Editor’s note: This is the first segment of a two-part series covering Liberty Nation’s exclusive interview with Jason Snead of the Honest Elections Project.
The Coronavirus outbreak presented, for the progressive left, a unique opportunity to advance an agenda of social, economic, and political transformation of the United States – and mail-in voting is the foundation of that agenda. The pandemic provided the left with an opportunity to fast-track fundamental changes upon which it has been working, behind the scenes, for decades. The key to realizing their ultimate goals, progressives know, is a restructuring of the way political power is assigned – through local, state, and federal elections.
Election fraud is already a real problem, but “Vote at Home” – as it is quaintly dubbed – is a vote-by-mail system riddled with opportunities for electoral malpractice on a truly massive scale. One of the organizations at the forefront of raising the alarm over mail-in voting is the Honest Elections Project. The executive director of this organization, Jason Snead, spoke with Liberty Nation about the effects of election fraud and the risks to the democratic process posed by mail-in voting.
Graham Noble: I’m going to begin by asking you a very direct question. A lot of people, particularly on the political left, it seems, would have us believe that election fraud is something of a myth. That it isn’t really a problem and that it rarely happens, if at all. So what would you say, Jason? Is election fraud a myth?
Jason Snead: It is absolutely not. Election fraud is a very real thing. It has been traced back since before the country was an independent nation. Bottom line is that as long as an election is a pathway to political power, there will always be people who are willing to cheat in order to win those elections; whether that’s for their own personal ambition or whether that’s because they believe so passionately in a cause that they can’t stand the idea of losing.
There are always people who will find ways to cheat to win an election. And as we’ve seen from just recent history, if there is a vulnerability in the electoral process, then there are people who know how to exploit that, who do exploit that, and the consequences are voters being disenfranchised. The consequences are loss of faith in the election system and a serious tarnishing to the idea of democracy as a credible institution.
That’s why it’s so important that we, first of all, acknowledge that election fraud is real and, secondly, have in place and defend the integrity of the election through common-sense safeguards that are designed to detect and prevent that fraud.
Noble: The Honest Elections Project is a nonpartisan organization, correct?
Snead: That’s correct. We are a nonpartisan nonprofit group. Our primary mission is to, first of all, engage with educated voters and secondly to advocate and, if necessary, litigate in defense of common-sense voter identification requirements and other election integrity protections.
Noble: So, Jason, in your work on this issue, would you say that election fraud of one type or another is exclusive to one side of the political divide?
Snead: No. In fact, one of the things that I’ve noted on the website in my group, for instance, or during my time working on this issue at The Heritage Foundation, was that election fraud is something which anyone, whether you are Republican or a Democrat or liberal or conservative are capable of committing. We have clear instances in which people running for office as a Democrat have committed election fraud and where people running for office as a Republican have committed election fraud, and the same is true for activists and voters.
In fact, 2018 in North Carolina, the 9th congressional district election had to be redone because of a widespread conspiracy to attempt to rig the results using vote harvesting and tampering and destroying the ballots. That was orchestrated by a person and people working for the Republican candidate for that election. So there are clear instances in which people from both sides and both parties have perpetrated fraud.
That’s why I always say that this is one of those issues where we should not retreat to our partisan corners. We should instead recognize that protecting the integrity of elections is a nonpartisan issue for all Americans.
Noble: Absolutely. I would completely agree with that. This is a sacred issue, and it should be well above party politics. Recently there has been some discussion of the issue of something called ballot harvesting. What exactly is ballot harvesting?
Snead: Ballot harvesting is a tactic which is employed variously by third party groups – whether they be campaign workers or activists – where typically they will go door to door through communities, through neighborhoods, what have you, and they will interact directly with the voters, and they will offer what they call ‘assistance to voters’ in filling out their absentee ballots and then collecting those ballots and offering to return those ballots either to a postal office or to a voting center.
What ballot harvesting therefore allows is for people who are not election officials and who are not the voters themselves direct access to people’s votes. And as we have seen time and time again, that allows for a degree of mischief and election malfeasance that is simply not possible in a polling place, for instance.
There were a lot of stories where vote harvesting has led either to tampering with ballots or destruction of ballots. As we talked about earlier, the 2018 North Carolina race, two instances where people have gone into the homes of voters and have intimidated them or pressured them or coerced them into voting for a particular candidate. We’ve even seen instances in which elected officials have been responsible for either bribing voters or coercing them and intimidating them to vote for their own re-elections.
All of this happens in a voter’s home where it is very difficult, if not impossible, for this conduct to be detected and to be stopped.
What vote harvesting allows is for voters to be quite brazenly disenfranchised. And it also creates a level of skepticism and doubt: first of all, in the minds of the voters themselves. They hand their ballot to a stranger – did that ballot actually get counted properly? Was that ballot returned? And then in the minds of elections officials, since they cannot have a complete chain of custody for each of those ballots, there’s no way for them to know whether those ballots were truly voted secretly and independently and privately, or whether there was some level of pressure or other tactics applied to voters to cast ballots in a particular way.
In the concluding segment tomorrow, Jason Snead outlines the specific dangers of mail-in voting and explains the real cost to electoral integrity.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.