Investigating voter fraud: Please give us the names now

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Samuel Damren

As the 2022 election cycle starts, Donald Trump’s assertion of “massive” voter fraud in the 2020 Michigan elections will be center stage for candidates running for Secretary of State and other elective offices. Every candidate should be required to squarely address the issue with facts, not conjecture, re-tweets or conspiracy theories. The question is whether citizen elections in Michigan should be overthrown by legislators when constituents voice “concerns” about election procedures, but can’t provide proof of voter fraud.

Unlike most practitioners, I have prior experience gained as an Assistant United States Attorney in investigating voter fraud. Before the 1980 elections, the Detroit office of the FBI received information claiming voter fraud had occurred in a city of less than 50,000 residents within the Eastern District of Michigan. The leads were scanty, but the U. S. Attorney took it seriously and launched a grand jury investigation complimented by a separate FBI field office investigation.

Voter fraud leaves an unmistakable trail. The name, address and registration information for every voter voting in an election is recorded in a public record.

Thus, if there was a fraudulent vote, that vote is necessarily tied to the name of a registered voter. No one votes in Michigan or any other state anonymously.

To begin an investigation into voter fraud, voting registration records can be cross referenced to other records to disclose false addresses, criminal records, driver’s license, death certificates, and other records.

Forty years ago, the task was laborious. Today, it is easy. The linchpin remains the same. If a vote was fraudulent, that vote is attached to the name of a registered voter. Thus, if any candidate for elective office in Michigan in 2022 believes there were fraudulent votes in the 2020 Michigan election, the candidate should back up their claims by providing the names of the registered voters in whose name those fraudulent votes were cast.

Candidates harboring “concerns” with election procedures have plenty of time to compile a list of these names before the primary season. Besides getting campaign supporters to cross reference registered voters with other lists on the internet to check addresses, residency and death certificates, here are some helpful hints. Contact the losers in the 2020 election – Democrat, Republican or other. Ask them if they believe they lost the election because of fraudulent votes cast in favor of their opponent and then ask them for the voter names. If fraud occurred, these folks are the ones who should care the most about it.

To my knowledge, no candidate in Michigan’s 2020 election — other than Donald Trump — claims that he or she lost an election because of voter fraud. Donald Trump lost the Michigan vote for president by 154,852 votes. He has yet to provide the name of a single registered voter in whose name a vote was fraudulently cast, much less 154,853 fraudulent votes cast for Joe Biden.

Some critics of the 2020 Michigan election results suggest that there were “irregularities” in election procedures. However, these critics do not claim that those “irregularities” resulted in voter fraud, nor have they connected any so-called “irregularity” in election procedures to the name of one registered voter in whose name a fraudulent vote was cast in the 2020 election.

Other critics, sadly lawyers for the most part, alleged in the immediate aftermath of the 2020 election that fraudulent machinations were at play in the compilation of votes. To date, these conspiracy theorists have yet to produce any proof, much less admissible evidence, of the existence of any such operations by naming the election officials and providing the place, time and the specifics of the voter fraud, including the names of registered voters whose votes were fraudulently recorded.

Just last week, Trump lawyers who filed lawsuits making these assertions were sanctioned over $150,000 by a federal court for asserting frivolous claims.

As the U. S. Congressional hearings on the January 6 insurrection are beginning to expose, these claims and similar lawsuits in other states were purposefully manufactured as part of a larger scheme by the Trump White House to create cover for Republican controlled legislatures to throw out the results of the popular vote in the 2020 elections in Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Georgia and to designate a slate of Trump electors to the electoral college. No state succumbed to the pressure.

The very existence of this scheme, however unrealized, makes the issue a fair question to be addressed by every candidate for office in the upcoming 2022 election cycle — Would you have approved of the Michigan legislature throwing out the popular vote in the 2020 election and designating a slate of Trump electors to the electoral college? Would you approve such actions in the future?

What proof would you require? Would “irregularities” in election procedures justify the legislature throwing out the popular vote in an election absent proof that those irregularities resulted in fraudulent votes sufficient in number to change the outcome of an election?

 What happened with the federal grand jury and FBI investigation 40 years ago?

Nothing was uncovered that led to a concern about the election results. FBI investigators did find a handful of votes by dead people and non-residents. In all but a few instances, city officials had caught those problems themselves and did not count the votes. My personal conclusion was that the original claims of voter fraud were made to gain political advantage. As the investigation had not garnered public notice, no grand jury report was issued and no matters occurring before the grand jury were disclosed then or now.

Although no findings were made by the grand jury, the end result is similar to a 2021 investigation of the 2020 Michigan election conducted by the Bi-Partisan Michigan Senate Oversight Committee. That committee, however, did publish a 35-page report concluding that “citizens should be confident the results represent the true results of the ballots cast by the people of Michigan.”

That being said, if any candidate for office in the upcoming 2022 Michigan elections chooses to dispute the conclusion of the Bi-Partisan Committee, all they have to do is give us the names of the registered voters in whose name fraudulent votes were cast.

If candidates who question the results of the 2020 Michigan elections, won’t or can’t give us the names, then their refusal or inability to do so will provide voters with insight into their possible motivations for making such unsupported claims. That insight might also bear on their qualifications to hold office.

In the future, Michigan’s elected officials may be called upon at personal risk to place democratic principles above party affiliation. Every candidate – Republican, Democrat, Independent and other — should be held without equivocation to that standard of courage and devotion to America’s democracy.

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Samuel Damren is a retired Detroit lawyer and author of “What Justice Looks Like.”


 

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