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Tom Zirpoli: Republicans have a voter fraud problem | COMMENTARY

Three recent cases have demonstrated that Republicans have a voter fraud problem. They had been accusing Democrats of voter fraud since the 2020 presidential election by, for example, casting ballots for dead people.

In Nevada, the case of Rosemarie Hartle is a good example of this. Hartle died of cancer in 2017 but somehow managed to vote. Her husband was a frequent star of Fox News and other right-wing media outlets who complained that someone cast a ballot in her name. “Sickening” was how he described it.

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The Hartle case gained national attention when Tucker Carlson on Fox News talked about the case as an “accurate” example of voter fraud. “It is not a theory,” said Carlson. “It happened and we can prove it.” His only evidence of voter fraud was the Hartle case and he accused the mainstream media of “hiding” the truth about this incident. Other right-wing media joined Carlson with the same line of attack.

As usual, Carlson didn’t know what he was talking about because it was his guest, Donald Hartle, Rosemarie Hartle’s husband, who voted twice, using his late wife’s ballot and his own. He recently pled guilty to voter fraud. So, yes, there was voter fraud in the 2020 election in Nevada, and it was committed by a Republican casting two votes for Donald Trump. Hartle entered a plea deal to avoid going to jail, will pay a $2,000 fine, and received a sentence of one year of probation.

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In the second case of voter fraud, a Republican in Ohio cast ballots in his name and his father’s name. His dad died before the election, however. Edward Snodgrass admitted forging his father’s signature on his absentee ballot and casting two votes. Snodgrass called it an “honest error” because he was “sleep-deprived and not thinking clearly. But I’m not going to run away from it.” At least the guy is being honest.

As stated by Christopher Devine, a professor of political science at the University of Dayton: “Very few people commit voter fraud and when they do it usually looks like this: one person casting an additional vote through a strange series of circumstances that gave him an opportunity he shouldn’t have taken. And he got caught.”

The third case was found by a politician in Texas. Republicans there are so determined to find voter fraud that Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick offered rewards of between $25,000 and $1 million for anyone who could provide evidence of voter fraud. I guess they need to justify their new voting restriction laws.

The only person to receive any of this reward money was a poll worker in Pennsylvania, Eric Frank, who caught a — wait for it — registered Republican voter, Ralph Thurman, voting twice, once with his own ballot and a second time using his son’s name. But Patrick gave Frank only $25,000 because, he said, the $1 million rewards were reserved for “bigger fish.” In other words, I’m guessing, a Democrat. So far, however, no one has won a $1 million reward because it seems that voter fraud in 2020 was limited to Republican voters.

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Nick Corasaniti, Reid Epstein, and Jim Rutenberg of The New York Times wrote about a study in which election officials from every state were asked to identify 2020 voter fraud examples. What they found, however, is that, “Election officials in dozens of states representing both political parties said that there was no evidence that fraud or other irregularities played a role in the outcome of the presidential race. …”

Forty-five states responded directly that there were no major voting issues. Four other states already stated publicly for the media that there were no issues. Only Texas did not respond to the survey, but individual counties within Texas did with the same report — no major voting issues.

It seems that even the former president knew he lost the election fair and square. In an interview last week on CNN, the former Trump White House communications director, Alyssa Farah, stated that the former president “told me shortly after” the election “that he knew he lost. …” But then, according to Farah, aides “got to him” and convinced him to fight the results and claim voter fraud.

In his usual response to anyone who disagrees with him, the former president immediately attacked Farah calling her a “backbencher” and a “clown.” Makes me wonder why any president would name a “clown” to be his director of communications, but that does explain a lot, I think.

Only the best backbenchers, too!

Tom Zirpoli is a professor and program coordinator of the Human Services Management graduate program at McDaniel College. He writes from Westminster and his column appears Wednesdays. Email him at tzirpoli@mcdaniel.edu.

FILE - Voters hold their ballots as they wait in line to register their votes at a school in Midlothian, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021.
FILE - Voters hold their ballots as they wait in line to register their votes at a school in Midlothian, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2021. (Steve Helber/AP)
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