A legal observer I trust is predicting that Kari Lake’s team will not prevail in her suit to overturn Arizona’s gubernatorial election. The lawyer in question is a Kari Lake fan and a vocal critic of Maricopa County’s “election” bureaucracy, so it’s not a matter of bias confirmation. The failure goes to a standard of proof so high that fraudulent elections will go right on taking place, protected by institutional privilege and the shield of approved, assumed incompetence.
Once you understand the problem of proof here, it can take your wind away. Our elections are anything but “free and fair.” The Revolution our ancestors fought on the basis of “no taxation without representation” has been surrendered, and its guiding principal — one citizen, one vote — has been ignored in urban areas for decades, with a civil service nod of brotherly love from the judiciary. We can’t expect government institutions to be competent, even with something as sacred as the vote.
Think about what Kari’s team arguably proved in this rushed, compressed, two day proceeding..
- Maricopa County, contrary to statute, failed to assure ballot chain of custody. The ballots were not counted at each polling location before being transferred to a third party courier.
- Thousands of ballot images were incorrectly sized and could only be printed via “shrink-to-fit” printer settings. This caused ballots to be unreadable by tabulators. The Lake team, with access to a sample batch of ballots, estimated that 42.5% of them were invalid.
- Experts testified that no credible large organization would allow election officials to change printer settings of this sort. A person or persons would have to override scripts written specifically to prevent this error.
- The unreadable ballots contributed to polling locations being backed up for two to three hours, thus providing a voting disincentive to “day-of” voters who distrusted the county’s mail-in procedures. These lost voters were skewed heavily in favor of Kari Lake, as one exit poll expert testified.
- Maricopa officials contended that unreadable ballots would be manually copied by poll workers and re-tabulated, but Lake’s team was not allowed access to examples of original ballots compared to copied ballots. (Don’t you trust a poll-worker to fill out your ballot for you? Come to think of it, if a civil servant actually copies your ballot, because it is not readable by a machine, shouldn’t you have the right to inspect original and copy?)
- With an election margin of 17,000 votes and chain of custody errors in the hundreds of thousands, the outcome of the election might well have changed. As one expert put it, there was no “doubt” about it.
The Problem: Not Enough
Unfortunately, obvious error and gross incompetence are not enough. We need to name names and prove nefarious intent. And by the way — we have to do all that in a three to four week period, if they even allow the case to proceed at all. Between election day and swearing in a new government, you have to find the one machine Democrat inside the bureaucracy willing to testify, “you got me! Put me in jail. I engaged in voter fraud.” (That shouldn’t be too hard to do quickly, right? Look how fast Durham is getting bad actors to admit their crimes in the Russia-gate investigation.)
It’s the Information Age, Stupid
We actually could design an election system that wasn’t vulnerable to bureaucratic sloth and partisan fraud. We could allow the voters themselves password or biometric based access to their own ballots after they cast them. If a precinct suspected their votes weren’t counted, they could initiate cheap digital recounts. We could require vote-on-site conventions with tamper-proof ID.
We could, but it won’t happen until we demand it.
Don’t let them gas-light you. We need to stay very angry and very loud.