OPINION: Is There Voter Fraud? You Betcha! And Here’s Why it Matters

By: Former State Rep. Lenny Mirra,

If there’s one prediction you can take to the bank for this year’s election it is that the losing side in a close race will almost certainly make claims of election fraud and a “stolen” election.

Democrats did this after the 2016 presidential election and Republicans did the same after 2020, leading to violence, vandalism, and riots each time. This is why election officials, now more than ever, need to work to not only make sure that our elections are safe and secure, but to also let voters know that they’re taking all measures to make that happen.

Some states are already doing this, like in Connecticut where a judge had to throw out the results of a primary election for Bridgeport Mayor because a video surfaced showing a campaign worker stuffing harvested ballots into a drop box. The judge cited the “shocking” evidence of “blatant ballot harvesting” and, worse yet, that the city was marred with similar accusations in previous elections.

Their new Secretary of State, Stephanie Thomas, is working with their state legislature to make improvements to their election system by, among other things, putting cameras on all drop boxes and making sure the footage is saved. This may not sound like much but it’s a lot better than states like Massachusetts which don’t even require such cameras.

Election officials here dismissively claim that our elections are already safe and secure and that no cheating ever occurs, but a quick glance shows this is wishful thinking. The Heritage Foundation has a website listing incidents across the country and you can see it at www.heritage.org/voterfraud.

There you can learn about Mark Atlas of Worcester, who was charged in 2013 for voting under someone else’s name. Or Courtney Llewellyn, an East Longmeadow town employee, who conspired with her husband to cast absentee ballots in her husband’s race for state office.

You can also read about Enrico Villamaino who pleaded guilty to charges of larceny, interfering with an election official, forgery, perjury, and conspiracy to commit an unlawful act for changing the party affiliation of 280 voters. And then there’s former State Rep Stephen Smith who pleaded guilty to two counts of voter fraud where he obtained absentee ballots for ineligible voters and cast their ballots without their knowledge.

Thankfully there are people and groups already working to improve our election system and one of them is Braver Angels, where yours truly is a member. I was chosen to serve on their Committee for Trustworthy Elections and after countless meetings with people on all sides we came up with an excellent report that you can read about at braverangels.org/trustworthy-elections.

We came up with 727 unanimous points of agreement across values, concerns, and solutions. This report has distilled those into three principles:

• “Voting should be easy. Cheating should be hard.”

• “Every citizen should have an equal say in who will govern them; this is done through free and fair elections.”

• “The American government will fail if candidates refuse to accept any outcome other than victory.”
Ignoring the glaring flaws in our election system only increases cynicism and distrust, especially at a time when trust and credibility in it are at all-time lows. Election officials owe it to voters to not only investigate claims of fraud and cheating, but to be proactive in making sure our voting process is as safe and secure as possible. ◊