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Election ‘shenanigans’

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INDIANAPOLIS — Diego Morales has probably attended more Indiana Republican Lincoln Dinners than any living human being, a process he began in 2006. His campaign Facebook page is full of “I had a great time in DeKalb County ... Floyd County ... Elkhart County.”

He is one of four Republicans running for secretary of state, needing to convince a little more than 900 of 1,800 delegates at June 18 state convention that he would be better than incumbent Holli Sullivan, who is seeking a nomination for a full term after she was appointed to succeed the retiring Connie Lawson. He also faces Knox County Clerk Dave Shelton and former Libertarian Paul Hager. At the end of nearly every Facebook travelogue, Morales declares, “My #1 priority is Election Integrity!”

According to an Associated Press article, Morales believes the 2020 presidential election was a “scam.” His campaign says that he was misquoted, but when I asked for an interview to talk about why he believes Joe Biden was fraudulently elected over Donald Trump despite getting 8 million more votes, he demurred.

His campaign texted this statement from Morales: “I proudly voted for Trump twice, but Joe Biden was elected president in 2020 and legitimately occupies that office today. He is doing a horrible job. There were a number of irregularities in that election, including the secretary of state in Pennsylvania changing election rules only 30 days before election day. Those kinds of actions are unacceptable. I am running for secretary of state to ensure that Hoosiers can trust their vote will be counted.”

The AP reported Morales wants to cut the state’s 28-day early voting period in half, requiring new voters to prove their U.S. citizenship when registering, and creating an “election task force” that would investigate “shenanigans.”

Morales is obviously trying to attract Trump supporters. But the problem with his convention strategy is that he is seeking to become the state’s chief elections officer. And in this era of Trump’s allegations that American elections have become “rigged,” the secretary of state’s credibility is paramount. The fact that he is unwilling give a detailed view of what happened in 2020 is problematic.

He appeared on Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast in January. “Our duty is to protect our country. I believe our freedom and liberty are at stake,” Morales told the Trump ally, who spent much of the time between the 2020 election and the inauguration fomenting the U.S. Capitol insurrection designed to subvert the will of the voters. Bannon said at the end of his Morales interview, “We’ve got to get these secretary of states.”

First, was there widespread 2020 vote fraud in Indiana and America?

Sec. Sullivan and Ball State’s Voting System Technical Oversight Program conducted a post-2020 election audit of voting in five counties this year and completed that review on March 1. Its result in those counties — Vigo, Cass, LaPorte, Madison and Marion — was unsurprising. “In every race examined, the election outcome was confirmed with 100% confidence and high levels of statistical assurance,” secretary of state spokesman Allen Carter told the Terre Haute Tribune-Star’s Howard Greninger.

OK. How about the United States?

An Associated Press review of every potential case of voter fraud in the six battleground states disputed by former President Donald Trump has found fewer than 475 cases — a number that would have made no difference in the 2020 presidential election. Biden won Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and their 79 Electoral College votes by a combined 311,257 votes out of 25.5 million ballots cast for president. The disputed ballots represent just 0.15% of his victory margin in those states. The review also showed no collusion intended to rig the voting, the AP reported. Virtually every case was based on an individual acting alone to cast additional ballots.

The state of Georgia conducted three recounts — one by hand — and concluded Biden defeated Trump there. Arizona Senate Republicans hired a dubious Florida firm called Cyber Ninjas and through a ludicrous process, concluded that Biden had won there.

The Trump campaign filed and lost 60 lawsuits contesting election results. In Pennsylvania, Trump-appointed federal Judge Matthew Brann issued a scathing opinion in a Trump-campaign suit. “One might expect that when seeking such a startling outcome, a plaintiff would come formidably armed with compelling legal arguments and factual proof of rampant corruption,” Brann wrote. “That has not happened.”

In Michigan, Republican Senate Oversight Chairman Ed McBroom led an exhaustive post-election audit. “Our clear finding is that citizens should be confident the results represent the true results of the ballots cast by the people of Michigan,” McBroom wrote in the report. “There is no evidence presented at this time to prove either significant acts of fraud or that an organized, wide-scale effort to commit fraudulent activity was perpetrated in order to subvert the will of Michigan voters.”

Sen. McBroom added: “The Committee strongly recommends citizens use a critical eye and ear toward those who have pushed demonstrably false theories for their own personal gain.”

Our election process is the cornerstone for American democracy. When Hoosier Republicans convene at the Indiana State Fairgrounds on June 18, they could be deciding who will be the best steward and protector of this precious process.

 

The columnist is publisher of Howey Politics Indiana at www.howeypolitics.com. Find Howey on Facebook and Twitter @hwypol.

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