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:https://web.archive.org/web/20221130161133/https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2022/11/heres_how_they_did_it_realtime_election_fraud.html
• 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.