Saturday, January 9, 2021

Mail-In Voter Fraud: Anatomy of a Disinformation Campaign


Add in the voter register fraud too (Greg Palast), and what have you got? 

The claim that election fraud is a major concern with mail-in ballots has become the central threat to election participation during the Covid-19 pandemic and to the legitimacy of the outcome of the election across the political spectrum.  President Trump has repeatedly cited his concerns over voter fraud associated with mail-in ballots as a reason that he may not abide by an adverse electoral outcome.  Polling conducted in September 2020 suggests that nearly half of Republicans agree with the president that election fraud is a major concern associated with expanded mail-in voting during the pandemic.  Few Democrats share that belief.  Despite the consensus among independent academic and journalistic investigations that voter fraud is rare and extremely unlikely to determine a national election, tens of millions of Americans believe the opposite.  This is a study of the disinformation campaign that led to widespread acceptance of this apparently false belief and to its partisan distribution pattern.  Contrary to the focus of most contemporary work on disinformation, our findings suggest that this highly effective disinformation campaign, with potentially profound effects for both participation in and the legitimacy of the 2020 election, was an elite-driven, mass-media led process. Social media played only a secondary and supportive role.


Tom Hickey said...

The substance of Trump's thinking, shared by many of his supporters, is that he would have won without the mail-in voting, and (insert conspiracy theory here) the mail-in votes were fraudulent or otherwise illegitimate. Therefore, he is the legitimate POTUS not Joe Biden.

Kaivey said...

That's crazy! I've heard that they might be able to make voting possible at the major supermarkets because of the new technology. People can vote and shop. If more people vote, does that mean there is less democracy?

Kaivey said...

Greg Palast says how on the poor red states they put the voting stations a long way away because black people have less cars, which usually mean several bus rides to the voting station.

Peter Pan said...

Mail-in votes tend to be from older voters, who tend to be more conservative.

Republicans worry more about voter fraud than election fraud.

Election fraud with regard to mail-in ballots revolve around chain of custody issues.

Ryan Harris said...

Remember a few years ago, when Dems made the opposite argument because they were worried that mail in voting would enable more older (republican) americans to vote rather than busy working people? All the thought pieces at the time took the opposite position. Scroll back on Marc Elias twitter to see what the talking points for Dem position pieces were at the time and compare to the think piece above.

I say look at the whole set of data, this isn't economics, the entire data set is public and available! Having an opinion isn't necessary, you can look at the actual voters, registrations and compare with other public records like change of address, death records etc. Luckily Democrats and Republicans and academics have and largely agree on where the system succeeds and fails and how to safeguard it.

Tom Hickey said...

In this election, extraordinary voting measures were approved owing to the pandemic. Investigation has shown that mail in voting was secure and fraud-free. This is a non-issue.

Ryan Harris said...

Partially true, we quantitatively know the number of dead, duplicate, out-of-state, etc and the number is not zero, so it's untrue to say it's fraud free. The numbers for most states are in the low single digit percentages but not zero. for example in Nevada 1500 votes were cast on dead voter registrations. 100 of 1500 initially identified were cases where similarly named relatives voted on dead relatives without being properly registered themselves or in a few cases duplicate voting on both or some simply using wrong registration. We can do better but we can also say that in most elections, errors here won't swing an election unless elections are closer than 1 or 2%. The blanket statements about "fraud free" "secure" "non-issue" are talking points NOT facts. We know 100% for certain now that this is a source of error and we know the level of error is relatively low but could be brought near zero with minor effort at cleaning voter roles and warning voters not to duplicate vote and after repeats, prosecuting. Democrats brought suits in this election on these grounds and overturned a California election, so I don't think this is a partisan issue particularly nor is it "disinformation" that's just disingenuous.

Peter Pan said...

How can it be a partisan issue when both sides cheat?
How can the electoral process be transparent when it isn't?
Why on Earth do Americans believe it is a good idea to have machines count ballots?

What goes on as a matter of course in US elections would never be tolerated in Canada.

Tom Hickey said...

@ Ryan

Well, there will probably never be a national election that is 100% fraud free. When they say "fraud free" they mean way below the threshold of influence. Same with crime free in large jurisdictions. It doesn't necessarily mean zero crimes.

Election was fair and fraud free, international observers invited by the State Department report - but they warn Trump supporters tried to intimidate poll counters