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Let’s talk about witch-hunts and the defamation of U.S. institutions…

We’ve heard many lies about the integrity of our Country’s elections. Why do you think that is?

This is the story about the witch-hunt for voter fraud — and the defamation of American democracy:

On August 2, 2016… Donald Trump said he’s worried about a “rigged” general election, citing “precincts where there were practically nobody voting for the Republican” in 2012. Voting experts said such outcomes in certain urban districts were entirely plausible given the demographics.

On October 19, 2016… Donald Trump is citing unsubstantiated urban myths and a contested academic study to paint a false narrative about rampant voter fraud in the U.S. and the likelihood of a “rigged” election.

On October 21, 2016… Donald Trump falsely claimed that “John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, was quoted in WikiLeaks as saying, illegal immigrants could vote as long as they have their driver’s license.” Podesta said no such thing.

On November 28, 2016… President-elect Donald Trump baselessly claimed that he “won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” Even the author of the study upon which the claim is based doesn’t buy that.

On January 25, 2017… President Donald Trump continues to claimwithout any evidence — there was massive voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election.

On January 26, 2017… In an ABC News interview that aired Jan. 25, President Donald Trump doubled down on false and misleading claims about voter fraud.

On February 14, 2017… White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller doubled down on President Trump’s unsupported claim that thousands of voters were bused in from Massachusetts to vote illegally in New Hampshire.

On August 3, 2017… A false claim was made in a story that conflates a 2012 article about inaccuracies in voter registration rolls with actual fraudulent votes — it claimed that a NPR report study found “over 25 million Hillary Clinton votes were completely fraudulent,” and that she “actually lost the popular vote”

On September 11, 2017… Kris Kobach, vice chairman of the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity, claims to have “proof” of voter fraud in New Hampshire that may have swung a U.S. Senate election in favor of the Democrats. He doesn’t.

On February 21, 2018… President Donald Trump made an apples-to-oranges comparison to suggest that his predecessor and Democrats have changed their tune on election rigging.

On March 8, 2018… A false and misleading headline made a claim that misrepresents California — falsely claiming that California was planning to “automatically register illegal immigrants to vote”.

 

On July 25, 2018… A false and misleading headline claimed Fox News revealed that President Obama rigged the 2016 election with “4 million illegal votes“. That falsehood is based on a pre-election interview with an election lawyer who discussed the possibility of votes being cast on behalf of dead people.

On September 14, 2018… A state motor-voter program and a San Francisco school board measure fueled the false claim of California registering noncitizens to vote.

On October 2, 2018… A Facebook meme and viral story incorrectly quote Sen. Chuck Schumer as saying “it’s racist to only allow citizens to vote“.

On November 13, 2018… With votes continuing to be counted in very close elections in Florida, Georgia and Arizona, President Donald Trump and some other Republicans have been crying foul, making false and misleading claims of supposed election fraud perpetrated by Democrats in an attempt to “steal” the elections.

On November 14, 2018… Amid a contentious Florida recount, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted a six-year-old, and outdated, story to suggest hundreds of thousands of noncitizens could have voted in the state. The story includes an update saying just 85 noncitizens were ultimately removed from the state’s voter rolls in 2012.

On November 21, 2018… There was a bogus claim that “voter fraud” was responsible for Democratic wins in Orange County, California. There were no credible complaints of voter fraud in Orange County following the midterm elections.

On January 30, 2019… President Trump wrongly claims that “58,000 non-citizens voted in Texas.” That’s based on the state’s efforts to match driver’s license and state ID card applications from noncitizens to voter registration rolls. But none of those on the lists have been confirmed as noncitizen voters.

On June 25, 2019… President Donald Trump falsely suggested that California admitted that “a million votes” were cast as part of “much illegal voting” in that state during the 2016 presidential election.

On February 6, 2020… A report by a conservative legal organization about voter registration rates in eight Iowa counties has been cited to promote baseless suggestions of voter fraud.

On May 27, 2020… California will send every registered voter in the state a mail-in ballot for the November general election. But President Donald Trump falsely said, on Twitter and at the White House, that the ballots would go to “anyone living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there” and “people that aren’t citizens.”

On August 14, 2020… The Trump campaign claims there’s a potential for “massive fraud” in Nevada because the Postal Service doesn’t postmark the state’s prepaid return ballot envelopes. That’s false. USPS policy is to postmark all ballots.

