By Jim McCormick, Former Director Newaygo County Department of Health and Human Services (Retired)
Michigan State Senator Jon Bumstead recently wrote to N3 regarding his support for election reform claiming that his constituents are concerned about election integrity. The Republican-controlled Legislature in Michigan is but one of 43 State legislatures currently considering hundreds of bills that would alter voting rights.
This reaction results from the former President claiming the 2020 presidential election was “rigged and stolen”. Examining facts, however, shows this effort to be a solution in search of a problem.
The ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation claims in it’s election fraud database that 1,317 proven cases of voters cheating exist. If one looks further, however, the data is a total from all elections since 1982 and encompass voter irregularities at any level, down to local elections. In Michigan’s case, there were 12 cases during those 38 years with no cases of voting twice in an election, no cases of ineligible people voting and no instances of people impersonating a voter.There was one case from the 2020 election where a father admitted to filling out his daughter’s absentee ballot while talking to her by phone at the college she attended. He then signed her name and sent it in. Interestingly. The fraudulent signature was caught by election officials.
One instance in the entire State of Michigan where 5.5 million votes were cast in just the November 2020 presidential election, and even in that one case the court found no criminal intent.
1,317 instances found by a far-right organization over 38 years at all levels in all states when over 1 billion votes have been cast in just the 10 presidential elections. Even if all 1,317 cases were during a presidential election, the fraud rate would be about one in 1 million. If the total votes cast in all elections were known, it would be one in billions.
Voter fraud is a myth being brought to you by sore losers who only want people who will vote for them to vote. This behavior is especially troubling when one considers the Michigan electorate passed Proposition 3 in 2018 by more than 66%. That proposition greatly expanded voting rights in Michigan which some now want to curtail. Oh, and they’re going to use a quirk in Michigan election law to do it. They’ll get someone to pay for gathering signatures on petitions and then pass the changes themselves, thereby avoiding a veto by the Governor. They’ll only need 340,000 signatures, as opposed to the 2.7million yes votes Proposition 3 obtained.
Strengthening voting integrity is an admirable goal, but it starts with telling the truth.
Letter to the Editor Policy
Near North Now welcomes original letters from readers on current topics of general interest. Simply fill out the form below. Letters submissions are limited to 300 words.