Proving a Negative and Vetting Mail-in Ballots
Before getting into the problems associated with mail-in ballots, let's address a basic issue of thought. The issue has to do with the old idea that "you can't prove a negative." Anyone who's spent any time in "higher education" is apt to have heard that old truism. But is it true?
This kid would have to say it depends on the negative. If a negative statement is big or broad enough, it may indeed be unprovable. Consider this statement from Woody Allen's 1980 dramedy Stardust Memories: "I can prove that if there's life anywhere else in the universe, they will have a Marxist economy."
That's not a negative statement. But proving it is out of the question, as is proving its negation (i.e., they will not have a Marxist economy). We haven't even established a colony on the Moon, so we can't very well check out the entire universe for Marxist economies. Since no physical evidence can be adduced for such assertions, the only proof available would be some a priori argument. But that's not gonna fly with most folks; they'd want some "hard" evidence.
On the other hand, if a negative statement is narrow and specific enough, I'd aver that it's quite possible to prove it. For instance, say you're sipping vino between acts at the opera, and your wife asks you if you like the (proverbial) little black dress on the sexy gal across the lobby. You take a look and immediately tell your wife: That's no lady, dear. All you'd need to prove your negative statement in a court of law is a DNA sample exhibiting Y chromosomes. (Drag queens and transsexuals like opera, too, dontcha know.)
Here's the Wikipedia disambiguation page for "proving a negative." The first item on the list points to a short segment on proving a negative that includes this: "Claiming that it is impossible to prove a negative is a pseudologic, because there are many proofs that substantiate negative claims in mathematics, science, and economics[.]"
What has occasioned this dive into "proofs" is a short comment to a recent article of mine. It came from one "mydlowec," which I assume is a nom de guerre. Anyway, here's the comment in its entirety:
"... there is 'no evidence' that election fraud does not occur."
You would think a computer programmer of all people would know basic logic dictates one cannot prove a negative.
The commenter Questioning replied thus: "Duh! That was his point." Thank you, Questioning, for defending me. But that wasn't exactly my point; maybe I should have developed it a bit more. (For more on negation, read "Fun with Negation." It has links to two books that you can download for free, one by a Marxist.)
In any event, to what law of "basic logic" could Mr. mydlowec be referring? In his readable and enjoyable 2005 paper "Thinking Tools: You Can Prove a Negative," philosophy professor Steven D. Hales tells us: "Among professional logicians, guess how many think that you can't prove a negative? That's right: zero. Yes, Virginia, you can prove a negative, and it's easy, too." (Who said logicians aren't any fun?)
I think I've pretty well proven that you can prove a negative. So we can now move on to the divisive subject of mail-in ballots. What sparked mydlowec's comment was the third paragraph of my article, and here's most of it:
The reason that some ... contend that there's "no evidence" for widespread election fraud is because it's a debate tactic, an attempt to put those who make the opposite claim in the position of having to disprove the experts' claim. But two can play that game, for there is "no evidence" that election fraud does not occur, and that each ballot was freely cast by an eligible voter who voted only once. Why is evidence expected for one claim but not for its opposite?
My point here was that there's no way (using our current election systems) to know the exact extent of any fraud that might occur in our elections for federal office. There's no way to prove what the legitimate vote counts are. This has always been the case, regardless of whether voting is mail-in or in-person.
The reason for this is that most election "security" relies on voter registration. So once an ineligible gets on a registry, he can vote. But it's worse than that because elections can be stolen by ballot-harvesters and others who "stuff the ballot box" with fraudulent ballots that they themselves fill in. When such votes go into the hopper, it's over. I believe that this is not due to stupidity but is by design; it's deliberate. The "powers that be," mostly on the Democrat side, simply want to be able to continue stealing elections, and their latest way to ensure that is universal mail-in ballots.
The problem in depending on registration systems is that the states' registries are irredeemably messed up. They contain dead people, nonexistent people, pets, duplicates, foreigners, etc. One feature of the reform that I've been advocating lately is that it obviates state voter registries. With my little reform, everyone could vote regardless of whether or not he registered, and the fraudulent votes would all be detected...on the back end, after everyone has voted.
The systems we've been using have their "safeguards" on the front end — i.e., registration. But that's not good enough; we also need back-end vetting of the ballots. That requires "linkage" on the ballot to the voter who cast it. The barcode on the ballot isn't sufficient; the SSN is what's needed.
If the electorate is really exercised about the integrity of our elections, people should demand that Congress "take over" all elections for federal officials and impose a single standard and technology on all the states for conducting those elections. If Congress would also require the voter to enter his SSN on the ballot, voting by mail could be made more secure.
But in-person voting is still superior. Voting by mail is a type of remote voting. The problems with remote voting should be obvious. For one thing, with remote voting, it becomes far easier for one to sell one's vote, which is a crime. Also, one can be coerced to vote for a candidate not of one's choosing, also a crime. And remote voting leaves an election especially vulnerable to ballot box–stuffing.
For these and several other reasons, this writer suggests that we restart the federal election and require voters to come to the polls to vote. There's simply too much about mail-in voting that is fraudulent or criminal. As for the Wuhan virus, Dr. Fauci recently said in-person voting can be safe.
To return to the notion that "one cannot prove a negative": Proving that fraud did not occur in an election (especially the popular election for president conducted by more than 50 state and territorial operations all using different standards and technologies) is one of those negatives that cannot be proven, at least with our current election systems. For a free people, that just isn't good enough.
Jon N. Hall of ULTRACON OPINION is a programmer from Kansas City.
(The following video is set to play for exactly three minutes. However, if the uploader takes it down again, you can also watch it at Fox News by skipping forward to the 28:30 point, though you'll have to sit through a commercial.)
Image: Tom Arthur via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0.