On September 4, 2020… Elections officials and voting experts say President Donald Trump gave bad advice when he encouraged mail-in voters to show up at polling places on Election Day and cast an in-person ballot if poll workers can’t confirm that their mail-in ballot was received.

On September 10, 2020… President Donald Trump repeatedly has falsely claimed that the Democrats are mailing out “80 million unsolicited ballots” for the November election.

On September 11, 2020… A claim being shared on Facebook distorts the facts about fake IDs seized in a Chicago airport this year, baselessly claiming the phony IDs were tied to names “ALL Registered to Vote” as Democrats. Federal authorities announced no connection to a voter fraud scheme, and those making the claim offer no evidence.

On September 22, 2020… At a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, President Donald Trump falsely claimed that a Pennsylvania court had permitted election officials “to take as long as they want” to count mail-in ballots.

On September 25, 2020… The president repeatedly sows doubt about mail-in voting, echoing what intelligence officials have said is a Russian strategy to undermine public trust in the election. We review his statements this month and recap our stories on his false, misleading and unsupported claims.

On October 16, 2020… In an Oct. 15 town hall on NBC News, President Donald Trump made false and misleading claims on the coronavirus, the economy and more.

On October 27, 2020… President Trump repeatedly rattled off false and misleading claims about ballots and voting in arguing to his supporters that “massive fraud” is “the only way we can lose.

On October 29, 2020… Social media posts shared by Eric Trump and Fox News host Jeanine Pirro take a quote by Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden out of context to claim he “admits to voter fraud.” Biden was actually describing his efforts to prevent voter fraud and suppression.

On October 29, 2020… In recent days, President Donald Trump has repeatedly and baselessly suggested that counting mail-in ballots after Election Day will result in fraud.

On October 31, 2020… A false claim circulating on social media alleges that mail-in ballots already filled out with votes for Democrats, including Joe Biden, were sent to voters in a New York City borough. A spokesperson for the New York City Board of Elections told us the ballot that triggered the allegation was the result of a voter’s error.

On November 3, 2020… A bogus post on Instagram purports to be from an Erie County, Pennsylvania, poll worker who claimed he threw out over 100 pro-Trump ballots. The chair of the Erie County Board of Elections says the man “does not work in any way with Erie County or have any part of Erie County’s election process.”

On November 4, 2020… Before all of the votes in the 2020 election were counted, President Donald Trump wrongly claimed victory, calling for “all voting to stop” and claiming continuing to count legally cast votes would “disenfranchise” the people who voted for him.

On November 4, 2020… A data input error that briefly showed an unusually large uptick in votes for Joe Biden in Michigan prompted suspicions online and an unfounded claim of voter fraud. The error came down to a typo by a county’s reporting that was quickly corrected.

On November 4, 2020… The falsehood that votes for President Donald Trump weren’t counted in Arizona because the ballots were filled out with Sharpie pens spread widely on the day after the election. But the county where the claim originated actually recommends that voters use fine tip Sharpies to fill out their ballots.

On November 4, 2020… Viral posts on Facebook falsely claim there were more votes cast in the 2020 election in Wisconsin than there were registered voters. According to state data, the number of registered voters exceeded the votes cast by nearly 388,000, as of Nov. 1.

On November 5, 2020… A bogus QAnon-related claim that many of the mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 election were illegitimate has spread widely on social media. But the claim is based on the faulty assumption that ballots are produced by the federal government.

 

On November 6, 2020… Facebook users are sharing a meme that alleges a host of inaccuracies in Detroit’s voter rolls in the context of the 2020 election. But the claims stem from a 2019 lawsuit that was withdrawn after the group that filed it said the city had taken action on the issues.

On November 6, 2020… In remarks resembling an attack on democratic elections, rather than a presidential speech, President Donald Trump doubled down on his campaign pledge: “The only way we can lose, in my opinion, is massive fraud.”

On November 6, 2020… A video from a livestream of the vote-counting process in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, shows election workers transcribing votes from damaged ballots so they could be scanned and recorded, according to the county. Social media users are sharing the video with the false suggestion it shows workers committing voter fraud.

On November 6, 2020… A video from a right-wing activist suggests that U.S. Postal Service employees backdated ballots in Michigan. The claim is unproven, but, even if true, no ballots in the state are accepted after Nov. 3, regardless of the postmark.

On November 9, 2020… Several of President Donald Trump’s supporters have claimed or suggested — without providing evidence — that a substantial number of votes were fraudulently cast by “dead people” in Pennsylvania.

