To the editor:
“We basically used COVID as a predicate to put a moratorium on election integrity laws. It was going to lead to this kind of level of distrust . . . So everybody should let these kinds of investigations [into election fraud] move forward instead of squashing them.” (Pollster Richard Baris on "Tucker Carlson Tonight," Nov. 12)
Baris’ effectiveness in sowing doubt about the integrity of mail-in voting got him suspended by Twitter. That, in turn, got him invited on Carlson’s show.
The weaponization of COVID was evident early on. In the June 28 News-Topic, I wrote, “Carolina Journal says a top election lawyer, Marc Elias, is teaming with former Obama AG Eric Holder to sue North Carolina to ‘legalize ballot harvesting.’”
Part of the motive for attacking hydroxychloroquine was politics. “No strong outpatient treatment means scared voters,” I wrote in June. “Ideal for — suing to upend the election system.” HCQ had to be smeared.
Nonetheless, the scale of the “lawfare” targeting election integrity is a shock. There were hundreds of pre-election lawsuits! Hans Von Spakovsky, former commissioner, Federal Election Commission:
“... all the lawsuits had a common theme. They all tried to get the security protocols that are in place for absentee or mail-in ballots eliminated . . . They wanted to get rid of, for example, witness signature requirements on absentee ballots. They wanted to get rid of signature comparison for absentee ballots, when election officials compare the signature on the ballot with the signature on file for the voter. The tried to implement ‘vote harvesting’ in every state . . . strangers being able to come to your front door to pick up ballots . . . everything they did was intended to get rid of any of the protections and measures put in place by states to try to prevent fraud in the use of absentee ballots.”
Democratic lawsuits in North Carolina failed, as best I can tell. There were successes elsewhere. Pennsylvania is an example, according to Von Spakovsy.
COVID was the pretext for radically undermining election security. To make it “work,” the Democrats needed strong narrative control – from news organizations and from Big Tech. They got it. As Attorney General William Barr put it in September:
“A bipartisan election commission chaired by Jimmy Carter and James Baker said back in 2009 that mail-in voting is fraught with the risk of fraud and coercion . . . the newspapers, in networks, academic studies saying it is open to fraud and coercion. The only time the narrative changed is after this administration came in.”
100 million mail-in ballots. Millions handled under opaque conditions. Fine and dandy in 2020. That’s the new narrative.