Audits, Recounts, and the Secret Ballot
The Big Lie.
Just saying these words brings to mind a number of potential meanings, but in today’s America, the most common — and conflicting — uses of the term are the following:
The Left asserts that the very idea that fraud occurred in the 2020 election is a dangerous lie, while the Right insists that claiming the 2020 election was squeaky clean is the dangerous lie.
Which position is correct?
Was there massive fraud in 2020, enough to change not only the presidency, but also countless, (and close) down ballot races, or not?
It’s an important question, and the Left has issued a gag order, as if challenging election results is somehow new and evil. There’s probably never been an election year in which at least some races haven’t been subject to allegations of error or fraud. 2020 is the first time in American history that a conscious movement actually sprang up to silence calls for investigation and election integrity.
“You don’t need to change the way we vote,” they tell us. “If you don’t trust the result, just do a recount. Call for an audit, and discover the truth one way or the other.”
But it’s not so easy. Here’s why:
Americans are familiar with audits. We do them all the time. The FDIC audits our banks; the IRS audits individuals and businesses. The FAA and DOT audit carriers and shippers. The FDA and EPA audit manufacturing plants.
And then there are the private sector audits — ISO9001, UL, and NSF audit plants and offices every day, checking their processes, and testing whether employees are following company procedures. We Americans are great at being audited.
Unfortunately, that process cannot be applied to an election.
In an audit, all the books are open to the auditor. The whole point is to see which employee did what, what records he checked, what steps he performed, or whether he filled out forms correctly.
By contrast, elections have a secret ballot. The most important element of an election — and frankly, the only thing worth checking — is exactly who cast which votes. And there is no way to tell. There cannot be.
A recount, however well-intentioned, just counts the same stack of ballots again and again; it can’t determine if that stack was poisoned with votes that have been changed, swapped out, or outright fabricated.
In our system, when you walk into the voting booth, you must first be proven to be a legitimate, legal voter in that jurisdiction, and then you are given a ballot that cannot possibly be tied back to you, so that you can freely vote your conscience, regarding local politicians and distant national ones, tax referenda, or state constitutional amendments.
Most recounts only change the vote totals by less than a percent, if that, because a recount can only count the votes that were cast. They have absolutely no way of telling whether each voter’s true wishes were recorded, or if they were switched by a corrupt human or a corrupted computer; whether each voter’s actual ballot was even counted on his behalf or if another ballot was substituted; whether in fact the voting pool was padded by the addition of an extra two percent, or five, or ten illegitimate or fictitious voters.
A recount simply cannot tell, because it cannot present John Smith with the ballot that was attributed to him, and ask point blank, “Is this in fact how you voted? You were counted as having voted for Joe Biden, Dick Durbin, and Jane Schakowsky. Did you really?” Now, that would be an audit. But there is no way on earth to do it.
We know how many methods of vote fraud there are. We know — not suspect, know — that many big city political machines direct patronage workers to drive around town casting ballots all day, in the names of registered voters on the rolls. We know that many illegal aliens and green card holders, often automatically registered by the Motor Voter program, cast ballots, sometimes not even knowing it’s illegal to do so. We know that many people with two or more valid addresses vote from both in the same election. We know that many nursing home administrators cast ballots in the name of their disabled patients. We know that many people cast absentee ballots in the name of their deceased relatives, still on the rolls at their addresses. And we know dozens more ways, some like these, some more creative, some even more disturbing.
What we don’t know is how many examples there are of each type. We don’t know if there are a hundred cases, a thousand, or a million of each. It’s incredibly difficult to tell, after the fact, because of the secret ballot.
Even if you prove that a hundred votes in a precinct should be thrown out, you can’t prove which hundred. So, you might be able to put a nursing home manager in jail (and we do), you might be able to get a patronage worker fired (and we do), you might even be able to force a congressional candidate off the ballot for the crime (and we have). But you still can’t change the election as a result, because we can’t prove which ballot should be tossed out.
Why not just give up the secret ballot, if it makes it impossible to properly audit an election?
A quick scan of recent news stories provides our answer:
Dozens of unknown private citizens languished in jail for over a year, for trespassing at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, uncharged because there’s nothing serious enough to charge them for, but kept in jail to “justify” a national political attack on their movement.
The FBI issued a flurry of subpoenas to forty Trump allies such as businessman Mike Lindell, less than two months before the midterms.
Donald Trump himself, a former president, had his house raided and documents seized on a sham warrant signed by a judge with a conflict of interest as big as one of Trump’s hotels.
DoJ whistleblowers revealed to the New York Post that the FBI and Meta colluded to illegally gather and study American civilians’ private ‘facebook messages’ in a broad-based and ultimately fruitless attempt to find conservatives on whom they could stick a “domestic terrorist” label.
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg.
We have the secret ballot for a reason. Individual Americans have the right to be free of risk that the political class might single them out for harassment, denial of government services, or worse. As we’ve seen, such retaliation by a vindictive state can range from refusing your garbage pickup and shutting off your water, to ransacking your home with a politically-motivated search warrant or locking you up.
We simply cannot risk giving up the secret ballot.
And that’s why we can never rely on audits to identify and correct election errors, after the fact.
If audits can’t be our solution — and they simply can’t — the only remaining option to secure our elections is to do it up front. We have to take the firm steps of reducing the many opportunities there are to cheat — because once the cheating occurs, it’s just too late to correct it.
Ban the six-week election process and month of mail-in voting, and return to a single election day with tightly-controlled absentee ballot options.
Ban onsite and last minute voter registration (except for challenges of voter roll deletions, which must permanently remain segregable even after the count, for security), to ensure enough time to confirm the address before the election.
Mandate that real state-issued identification be checked before a vote is cast.
Put cameras in the polling places, and film everything the poll workers and voters do — everything except the voter’s ballot itself.
Make every voter sign a statement (in his own language) acknowledging awareness that voting as a noncitizen, voting under someone else’s name, or voting multiple times in the same election, are severe crimes.
Ensure that every vote at least has a printed version for the voter to confirm before it is cast.
There’s more, but that’s the idea.
To operate a republic, the election process must be so secure that the results can truly be beyond question.
Unfortunately, today, the only question we have is how many races are stolen when the rightful winner’s majority is insufficient to overcome the margin of fraud.
John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based international transportation professional. A onetime Milwaukee County Republican Party chairman, he has been writing a regular column for Illinois Review since 2009. His book on vote fraud (The Tales of Little Pavel) and his political satires on the current administration (Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volumes I and II) are available on Amazon.
Image: Free image from Pixabay.