Programming note: Mark will be guest hosting on Tucker Carlson Tonight this evening. Tune in to Fox News at 8pm Eastern Time / 5pm Pacific. In the meantime, here's the latest from Tal Bachman in The Bachman Beat.
Not sure how to ease into this, so I'm just going to say it:
The time has come to completely renovate America's presidential election voting process.
No, I'm not talking about the electoral college. That can stay. Nor does this have anything to do with Biden versus Trump per se (although the ongoing dispute and understandable doubt about who actually won helps support my contention).
All it has to do with is maintaining America's status as an actual representative democracy—a republic—whose citizens determine electoral outcomes by majority votes. Per Lincoln, that was the whole point, after all: government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
For that sort of government to exist in reality, and not just in rhetoric, you need elections whose results citizens can genuinely trust. They need to be legitimate, but also, need to be seen to be legitimate.
What that means is elections characterized by simplicity, intelligibility, uniformity, and voter anonymity, as well as overall transparency, formal and multi-layered scrutability, physical security at voting stations, and real-time and post hoc verifiability of vote counting.
Put all those things together into a system, and you have election integrity. Omit one or more of those things, and you have a system which begins sliding toward unacceptable levels of error and election-changing fraud. At the point where error or fraud produces false outcomes, or can no longer produce the requisite level of confidence in reported outcomes, the system becomes incompatible with representative democracy—meaning that any representative democracy which continues to use it, is ipso facto either degenerating into a non-democratic form of government, or has already completed that transition. That would be true regardless of surface appearances, or what citizens believed.
To put it more plainly, representative democracy requires legitimate elections. As Ol' Blue Eyes once claimed about love and marriage, you can't have one without the other.
You can guess where I'm going. America has done all sorts of things right, but—as Mark Steyn has pointed out many times over the years, most recently on Tucker Carlson Tonight shortly after the election—its presidential election process ain't one of them. It violates nearly all the requirements for electoral integrity and for inspiring confidence in itself. It's no wonder that, as you read this, the president of the United States, his entire legal team, and tens of millions of citizens, believe outcome-changing fraud occurred the night of November 3rd, 2020.
What I mean to say is that even if there wasn't any fraud at all, we'd all still have lots of reasons to suspect there was. That alone is completely unacceptable.
One reason for suspicion is at least one presidential election has been rigged before—election fraud in America is nothing new.
Other reasons include the hundreds upon hundreds of people convicted of voter fraud over the past two decades (virtually all of them Democrats), large-scale electoral dysfunction in other recent races, and even a recent detailed confession from a professional East Coast election-rigger.
But more relevant are the reports of misbehavior on election night: poll watchers barred, ballots re-dated, tens of thousands of votes of mysterious provenance suddenly appearing, improbable-to-the-point-of-impossible statistical anomalies and other oddities, etc., as well as questionable recount behavior.
But the most compelling reason of all is the amply-documented vulnerability to manipulation of the computerized voting machines now used so commonly. To what extent these machines were in fact manipulated, in this recent election, I can't say; but again, even if they weren't manipulated at all, their mere existence necessarily casts doubt on the integrity of any reported electoral outcome. For that reason alone, they should be discarded.
Let me just list a few indications of how lousy these machines are.
The day before the election, USA Today investigative reporter Pat Beall published a zinger of a piece detailing a number of disturbing voting machine vulnerabilities. Entitled "Will Your Ballots Be Safe? Computer Experts Sound Warnings on America's Voting Machines", Beall's piece chronicles things like spontaneous vote-switching, the instant disappearance of tens of thousands of votes, and erratic vote registering. That was days before anyone heard Sidney Powell alleging the same things.
Beall's piece is not the only credible account of vulnerabilities in voting machines. The House Administration Committee issued a report in 2018 noting some of the same problems (and, interestingly, pointed to Georgia as one of the states most vulnerable to computer vote-rigging). A number of other such reports have emerged in recent years, including a 2018 New York Times piece reporting the discovery of voting machines manufactured by Election Systems and Software with remote-access software secretly pre-installed, and—as if that weren't alarming enough—that the machines had a history of reporting vote counts at odds with votes actually cast.
Not that this is new material. Evidence indicating the fraud-friendly nature of computerized voting machines has been out there a long time. As far back as 1974, the US General Accounting Office was warning of serious accuracy and security problems with America's new vote-counting computers. (As for possible vote-tampering culprits, the CIA at least had the decency to admit during the 1975 Church Committee hearings it regularly tampered with vote-counting machines in foreign elections). In 1985, New York Times reporter David Burnham, in an eyebrow-raising piece, reported that the National Security Agency had begun investigating reports of vote-manipulation in voting machines used by a full third of the American electorate.
By the late 1980s, the potential for manipulating computerized voting machines had become even more undeniable—and unnerving. In a magisterial 1988 New Yorker piece on the topic, journalist Ronnie Duggar wrote:
"Some officials concerned with elections think about the unthinkable in their field; namely, the stealing of a Presidential election by computer fraud in the vote-counting in metropolitan areas of key states. Steve White, the chief assistant attorney general of California, said to me last spring in Sacramento, 'It could be done relatively easily by somebody who didn't necessarily have to be all that sophisticated. Given the importance of the national election, sooner or later it will be attempted.'"
Journalist Jonathan Vankin was another early chronicler of electoral computer fraud (taking time to revisit the topic in a 2000 piece, in which he pointed out compelling evidence of serious computer-rigging in Miami-Dade, Dallas, Orange County, and several other locations). A book-length exposé even arrived in 1992 courtesy of James and Kenneth Collier.
