Election denialism is one of my biggest political pet peeves. Whether it’s coming from Al Gore in 2000, Stacey Abrams in 2018, or Donald Trump and his supporters in 2020 and counting, the idea that the definition of a fair election is one that our side wins is antithetical to the concept of democratically elected government.
Of course, that’s not to say that legitimate problems with elections shouldn’t be addressed. Virtually every election is likely to have some small number of illegally cast votes. And if there is evidence of a conspiracy by either side to corruptly influence an election to such a degree that the outcome is changed, then it’s critical to our faith in the system that such corruption is identified and prosecuted.
It’s that “evidence” part that differentiates true problems from sour-grapes whining that serves only to undermine the trust of the voters. Evidence, not Twitter rumors and conspiracy theories, is what’s needed to prove a case in a court of law. So evidence should be the lifeblood of any organization that exists specifically to find and correct elections irregularities. Such an organization, if finding itself in possession of proof that an election was actually tampered with, should gladly hand that evidence over to any investigator, court, media organization, and anyone else who wants to see it.
But that’s not what’s happening here in Georgia. An election integrity group called “True the Vote” has long claimed it has concrete proof, including complaining witnesses, that networks of organizations in Georgia and other states conspired to illegally harvest absentee ballots and deposit them in drop boxes. These allegations form the basis of the 2022 Dinesh D’Souza movie “2000 Mules”, which purports to show “mules” transporting piles of illegal ballots from those organizations and repeatedly depositing them into drop boxes.
(As an aside, the movie never shows any such activity. A handful of people are shown putting items into drop boxes, which the GBI investigated. It found that all of those people were legally depositing their own ballots and those of family members in the same household. The movie asserts that each of the 2000 mules visited at least ten different drop boxes, but despite claiming to have precise cell phone tracking data and thousands of hours of video surveillance of hundreds of drop boxes, they never once show anyone visiting more than one drop box, or anyone going to the same drop box more than once.)
In November 2021, True the Vote opened a complaint with the Georgia Secretary of State’s office asking it to investigate their allegations of ballot harvesting. Naturally, the Secretary of State’s office asked them to provide their evidence. Quite unnaturally, they refused. Six months later, office investigators issued subpoenas for this information. At the time, some of their supporters claimed this was a legal strategy and forcing the subpoena would somehow improve the legal case for the evidence. But after dodging it for over a year, True the Vote argued that providing their evidence would breach the confidentiality of their alleged witnesses. They withdrew their complaint rather than comply with the subpoena.
But it’s not up to a private party whether or not to investigate allegations of election law violations. So now the Georgia State Election Board has sued True the Vote to force compliance. It won’t be the group’s first time in court. One of the alleged “mules” from the movie has sued them for falsely claiming they had video of him committing ballot fraud. An election logistics company has also sued them over claims they hacked the company’s servers and accused the founder of being a Communist spy.
Unlike those suits, though, what the elections board is asking for should be the same thing as what True the Vote claims to want: a thorough investigation of claims of election fraud. Election integrity advocates should be cheering this lawsuit. Or, more accurately, they should be demanding that True the Vote settle the suit by immediately handing over all its evidence to investigators, and making it all public at the same time to ensure that no one can suppress it.
I strongly suspect this will not be True the Vote’s response to this lawsuit. In fact, I feel quite safe in predicting that they will use every legal strategy available to them to stop or delay the suit, just as they fought the subpoena. Why? The same reason they produced an entire movie without showing any of the evidence they claim to have. And the same reason that no one ever met Jan Brady’s boyfriend, George Glass.
Advocates of the theory that the 2020 election was stolen have long promised to “release the Kraken” of lawsuits that would prove all their claims beyond any shadow of a doubt. But in the over two and a half years since such claims were first advanced, no such lawsuit has ever been filed. The ones that were filed have all been summarily dismissed for the same failure to produce any evidence that True the Vote is now being sued for. It turns out that, like the legendary Kraken, the stolen-election theory is just a myth.