Now is the winter of our discontent, as we transition from the pre-election shenanigans into full blown lawfare as Republicans seek to cast out as many ballots as possible and cast any Democratic wins as illegitimately tainted by fraud.
The first goal is supported by a federal judiciary and a Supreme Court stacked with Trump/Leonard Leo appointees, plus elected state judges who do their part to toe the party line. And the second effort is undergirded by three straight years of soaking the Republican electorate with a firehouse of lies about Chinese thermostats, Dominion voting machines, Italian space lasers, 2000 Mules, and rogue algorithms infecting the software.
Any software glitch or momentary discrepancy on a county’s election website will be immediately weaponized by the same people who ruined two innocent women’s lives by pretending that a ginger mint passed from a mother to to her daughter during the tabulation was a thumb drive full of fraudulent ballots. By Thursday, if Democrats don’t get totally wiped out, Peter Navarro and the rest of the loon squad will crank up their abacuses to “prove” to us that it’s mathematically impossible for Democrats to have over-performed in the absentee ballots.
And, as the Washington Post and CNN report, the litigation is already underway, with Republicans filing suits to disqualify otherwise valid ballots because voters failed to complete some trivial administrative detail — one of which was probably imposed in the name of electoral “security” with the true purpose of tripping up the unwary voter and allowing her to be disenfranchised.
Last week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court agreed with the Republican National Committee that ballots which did not have the date written on the outer envelope could not be counted. No matter that the ballots were received long before election day and thus the date of mailing is entirely irrelevant. In Wisconsin, a state court has banned election clerks from allowing voters to repair ballots when the witness signature is missing or defective. And in Michigan, a state judge just tossed a suit filed by the candidate for secretary of state seeking to toss out absentee ballots in heavily Democratic Detroit on a variety of theories relating to the failure to present ID — something which is not required by law.
“Such harm to the citizens of the city of Detroit, and by extension the citizens of the state of Michigan, is not only unprecedented, it is intolerable,” Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Timothy Kenny wrote. “The idea that the Court would single out one community in the state to be treated adversely when Plaintiffs have provided no evidence in support of their allegation simply cannot be allowed to occur.”
None of these suits is remotely connected to disqualifying illegal voters or fraudulent ballots. The only purpose is to decrease the number of ballots counted because increased turnout almost always favors Democrats. And while it’s only the preseason, the left-leaning media platform Democracy Docket reports that upwards of 120 cases have been filed already, with the newest front being challenges to the partisan makeup of poll workers. Should ballots be tossed out because some precinct in Pittsburgh can’t rustle up an equal number of Republicans and Democrats to work on election day? You can count on Republicans to argue it in court — and then to point to it as evidence of fraud if and when they lose.
The wheels are well and truly off, now, kids. But still … ya gotta vote. What else can you do, right?
Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.