting other right-wing outlets sued. And Regnery was threatened with lawsuits over those passages. Dinesh isn’t everybody’s favorite boy on the right — the Murdochs don’t like him — so I guess they weren’t willing to risk the lawsuits.

        If Larry is publishing with Regnery instead of self-publishing his gun book, then somebody/org is giving him some backing and will make sure he has some sales. He’ll get to claim his tired take on gun fetishes is super popular.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Back in the day RWNJs found out the stores specifically polled for the best-seller lists, and bought all their books there. And promptly returned them the next week, thus also stiffing the booksellers — as our own Mr. D can attest to. Presumably nowadays they’ll also game Amazon, which at least can afford it. Larry can be #1 in the “Stupid trite wankery about gunfondling” sub-subcategory for a day or so.*

          The last time I was in our Borders (I was buying out their remaining inventory of Lindt truffles), all they had left at the end were some furnishings plus one table of long-time remainders. Over half of which were Rush’s latest book. WAY over half. They literally could not give them away.

          But yes, nobody’s sticking their neck out for lawsuits incurred by a brown guy named Dinesh, who committed a big sin to Republicans: he got caught and did time. Once ol’ Rupe dumps you, you’ve got no chance.

          *Paging Dr. Freud!


  7. The Republican constituency, being mostly elderly, have always been heavy users of absentee and early voting. That stopped when it became part of the conspiracy. Republicans seem to be dimly realizing the problem. This quote from Politco:

    “There’s no question in my mind that Republicans have to have a different mail-in strategy,” said Andy Reilly, a Republican National Committeeman in Pennsylvania. “When one party votes for 30 days and one party votes for one, you’re definitely going to lose.”

    I snorted beer out my nose.


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