MAGA Claims Democrats Are Ballot Dumping And Cheating: Here Are The Facts

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Written by Dana Sanchez
ballot dumping
A Philadelphia election worker processes mail-in and absentee ballots for the general election at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Some states count in-person votes first, while others count early votes and absentee ballots first. Many states can start processing ballots before Election Day, even if they don’t start counting them until Election Day. 

Either way, we all knew going into Nov. 3 that the vote tallies would be complicated because of unprecedented mail-in-ballot voting during the coronavirus pandemic. Experts warned that election results could take days or weeks to be finalized.

Donald Trump on Nov. 4 accused Democrats of ballot dumping in a Twitter rant that was flagged by the social media giant as “disputed” for being misleading about the election and civic process.

“Last night I was leading, often solidly, in many key States, in almost all instances Democrat run & controlled. Then, one by one, they started to magically disappear as surprise ballot dumps were counted. VERY STRANGE, and the “pollsters” got it completely & historically wrong!” Trump tweeted.

Reuters columnist Jarrett Renshaw addressed the so-called disappearing margins. “I know there’s a lot of people out there that buy into this but this and distrust everything, including media. But the disappearing margins are just the counting of legally submitted mail ballots and nothing more,” Renshaw tweeted.

Trump has argued for months that mail-in ballots are often fraudulent. “Mail ballots are a very dangerous thing for this country, because they’re cheaters,” Trump said during his daily White House briefing in early April. “They’re fraudulent in many cases.” He was responding to a question about Wisconsin, which proceeded with in-person voting despite objections that the election should move to all mail-in ballots.

Election experts responded in April that Trump was partially correct. There is slightly more fraud in mail-voting than in-person voting but they caution that both can be done safely and securely, and that election fraud is extremely rare in all instances, NPR reported.

Fast forward to early voting in the 2020 election. Denver-based publication Westword reported in October that it had heard reports of ballot dumping in various sections of the city, instances of mail theft, stolen ballots and ballots allegedly found strewn across lawns.

Westword reported what it had heard to the Secretary of State. “A representative for the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office told us no reports of ballot dumping had been received and encouraged us to contact the Denver Clerk and Recorder,” according to Westword.

The Denver Clerk and Recorder’s Office said it had “gotten two reports of discarded ballots” and was chasing down reports of voter intimidation. However, officials watched video from surveillance cameras at a site “and saw no such action. ‘Debunked, untrue, and people are taking the bait,'” said Alton Dillard, spokesperson for a Nextdoor neighborhood site.

The Department of Justice in October charged a mail carrier with dumping mail, including ballots, in two New Jersey dumpsters. Ninety-nine general election ballots were found among the mail and all were eventually delivered, CNN reported. According to a DOJ statement, 26-year-old Nicholas Beauchene was arrested and charged with obstruction and delay of mail. He faces up to five years and six months in prison and a $255,000 fine.

Trump was mocked on Twitter for his Nov. 4 accusation that Democrats are cheating and engaging in “surprise ballot” dumping.

“Okay, so I’m winning the in the first half and ‘magically’ the other team scores 2 touchdowns in the second half?? They’re trying to steal this football game!” @GlennHowerton tweeted.

Kerry Washington, who plays Mia Warren in the Hulu series “Little Fires Everywhere,” tweeted, “Mail in ballots are not a ‘surprise’ they’re ballots. They’re votes. And they need to be counted. #CountEveryVote”.

The Trump team is preparing to sue, Fox News correspondent Charles Gasparino tweeted: “@realDonaldTrump team getting ready to send in attorneys, contest remaining states. He wont concede w these numbers, they are telling @FoxBusiness. Good chance we wont know president for another month. Still odds are long for Trump winning, they add.”

Tammy Patrick, a former Arizona election official, told NPR in 2018 that government officials shouldn’t write off a voting method due to a few isolated incidents if the voting method makes voting more accessible and safer.

“If and when a bank gets robbed or a car gets stolen, we don’t stop using banks or cars. We enforce the laws we have in place,” Patrick said.

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