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Did Trump Really Win Pennsylvania?

When the objective view of history looks back on the 2020 presidential election, there may be a different judgment than prevails in the public forum today.  And Pennsylvania may be the state that starts to see the 2020 election differently.  While the Pennsylvania Appeals Court did not overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the Keystone State, it did declare that approximately 2.5 million ballots were cast illegally.

The issue is rather simple.  Pennsylvania law does not allow for mail-in ballots … period.  

It has been previously argued that the decision to allow “no excuse” mail-in ballots by elections officials was improper, illegal and unconstitutional.  At the time, many argued that only the state legislature could change the elections laws – not the elections officials.  According to a recent Pennsylvania Appeals Court decision, they were right.

So, why were all those ballots allowed to be counted?  There are two reasons.

There is, under law, something known as the “reliance doctrine.”  It basically means that people were led to believe what they were doing was legal.  They were relying on what they were told.  It would not be fair to disenfranchise millions of honest voters because they were misinformed.  It is a bit like police directing cars the wrong way on a one-way street to avoid a problem.  It is illegal, but no one will be ticketed.

The second reason is politics and public pressure.  There is no doubt that judges often wear their political hat when presiding over political cases.  I know.  I know.  The courts are not political.  That is first grade civics nonsense.

Both these factors were in play when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court rejected efforts to not count the mail-in ballots – especially the hundreds of thousands of very suspicious ballots that arrived after the deadline.

It is in that last category that the evidence of possible vote fraud can be seen.  They final count was statistically an improbability – almost to the point of impossibility.  Apart from the mail-in ballots, President Trump had a 675,000 lead (60 percent) – by all historic measures, an insurmountable lead. 

However, of the 2.5 million mail-in ballots, President Biden won 80 percent them.  That defies logic, comparative history and statistical probability.  The issue was further complicated by the fact that in a county where Trump won 80 percent of the personally cast ballots, he would get only 30 percent of the mail-in ballots.  Where Trump would carry 60 percent of a county personal cast ballots, he would get only 20 percent of the mail-in ballots.  That does not pass the smell test.  But you cannot take the smell test to court.

Though the numbers provide strong circumstantial evidence of vote fraud, there is no way to prosecute any offenders or to redress any injustices because of the secrecy of the ballots.  There is virtually no way to find the culprits – or to adjust the numbers to account for the fraud.

Digging into these number is not going to change the outcome of the 2020 election.  That is now chiseled in granite – as the say.  The Electors have voted and the election has been certified.  That means any debate about the legitimacy of the popular vote is purely academic.  

But that does not mean finding the specific truth about 2020 is not important.  If there were irregularities in the 2020 election, it is important to see how they happened to prevent them from happening in the future.  

For many reasons, vote fraud is virtually impossible to prosecute.  That unfortunate fact gives rise to the mendacious argument that it does not exist.  That is the classic response of authoritarians in places like Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and elsewhere.

(FYI … As a simple analogy as to why you cannot look at prosecutions as evidence of vote fraud, I often use the example of using car turn signals.  If you look at the court cases, there are very, very, very few.  To draw the conclusion that it does not happen defies what we all see on the road every day – the lawbreakers are simply not prosecuted.  In neither category can you judge the level of law-breaking by the number of prosecutions.)

Because of the difficulty in prosecuting after-the-fact vote fraud, it is that much more important that it be prevented by the strongest possible measures.  And the first step to doing that is to discover where and how the skullduggery had taken place – and to put in place the strongest ballot security measures as possible consistent with a reasonable ability for individuals to cast their ballots. 

The 2020 presidential election is over.  There is no value in lamenting the past.  But the recent Pennsylvania Court decision is a solid indication that we need to be vigilant in the future.

So, there ‘tis.

Written by CFP Staff Writer

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