And yet here we are, nearly a half century after that first US General Accounting Office warning, still using the same easily manipulable computer systems, which bad actors have almost certainly manipulated before to fix election outcomes; and partly as a result, we're all still wondering if Joe Biden really got 15 million more legitimate votes than Barack Obama did—a gap which must strain the credulity of even the most partisan Democrat (not that they'd mind illicit victory). (We're also now wondering how many of the presidents over the past thirty years won their elections fair and square).
So as I say, it's no wonder that now, half the country suspects fraud; it's because fraud on a huge scale, thanks to the voting machines, remains eminently possible.
As for how to reduce the possibility of voter fraud, the steps are simple. And it's not like they're secret. Nations around the world use them. A functional, trustworthy, election system of integrity would look something like this.
First, it's run by a single-purpose, rigorously impartial, devoutly transparent federal entity overseeing federal elections (about which more below).
Yes, I know we're all sick of the federal Leviathan. I know it already has far too much power. It's just that in this case, we don't have much choice, do we? We're going on well over a century of chronic Democrat Party presidential vote-rigging; and it appears they just ran one of their classic tricks again just a few weeks ago. At some point, pro-America voters have to stop making excuses for why they shouldn't try solutions to these nation-destroying problems, and just try them.
Yes, I know this would require a constitutional amendment. But let's assume for now we could get one of those passed.
Second: The new federal entity—let's call it Elections USA—would then divide the nation into voting districts of equal size for purposes of federal election (that could occur within pre-existing congressional districts). Elections USA would then further subdivide the voting districts into smaller units. Working with the postal service, Elections USA would then draw up a list of voters in each unit, and designate a voting station for residents of that particular unit.
Third: In preparation for election day, Elections USA would send out flyers informing households of where to vote. The information would also be made available on the Elections USA website.
Fourth: On election day, voters travel to their designated voting stations: an elementary or high school, a union hall, a community center, whatever.
Each voting station is watched over by police or other security guards.
As voters approach, they join a quick-moving line. At the front, they present two pieces of government issued ID, at least one with a photo. A volunteer finds the voter on her list of voters for that unit. (If they've come to the wrong polling station, they are redirected to the right polling station).
The voter then approaches the voting station in a large, open room, where another volunteer hands him a paper ballot. Picking up the provided pencil, he marks the ballot behind a screen, folds the ballot, and drops into the voting box in full view of the poll clerk and attendant witnesses sitting a few feet away—typically, a few volunteers from political parties who act as "scrutineers", or official observers and verifiers. The voter then leaves. The entire process never takes more than fifteen minutes.
Once polls close, no one is allowed to enter or leave the premises until the vote count is completed.
The poll clerk—still in full view of the scrutineers—dumps the ballots on to a table and sorts them into piles according to the candidate/party voted for. She then counts the votes for each, showing them to the scrutineers as she goes. Once the votes are counted, a supervisor is called over to the table. After verifying that the scrutineers are satisfied with the counting, and resolving any lingering concerns, the supervisor signs off on the count, and the ballots are immediately placed in a special, sealed envelope. The sealed envelope is then stamped, and cannot be opened without subsequent detection.
The ballot count numbers are then phoned into Elections USA, right then and there, again in view of the scrutineers, who verify that the numbers called in match the numbers they witnessed during the count.
Once all the numbers are called in to Elections USA—a process which never takes more than two hours—the supervisor then physically transports the sealed envelopes (each marked with information like Voting Desk #4 at Poll Station #15) to the Elections USA depot, where she hands them over.
The sealed envelopes are then transported to Elections USA employees, who will then verify, and eventually formally certify, that all the numbers called in from each desk of each polling station of each voting district in the country matches the number of actual ballots. In the unlikely event any question arises about accuracy, the ballots can be accessed and counted again.
In a simple process like this, the media will have accurate election results within two hours of the polls closing, and there is virtually no opportunity for fraud. I can attest to that, because I myself have witnessed this exact process in real life quite a few times, and am friendly with several people who volunteer as election workers on election days. What I described is how elections are conducted in Canada, but not only in Canada: an identical or similar process is used in most other English-speaking countries. A few simple security protocols—not least of which is, no computerized voting machines—and your election is as fraud-proof as this mortal realm would ever allow.
When you compare this typical voting procedure to the morass of conflicting voting regulations representing fifty states, many of which—incredibly—do not even require that the voter present identification before voting, and which are being manipulated by the very state party hacks tasked with preventing fraud, you begin to see just how desperately America needs electoral reform. Credible stories of poll watchers being denied access, for example, in any normal country, would be regarded as completely unacceptable, to the point where the votes in that area would be likely thrown out as a matter of course. And yet, that type of chicanery is now so common in the United States, most people take for granted it goes on. That's how far the window of acceptable behavior has moved.
Lastly, I point out the outrageous absurdity of Democrats screaming for four years that Russia hacked the nation's vote-counting machines in 2016, only to suddenly demand—once their salaried goons in mainstream media prematurely declared Biden the victor—that we all instantly fully accept that no hacking or vote manipulation could have ever have occurred in the 2020 election...when almost all the machines remained the same.
Trump's currently demanding recounts, and that's great. But America needs more than recounts. It needs something like a constitutional amendment federalizing the federal elections and banning voting machines. It also needs an exhaustive investigation—although by whom, I don't know anymore—to identify just which bad actors have been manipulating those easily manipulable voting machines for the last forty odd years. Given the frame-up jobs we've seen the last four years, I have a few hunches about the culprits—and I don't think they were Russians.
Mark Steyn Club members can let Tal know what they think by logging in on SteynOnline and sharing in the comments section. Kick back with Tal in person by joining the rescheduled Mark Steyn Cruise along the Mediterranean next October, featuring not only Tal but also Michele Bachmann, Conrad Black and Douglas Murray among Mark's special guests.