Opinion | Shock! There’s No Voter Fraud. Once more.

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I maintain no illusions that any of those truths will matter to those that have invested themselves in tales of widespread fraud. In spite of everything, they weren’t moved when each Republican and Democratic officers in states across the nation reaffirmed, in some instances a number of occasions, the accuracy and integrity of their vote counts. Even Invoice Barr, the previous legal professional common and one in all Mr. Trump’s most dependable bootlickers, couldn’t carry himself to repeat the lie that there was any significant fraud in 2020.

Alas, Republican voters don’t hearken to Invoice Barr. They hearken to Donald Trump, who dismissed the A.P.’s report by doing his normal Mafia don impression. “I simply don’t suppose you need to make a idiot out of your self by saying 400 votes,” the previous president advised the information group, insisting that the true variety of fraudulent votes in 2020 was within the “lots of of 1000’s.” His proof? An unreleased report by a supply he refused to call.

That is the way it goes with the vote-fraud fraudsters. The damning proof is at all times proper across the subsequent nook, or the one after that. Recall that Mr. Trump established a voter-fraud fee quickly after he entered workplace, with the aim of rooting out the supposedly large fraud that led him to lose the favored vote by practically three million votes. (Like everybody else, he knew that true democratic legitimacy comes not from the Electoral School, however from a majority of the American folks.) The fee was led by Kris Kobach, the indefatigable vote-fraud warrior whom Mr. Daley once called “an Inspector Clouseau who gazes into his mirror and sees Sherlock Holmes.” In Mr. Kobach’s earlier job as Kansas’s secretary of state, he spent years looking for widespread vote fraud and gained solely 9 convictions, most of them of older Republican males who had double voted. Underneath Mr. Kobach’s management, the Trump voter-fraud fee disbanded after lower than a yr of chaos and controversy, with out having made any findings.

That’s as a result of, because the A.P. report affirms as soon as once more, there was nothing to search out. American voters aren’t dishonest, and positively not in any coordinated approach.

And right here lies the deepest irony of this unusual, fragile second we live in. A really actual risk is, in actual fact, looming over America’s electoral integrity. However it’s not coming from voters; it’s coming from the folks braying the loudest in regards to the significance of election integrity.

Donald Trump turned fact-free costs of voter fraud into an artwork type, however the exploitation of the predictable public concern generated by that kind of rhetoric has been a central characteristic of the Republican playbook for years. Again in 2013, the then-North Carolina lawmaker Thom Tillis defined why Republicans within the Legislature had been passing their strict voter-ID regulation. “There may be some proof of voter fraud, however that’s not the first cause for doing this,” said Mr. Tillis, now a U.S. senator. “There are lots of people who’re simply involved with the potential danger of fraud.” Why are they so involved? As a result of their leaders have been feeding them a gradual weight loss plan of lies.

That weight loss plan turned an all-you-can-eat buffet within the Trump years, culminating within the “Cease the Steal” rallies after the 2020 election after which, horrifically, within the Jan. 6 riot on the U.S. Capitol. Now the identical individuals who subscribed to the lies about election fraud are operating for, and infrequently successful, jobs overseeing the operating of elections throughout the nation. They’re consultant of a brand new era of Republicans, raised within the fever swamps of Fox Information and different purveyors of disinformation, who imagine elections are legitimate solely when their candidate wins.

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