The now twice acquited former President Orange alleged massive voter fraud in the 2020 election. It seems he was wrong about that. But his critics, mostly pundits, countered that there was no evidence of such fraud and further that voting fraud is rare if not nonexistent. Leaving aside the fact that poor evidence is still evidence and quite different from “no evidence” - let us not kid ourselves into believing that election fraud is rare. It is certainly not nonexistent.
I was standing in the library recently at Faulkner University Jones School of Law flipping through a copy of the Alabama Political Almanac only to read that Thomas Goode Jones, the former Alabama Governor and the namesake of the Jones School of Law was elected governor in 1890 only through massive voter fraud. As I glanced up from the page I regarded a giant painting hanging on the wall of Jones taking the oath of office. What I soon learned was that on that day Jones’ opponent, Ruben Kolb - who lost the race but refused to admit it, was stagging his own inauguration ceremony on the back of a nearby wagon instead of the Capitol portico. According to historian James Glen Stovall, who authored the Alabama Political Almanac, the 1890 gubernatorial election in Alabama set “new standards in vote stealing.” Jones and his faction of “Bourbon Democrats,” which consisted largely of wealthy and influential Black Belt planters bullied tennant farmers into voting for their candidate - or else.
Virtually the same thing happened four years later when Kolb ran against a fellow former-Confederate Army officer William Oates - the one who charged uphill on the Little Round Top against massive cannon and rifle fire at Gettysburg. The 1890 and 1894 gubernatorial races in Alabama drew national attention because of unspeakable voter fraud.
Of course students of Alabama history also know about the 1994 Chief Justice race between Republican Perry Hooper Sr. and sitting Democrat Sonny Hornsby in which some 200 or so absentee ballots mysteriously appeared at the last minute. Hornsby wanted them counted, as they were mostly for him, but they lacked the required signatures. Hooper won the race by a razor thin margin, but Hornsby, who found confederates to file suit on his behalf, refused to leave the office until a court determined the outcome almost a year later.
Then in 2002 Democrat incumbent Governor Don Siegleman eked out a victory against Congressman Bob Riley who challenged him for Governor - or so Siegleman and the Associated Press believed on election night. Later on, a “malfunctioning” voting machine was “corrected” giving Riley the edge over Siegleman. Riley won by the narrowest margin in a gubernatorial election in Alabama history. Incongruent with political commentator Steve Flower’s observation that voters tend to turnout heavily for their neighbors, this “malfunctioning” voter machine in Baldwin County gave Riley the edge over Siegleman who hailed from adjacent Mobile County. Siegleman cried foul and eventually filed suit alleging that after Democrat poll watchers left, the recount was conducted with only Republicans present. Sound familiar?
These are just some of the most high-profile voting irregularities in just one State. Keep in mind that, especially when it comes to State Legislatures and Congress billions of dollars are guided by elected officials to people and companies that have a huge interest in how elections shake out. It is naive to think that people would not cheat to make money.
Let’s not forget that in 2016 the Russian interference in that election that we all heard so much about amounted most substantively in exposing internal e-mails, via Wikileaks, that then Democratic Party Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, John Podesta and several others were caught red handed rigging the Democratic Party Primary for Hilary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. Wasserman-Schultz got a slap on the wrist and spineless Sanders, like an obedient prostitute in fear of the lash, consented not to make trouble as the party protested for four years that it was Donald Trump who cheated in the election. Pro tip - if you are going to run for office you need to get comfortable with hypocrisy.
It seems to me that election fraud is not rare so much as rarely discovered. It is foolish and naive to believe otherwise.