President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that if Joe Biden defeats him in this year's presidential race, it won't be because voters wanted to see the former vice president in the Oval Office, but because Democrats successfully "rigged" the election. Republican attorney Benjamin L. Ginsburg, who practiced election law for 38 years and co-chaired the bipartisan 2013 Presidential Commission on Election Administration, addresses Trump's claims of voter fraud in an op-ed published in the Washington Post this week — and explains why those claims are so misleading.
Ginsburg notes that although "four decades of dedicated investigation have produced only isolated incidents of election fraud," the Republican Party is "involved in" more than "40 voting cases . . . around the country."
"These cases are part of a torrent of 2020 voting litigation that pits Republicans' belief that election results won't be credible without state law safeguards against Democrats' charges that many such rules are onerous and designed to suppress the votes of qualified citizens inclined to vote Democratic," the attorney explains.
Ginsburg goes on to say that before he retired in August, he "spent 38 years in the GOP's legal trenches."
"Each Election Day since 1984," the attorney notes, "I've been in precincts looking for voting violations — or in Washington helping run the nationwide GOP Election Day operations, overseeing the thousands of Republican lawyers and operatives each election on alert for voting fraud. In every election, Republicans have been in polling places and vote tabulation centers. Republican lawyers in every state have been able to examine mail-in/absentee ballot programs." Trump has claimed that mail-in voting is "very dangerous" because it promotes "tremendous fraud" and encourages "tremendous illegality," but Ginsburg points out that during his 38 years practicing election law, he saw nothing to support the president's claims.
"The lack of evidence renders these claims unsustainable," Ginsburg stresses. "The truth is that after decades of looking for illegal voting, there's no proof of widespread fraud. At most, there are isolated incidents — by both Democrats and Republicans. Elections are not rigged. Absentee ballots use the same process as mail-in ballots — different states use different labels for the same process."
According to Ginsburg, Trump isn't doing the GOP any favor when he carries on about a problem that doesn't exist.
"The president's rhetoric has put my party in the position of a firefighter who deliberately sets fires to look like a hero putting them out," Ginsburg writes. "Republicans need to take a hard look before advocating laws that actually do limit the franchise of otherwise qualified voters. Calling elections 'fraudulent' and results 'rigged' with almost nonexistent evidence is antithetical to being the 'rule of law' party."