Earl Ofari Hutchinson
Michigan voter Roberto Garcia got the unpleasant shock of his life at the close of the presidential election in November 2020. He found out that he was one of 10,000 or so deceased Michigan voters who voted. That is who voted for Biden.
He was called out by name by the local Michigan GOP. The claim of Garcia’s death fit in with Trump’s charge that the Democrats dredged up hordes of dead people from the cemeteries and crematoriums to vote for Biden. Fox News shill Tucker Carlson quickly latched onto the claim and cited it as fact. The inference was that a “dead” Roberto Garcia and thousands more of the dearly departed in Michigan were dumped on the voting rolls by cheating Democrats to vote for Biden. If so, then the Democrats could empty the cemeteries in the other states that swung to Biden.
The claim, even by the GOP’s abominably low standards, was so incredible that investigators easily and quickly debunked it. A beaming and very much alive Garcia fittingly had the final word. He posed in his yard holding a gigantic Biden-Harris sign. He couldn’t resist adding: “I’m definitely alive and I definitely voted for Biden!”
As for Carlson, he ate crow again, and offered yet another shame-faced apology, saying that he was “duped” by the Trump camp into reporting the lie that a supposed “dead” Georgian also voted. Like Garcia, he also turned out to be very much alive. Like Garcia, he voted for Biden.
The GOP’s dead person vote myth though pitiable and laughable has been often trotted out as one of its vote fraud canons. Every one of them has been painstakingly investigated to determine if there is anything to the charge. NYU’s Brennan Center for
Justice has taken the lead in debunking the GOP’s vote fraud lies. The Center in countless reports has found that that deliberate, designed vote fraud is virtually non-existent in state and federal elections.
It put the incident rate of actual larcenous vote fraud at between 0.0003 percent and 0.0025 percent. This is not to say that voting mistakes and errors don’t occur. They do. However, they can be attributed in almost all instances to something that can never be purged. That’s human error, clerical errors, and sloppy or erroneous data matching.
The Center drove the point of the absurdity of the claim home with the proverbial quip that one stands a better chance of being struck by lightning than getting away with or even attempting to impersonate another voter at the polls. One study found a total of 30 impersonation vote fraud cases in fourteen years from 2000 to 2014. This is out of more than 1 billion ballots cast. Studies found there were almost no prosecutions for impersonation vote fraud.
Even more telling is the study that noted the likelihood of where vote fraud when it occurred was likely to come from. The accuser was almost always the loser of a race. The other big, but favored GOP lie, is the Democrats’ herd packs of illegal, ineligible workers in the U.S. to the polls to vote Democrat. The Government Accounting Office, Columbia University, the Washington Post, and even the Republican National Lawyers Association, found little to support this perennial GOP allegation.
GOP officials dismiss these studies as simply more partisan propaganda by Democrats, liberals, and Democratic-leaning think tank researchers and the press. The GOP insists they have an ax to grind by downplaying alleged widespread vote fraud.
Vote fraud cases as a result almost always end up in the courts. The GOP’s record here in trying to make the case for vote fraud has not been much better.
Several federal district courts have ruled that the strict photo ID laws in Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Indiana, were racially discriminatory. There have been all of two convictions under the law out of tens of millions of votes in elections in these states.
The Department of Justice fared even worse when it scoured for cases of federal election fraud presumably to prosecute during the 2002 and 2004 federal elections, it found 0.00000013 percent of ballots cast were fraudulent. The SCOTUS is packed with Trump-friendly justices. These justices would be the most likely to find something to hang a phony vote fraud hat on. Trump got nowhere with them when he demanded the high court toss the results of the 2020 election based on fraud. This was even too much for the court. In a terse ruling in December 2020, the court tossed out his lawsuit that not surprisingly was backed by 18 GOP states attorneys general.
Trump was aware of the blitz the GOP made in the courts and through state organizations to vote suppress. He, and GOP shills, in the conservative media, have badgered many into buying the myth of massive fraud and elections stolen by the Democrats. Yet, there is not a word from the supposed protectors of voting integrity and honesty about the very real legacy and history of vote suppression, let alone the out and out near century-long racial disenfranchisement of Blacks in the South. A history that is very much still alive and well in more than a few places in America.
This is the second in a four-part series on the GOP’s War on Voting Rights. The series is based on my forthcoming book, Bring Back the Poll Tax! -The GOP’s War on Voting Rights (Middle Passage Press). It will be officially released on August 6, 2021, the 56th anniversary of LBJ’s signing of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.