On November 10, 2020… A misleading claim that more than 21,000 registered voters in Pennsylvania are dead is circulating online. The figure comes from a conservative group that failed to convince a federal judge in October that its list was accurate.

On November 12, 2020… Campaign officials for President Donald Trump and supporters have promoted the faulty claim that Joe Biden received nearly 100,000 votes in Georgia through ballots that only included selections for president, suggesting it’s “suspicious.” But the claim ignores that some voters do not vote a straight-party ballot.

On November 12, 2020… A postal worker in Erie, Pennsylvania, claimed that his superiors were backdating postmarks on ballots, then told federal investigators that he didn’t actually know that — and then went back to his original position. Despite the flimsiness of the claim, President Donald Trump and his supporters have used it in their effort to blame widespread election fraud for his electoral defeat.

On November 13, 2020… In a tweet, President Donald Trump on Nov. 12 pushed the baseless theory that voting systems deleted millions of votes for him and switched thousands of votes cast for him to his Democratic rival, President-elect Joe Biden.

On November 13, 2020… Counties in Pennsylvania employed inconsistent policies when it came to “curing” ballots — notifying voters of an error in their mail-in ballot so they could fix it. But contrary to claims by the Trump campaign, that inconsistency didn’t fall strictly along party lines.

On November 13, 2020… A baseless conspiracy theory claims that a secret supercomputer was used to switch millions of votes from Donald Trump to Joe Biden. Experts — and the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency — have said the theory is a hoax and that safeguards, including paper trails, would deter such an effort.

On November 17, 2020… A viral tale on social media falsely claims that a campaign official for President-elect Joe Biden was arrested in an illegal ballot-harvesting scheme in Texas. He has not been charged or arrested. The false claim stems from unverified allegations in an unsuccessful lawsuit brought by a group of Republicans.

On November 20, 2020… A dubious website claims without evidence that Philadelphia mob boss Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino stuffed ballot boxes for Joe Biden and the Democrats — and would testify about the scheme in exchange for a presidential pardon. Merlino’s attorney denies the claim, which originated on a website operated by a self-described “pro-Trump” political consultant.

 

On November 25, 2020… An unfounded conspiracy theory of widespread election fraud claims that an election technology company called Smartmatic switched votes in the 2020 election. But Smartmatic provided ballot-marking machines to only one U.S. county.

On November 30, 2020… In his first interview since Election Day, President Donald Trump recapped baseless, false and misleading claims he has made before of a “rigged” election.

On December 3, 2020… In what he billed as perhaps “the most important speech I’ve ever made,” President Donald Trump continued his attempt to deceive the American public into believing the election was “rigged.”

On December 8, 2020… Viral posts falsely claim that Dominion voting machines were “seized” in Ware County, Georgia, and that votes were found to have been “switched” for Joe Biden. No such seizure occurred and there was no such finding, according to local and state election officials. Trump handily won the county with 70% of the vote.

On December 21, 2020… President Donald Trump and tens of thousands of others have shared a false claim on social media that there were “13 MILLION” more votes cast in the 2020 election than eligible voters who participated. That falsehood rests on a flawed calculation.

On February 3, 2021… Social media posts falsely claim that the November election in Myanmar was conducted using Dominion Voting Systems, the company that was the focus of bogus theories about the 2020 U.S. presidential election. The company said its systems aren’t used in Myanmar, and there’s no indication that the country uses any voting machines.

On February 11, 2021… One America News Network recently spotlighted one man’s analysis that wrongly suggests precinct-level voting data in Georgia proved a computer algorithm was used to swing the election to President Joe Biden. A hand tally of paper ballots confirmed the election outcome, one of many indications the claim is false.

On May 12, 2021… An audit of ballots and a forensic audit of voting equipment earlier this year found no problems in the 2020 elections in Maricopa County, Arizona. But debunked claims about voter fraud revealed by secret “watermarks” are flowing again on social media amid a Republican-led audit. County officials say no watermarks were used on the ballots.

On May 27, 2021… A viral Facebook post falsely attributes claims of widespread voter fraud and “treasonous acts” during the 2020 election to former Rep. Trey Gowdy. But he told us the statement “wasn’t from me.” We tracked the comments to a retired general who has spread unfounded conspiracy theories.

On July 14, 2021… Former President Donald Trump says a former U.S. attorney in Pennsylvania was forbidden by then-Attorney General Bill Barr to investigate voter fraud in the presidential election. Barr says that’s false.

