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Please steelman the accusations of election fraud

by rockthecasbah1 min read10th Nov 20208 comments


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Trump has accused several states of faking votes to help Joe Biden win the election. Meanwhile, Mitch Mcconnel is allowing Republican congressman to take either position on the issue (heresay). Popular fringe members of the Republican party Ted Cruz and Jim Jordan have supported these allegations. Other Republican legislators are taking neutral stances.

Would anyone care to steelman the allegations of fraud? I don't have time to vet them, but would like to see it.

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3 Answers

Here is one attempt. I have not evaluated it in any detail.


Interestingly he dismisses the Benford's Law arguments with links that provide what look like cogent reasons.

They say

In recent decades, there have been over 1,200 known instances of voter fraud due to which 20 US elections had to be overturned to declare a new winner

with a link to a web page on the Heritage Foundation's website. I picked ten states at random and looked at the most recent two cases on each. I've boldfaced every case where it seems plausible that more than 10 votes were affected in any election:

  • Washington. Two individuals each of whom attempted to cast a small number of fraudulent votes. (Can't tell the affiliation of the first; second tried to vot
... (read more)

HIlarious the way they quote the NYT on the high incidence of voter fraud, a view they may not entirely adhere to nowadays.

Even Trump's team probably doesn't yet know how/what they're going to prove, but it's historically true that urban places forge the most votes, and so Biden's side had more opportunity to benefit from laxness in this area. Since demonstrating that the fair outcome should have been for Trump is a high bar, we should patiently expose and punish wrongdoers without undue concern for that.

(I don't think there's low motive to cheat on the other side or that they're more moral, but rather that a single rural area has less power to credibly delay and report a large vote difference to decide anything, and that getting away with a large collection of small cheats is less likely)

Let me start by saying that I don't believe that election fraud has been demonstrated.

Glenn Greenwald and Matt Talibbi had an interesting discussion about it. Both are politically at the left but more anti-government power then most leftist these days. They point out that the US has a system that's build to be easy to manipulate. Attempts at changing the system by allow for fast counting of election results and making it harder to manipulate by Tulsi Gabbard got blocked. The US isn't a third-world country and could afford to have a decent election system. When proposals to build such a thing get blocked you have to ask yourself whether they get blocked because powerful forces benefit from not having a decent election system.

Claims about voting fraud being non existent and thus shouldn't a concern when talking about mail-in-ballots can reasonably trigger bullshit detectors. 

Quote from the link from waveman's answer:

This fact has been attested to by American media on both the right and left. For instance, in 2012 the New York Times wrote the following: “While fraud in voting by mail is far less common than innocent errors, it is vastly more prevalent than the in-person voting fraud that has attracted far more attention, election administrators say. In Florida, absentee-ballot scandals seem to arrive like clockwork around election time.” – Liptak (2012)

The fact that the New York Times suddenly has a editorial line for this whole year that we shouldn't worry about voting fraud is also troublesome. 

The nonreporting on the NewYorkPost story about voting fraud in Illinois is also a bit fishy.

That said, there doesn't seem to be concrete evidence of fraud in swing states that I have seen and the fact that Biden polled well ahead of Trump is another indicates that Biden is the likely winner.

Yet Biden underperformed polls everywhere by about 6 percentage points.

1 comments, sorted by Highlighting new comments since Today at 1:21 PM

This isn't an answer, but I think it's worth pointing out that when people talk about there being "no evidence" of voter fraud, they aren't referring to Bayesian evidence. They're referring to something closer to scientific evidence, where it "doesn't count" if it doesn't meet some threshold, like p < 0.05.