As new reports of suspected voter fraud come out daily, courts have frequently rejected Republican challenges to the 2020 presidential vote because they want evidence that a case involves enough fraud to alter the vote’s outcome in a particular state. Republicans argue that since their observers couldn’t watch the vote count, they can’t provide that evidence and have asked for discovery. Still, while the courts have agreed that irregularities have occurred, they weren’t willing to grant discovery unless Republicans first present enough evidence of fraud to overturn the election.
Republicans thus faced a kind of Catch 22. This paper’s approach allows us to quantify how large a potential problem vote fraud and other abnormalities might be in the 2020 election. The process is applicable to other states where precinct-level data is available on voting by absentee and in-person voting.Concerns over fraud with absentee ballots is not something limited to Republicans in the United States. Indeed, many European countries have voting rules stricter to prevent fraud than what we have in the United States.
For example, 74% entirely ban absentee voting for citizens who live in their country. Another 6% allow it, but have very restrictive rules, such as limiting it to those in the military or are in a hospital, and they require evidence that those conditions are met. Another 15% allow absentee ballots but require that one has to present a photo voter ID to acquire it. Thirty-five percent of European countries completely ban absentee ballots for even those living outside their country. The pattern is similar for developed countries.
Many of these countries have learned the hard way about what happens when mail-in ballots aren’t secured. They have also discovered how hard it is to detect vote buying when both those buying and selling the votes have an incentive to hide the exchange.
France banned mail-in voting in 1975 because of massive fraud in Corsica, where postal ballots were stolen or bought and voters cast multiple votes. Mail-in ballots were used to cast the votes of dead people.