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‘Voter fraud’ claims foiled by pesky little things like logic, evidence

Did 50,000 Muslims illegally vote in Minnesota's elections last week? Only if you suspend all faculties of critical thinking.

Did 50,000 Muslims illegally vote in Minnesota's elections last week? Only if you suspend all faculties of critical thinking. US Agency for International Development

Last week, conservative provocateur Laura Loomer unveiled a breathtaking discovery: Some 50,000 Minnesota Muslims “most likely” committed voter fraud in the recent elections.

Across the country, similar claims were being made in Florida, Georgia, Arizona, and a cast of states too numerous to mention. All this anguish arrived in the footprints of our Commander in Chief, who’s been yelping about fraud since 2016, when he asserted that as many as 5 million illegal ballots were placed.

There’s a recurring motif to such claims. First, they tend to be made loudly, as if their authenticity is best measured by the decibel. Second: They’re never, ever backed by evidence.

Take the death-defying tightrope of logic required to believe Loomer. She’s an “investigative journalist” whose “investigations” largely consist of typing stuff on Twitter, thus saving valuable time on the whole “investigating” thing.

But if you do the calculations, it would take more than 1,000 buses to ferry 50,000 people to the polls – with no one noticing the traffic jam. From there, they would have to avoid detection by any one of Minnesota’s 30,000 poll workers, mostly sweet old grandmas obliged by law to report suspicions to their county attorney.

And since the state has 4,000 precincts – each requiring judges from both parties – it would also mean that at 4,000 Republicans were in on the caper. Total it all up, and you have 80,000+ people supposedly conspiring to commit that most un-American of acts: Keeping a secret, with not one posting a selfie of their adventures on Instagram.

“For a claim like that to be true, what you’re basically saying is that every election judge is a liar, and they’re allowing illegal activity to take place before their eyes,” says Ben Petok of the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office. “It’s surprising to see Ms. Loomer distrust our county attorneys so much.”

Our problem, of course, has never been agent saboteurs pining to participate in our declining democracy. It’s that we can’t even get registered voters interested. In Minnesota, that latter figure runs close to 1 million people each election.

Moreover, study after study shows the odds of illegal voting are about the same as the odds of being eaten by cannibals at a vegan restaurant. Since 2016, Minnesota has seen but 11 convictions for fraudulent voting or registering, says Petok. Out of 2.9 million votes cast.

If you’re scoring at home, that’s a ratio of 0.000003 percent.

Even Donald Trump knows the claims are bogus, though his mouth tends to contradict him.

After his presidential win two years ago, he launched his own investigation, convinced that he lost the popular vote due to massive fraud. His commission disbanded without a peep last January. A preliminary report showed that while the GOP-run body stood convinced cheating was widespread, the parts where the evidence was supposed to be were left blank.

Panel member Matthew Dunlap, Maine’s secretary of state, called it “the most bizarre thing I’ve ever been a part of.”

Nonetheless, Trump was still wailing about fraud this week, opening up a new front of fallacy: Illegal voters are also masters of disguise!

“Sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again,” he said of Florida.

Needless to say, he offered no supporting evidence.