On July 16, 2021… Continuing to claim there is “so much evidence” of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election, former President Donald Trump offered two new distortions of the facts about election results in Georgia, a state where recounts showed he narrowly lost by 12,670 votes.

On July 20, 2021… After a contractor hired by state Senate Republicans to look into the results of the 2020 Arizona election provided an update on its findings at a legislative hearing on July 15, former President Donald Trump issued a series of false and misleading statements about what it has uncovered.

On August 26, 2021… Videos on social media suggest that holes in the return envelopes being used for mail-in ballots in California were designed to allow election officials to peek inside and toss out ballots in favor of recalling Gov. Gavin Newsom. Officials say the holes serve two useful purposes, including helping the vision impaired to sign the ballot envelope in private.

On April 12, 2022… The Georgia secretary of state’s office is investigating a conservative watchdog group’s claims of illegal “ballot harvesting” in the state during the November 2020 general election and a special election runoff in January 2021. But the pending investigation is not evidence that “widespread illegal ballot harvesting” elected Georgia’s two Democratic U.S. senators, as a conservative super PAC’s TV ad claims.

On June 9, 2022… An illegal ballot cast on behalf of a deceased voter is rare, and we could find no examples of it occurring in Michigan in 2020 or 2016. Yet, a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Michigan falsely claims in a TV ad that “dead people always vote Democrat,” and misleadingly suggests it is a widespread problem in his state.

On June 10, 2022… A conservative film now playing in select theaters around the country isn’t “determinative, definitive” proof of widespread voter fraud, as former President Donald Trump has claimed.

On June 14, 2022… At the second hearing of the House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, former President Donald Trump’s top aides testified that they told him his claims of election fraud were baseless. What Trump characterized as “fraud” was just part of the “normal process,” as former Attorney General William Barr said in one instance.

Summary & Analysis

It’s easy to see there is a steady and consistent output of faulty logic and outright lies about the integrity of the U.S. electoral system.

But, how do we know there isn’t truth behind the claims? Once we choose a side it becomes difficult to change our minds. We are emotionally invested in being right and proving ourselves and our worries validated. This can take us down a slippery slope that is hard to come back from. With each lie we fall for we become more and more invested — and embarrassed with the prospect of being wrong.

Acknowledging the truth and the reality, though, is the only path to sanity. You cannot fix a problem until you acknowledge it exists. Like someone who finds themself in an abusive relationship with someone they’ve continued to stay with for one reason or another, a hard choice must be made to do a 180 degree turn and get out. It’s hard, but you’re happy once you do and you know it was the right decision once you’ve freed yourself from the abuser.

So, how do we open our minds and our pride to a recalculation? We look at the evidence objectively and with a little bit of logic. And apply a little bit of an understanding of human behavior.

Our decision-making process becomes clouded when we abandon our own objective reasoning because we put trust in someone else. In abusive relationships, the abused often tosses out the objective evidence of their abuse because they choose to trusts the abusers words of love and assurances that they’d ‘never hurt them’ or they’re doing it ‘because they love them.’ 

We must also appreciate the natural effect of a lie — that even when it is disproven it leaves behind a kernel of doubt. ‘Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,’ is the kind of effect this can have.

While this is often the case, it’s important to understand it’s not always so. And we must appreciate there is a difference between real smoke and an illusion.

The best way to know when we are being given illusions is to pay attention to the facts and the patterns of behavior. We must toss aside our natural biases that make us vulnerable to continued manipulation.

The facts show that nearly all the claims of massive voter fraud, for years now, are systematically proven to be lies. It shows us that the sources of information who keep putting forth all these lies are either incapable of producing consistently credible news stories — or they have the outright intention of discrediting the institutions themselves. The purpose of discrediting an institution is only to destroy them. This is a type of character assassination aimed against American institutions, which could be considered by many as a form of treason and/or sedition; and certainly a form of slander/libel and defamation.

It’s a true slap in the face to all those that have honorably served and sacrificed for this Country to uphold and protect those very institutions, a precious democracy, and our reputation as being the shining light on a hill.

If you’re one of the many Americans who believe our institutions are a fraud I hope that reviewing all the lies listed above will help you to stop chasing and falling for the next piece of hearsay aimed at discrediting our Country.

It’s a witch-hunt. It’s incredibly damaging. And it’s tearing this Country apart.

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