Recounts, runoffs and election fraud

“Then too the bitterness that would be engendered by such a maneuver on my part would, in my opinion, have done incalculable and lasting damage throughout the country,” from his memoir book, “Six Crises,” by President Richard M. Nixon, on why he did not contest or demand recounts in the states of Illinois and Texas after the presidential election of 1960.

Political king-maker, Joseph Kennedy, father of then U.S. Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy bragged to many in the almost immediate aftermath of the 1960 contest of the resources involved in vote-buying and tabulation ‘assistance’ in Illinois and Massachusetts, as well as the able support of these efforts in Texas by supporters of U.S. Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson. 
JFK and LBJ would move to the White House as president and vice-president while Nixon would finish his second term as VP for President Dwight Eisenhower who was heading home to California to lick his wounds and prepare for a political comeback bid for the White House that would be successful eight years later. Nixon believed as he stated many times since losing that election, that the presidency, and our republic, were each more important than who is elected president.

 Recounts in close contests are a legitimate part of the electoral process. In Georgia, and contests where the outcome is separated by half a percentage point or less, the trailing candidate may request a recount with those costs absorbed by state and local election offices. The most recent presidential contest in Georgia, at the start of system security audit and hand recount, was decided by .03 percentage points and a margin of just more than 14,000 votes in favor of Vice-President Joe Biden.  

In local contests, where elections are more frequently than one may think decided by a few dozen votes, recounts do change outcomes. However, with the old punch card system, the immediate past voting tablets and now the new Dominion Voting System; though human error remains part of the equation, the results needle does not move very far in retabulating and recanvassing.

Much is being made of signature matching and a forensic audit of the Georgia results. Even if the recount did produce a different winner, the prevailing state law does not allow for such an audit. What we are still lacking, at least as of this writing, is any significant evidence of ballot fraud.
IF the election contest was stolen, why would the thieves give more votes to U.S. Senator David Perdue, than to Donald Trump? Why would they leave a State House GOP majority largely intact? Why leave all that reward on the table if you are going to take the risk of multiple felony count charges for ballot fraud?

Absentee mail-in ballots remain the most vulnerable part of our system. I have a solution, for consideration by the next General Assembly. Virtual voter identification required. At any precinct or advance voting location, Georgia voters are required to show government-issued I.D.  This requirement can be added to the absentee ballot application or ballot itself, to contain space and requirement for driver’s license or U.S. passport number, or Georgia voter I.D. number as well.

Turnout in runoff elections typically drops by more than half. A solid rule of thumb for runoff winners is that if they can turn out the same number of voters they had in the General Election or Primary, the candidate will win. Even with record turnout, only 70 percent of eligible registered voters in Georgia (6.8 million), participated in the General Election. That other 30 percent may also participate in the two senate runoffs, as well as the statewide runoff for public service commission on Tuesday, Jan. 5.

 Equally, if not more important, are the local and regional elected officials who will be selected in four other contests across the state on Tuesday, Dec. 1, ranging from a special election to fill one month of the unexpired term of 5th District Congressman John Lewis to who will next serve as district attorney for the Western Judicial Circuit of Georgia (Athens/Clarke and Oconee counties).

 Election fraud is real, has occurred, and will again, but not likely on a scale to sway the outcome of a presidential election. The dead have voted in Georgia, and precincts have voted in alphabetic order, but at this point, the only jockey still beating a dead horse perhaps should instead be scheduling moving trucks for arrival and departure from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. There are also two live U.S. Senate contests to focus on trying to win.

Bill Crane also serves as a political analyst and commentator for Channel 2’s Action News, WSB-AM News/Talk 750 and now 95.5 FM, as well as a columnist for The Champion, DeKalb Free Press and Georgia Trend. Crane is a DeKalb native and business owner, living in Scottdale. You can reach him or comment on a column at 


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