February 11, 2024

"Four years ago, months before Trump launched his stolen-election conspiracy, Lessig and Seligman devised a class at Harvard law school: Wargaming 2020."

"They looked at whether it would be possible to hack the presidential election and send the losing candidate to the White House. Their conclusion was that American democracy had dodged a bullet. 'We discovered that Trump didn’t really understand what he could have done,' Lessig says. 'There were obvious moves he and his team could have made, but they didn’t take them.' The insurrection on 6 January 2021 was tragic in its loss of life, but as a method of overturning the election it was the 'dumbest thing they could have possibly done. No court would ever allow the election to be decided by force of bayonets.'..."

From "How to steal a US election: Harvard’s Lawrence Lessig on Trump’s new threat/Law professor’s new book offers a stark warning about loopholes that could let Republicans overturn the election" (The Guardian).

1. If physically taking over the building is an incredibly dumb way to try to steal the election, that's a reason to infer that there was no intent to steal. It would make more sense to say that Trump thought that a big demonstration would motivate Congress to undertake some additional process that would determine whether the votes had been accurately counted and that might legitimately change the outcome.

2. If it's obvious that different moves can be made to steal the election, why is it supposed to be so outlandish for Trump to have questioned whether the Democrats stole the election? Maybe they made some of those "obvious moves."

3. Is it too much to ask for some nonpartisan assurance that American elections are not stolen? I like the idea of a book called "How to Steal a Presidential Election" (commission-earned link), but is it just about how Trump might steal the election or does it take threats from all sides seriously? I can't believe that only Trump is tempted to cheat and that only his stupidity saved us last time. Surely, some cheating has gone on throughout American history, and democracy is always under attack, whether the orange man is afoot or finally, at long last, out of our hair.

4. It's not anti-democratic to be suspicious that what purports to be the result of a democratic process could be wrong. Lessig himself is expressing that suspicion. 

ADDED: There's an old saying: It takes a thief to catch a thief. That's why they have to teach theft at Harvard Law School.

71 comments:

BarrySanders20 said...

Wonder if they go Dutch treat.

Ambrose said...

Trump did not want to steal the election; he wanted to prevent Biden from stealing it from him. That should be plain whether or not you believe Trump's belief he had won was justified. Is journalism really that bad?

(I'd like to read more about the tragic loss of life on Jan. 6.)

Cappy said...

Since this is from Harvard, do they explain the context? See what I did there?

Big Mike said...

2. If it's obvious that different moves can be made to steal the election, why is it supposed to be so outlandish for Trump to have questioned whether the Democrats stole the election? Maybe they made some of those "obvious moves."

It’s about time a doctrinaire lefty asked questions like this.

wendybar said...

Not a conspiracy if it is true. Isn't everybody SICK of getting lied to over and over and over again?? Some of these so called "EXPERTS" signed a corrupt lying letter interfering in the election, and most of them STILL have security clearances.

hombre said...

The leftmediaswine continue to promote the fiction that the 2020 election was copacetic despite considerable evidence to the contrary.

Democrats continue to oppose election reform measure to secure election integrity. Republicans go along for the ride apparently out of fear of being called "deniers" by said leftmediaswine.

Corruption and cowardice abide while the Republic sinks.

TreeJoe said...

That comment by Lessig indicates his lack of critical thinking around January 6

All loss of life was attributed to a single rioter who, to the best of our knowledge, was in a window and was being pushed through by rioters behind her (she did put herself there in a first place). To this day it’s still unclear to
Me if the rules of engagement of capitol police allow for the shooting of an unarmed rioter entering a barricaded area.

And the comment about bayonets further cements that.

Readering said...

Althouse loves thought experiments to prop up the Trump horror show she she watched in front of her for 4 years.

Wince said...

Good grief. Trump haters seem to have little to no self-awareness.

During Trump’s first presidential run in 2016, 10 electors switched their votes. The ruse was a creative, albeit vain attempt to stave off a Trump presidency.

Lessig argued on behalf of the 2016 faithless electors
before the US supreme court [sic], in a case known as Chiafolo v Washington. The court ruled against the faithless electors, ordering that states have the right to compel them to back the winners of the popular vote.

The authors’ concern is that the supreme court left it up to each state to decide whether or not to take up that power. Several states have yet to spell out in law that electors must abide by their pledge to vote for the victor. That leaves the door open to electors coming under massive, even violent pressure from Trump’s army of Make America Great Again warriors.

Narayanan said...

did not losing candidate Biden actually take over Presidency and Whitehouse?

Yancey Ward said...

Shorter Lessig- "We stole the election fair and square, and Trump needs to get over it."

n.n said...

Democrats set the precedent with anti-democratic movements, national insurrections, political congruence, witch hunts (e.g. Palmerism), of recurring frequency. Harvard does it through DEI (i.e. affirmative discrimination). The Guardian et al do it through dictatorial published consensus on issues ranging from science to diversity (e.g. racism) to [ethic] Springs to abortion (e.g. wicked solution). Just go along to get along.

Randomizer said...

I'm waiting for Lessig's next book, How to Influence an Election. Getting corporate media to bury the lurid Hunter Biden story was well done.

fairmarketvalue said...

Perhaps it would be more democratic to have a study as whether the election was stolen from Trump. Evidently, such a study as been conducted.

https://heartland.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/Feb-24-2020-Election-Analysis-vWeb_Final.pdf

Old and slow said...

It would not be very difficult to implement a secure method of voting that would allow meaningful audits. Our politicians refuse to do this because our elections are a sham and have been for many years. Trump was a weirdo who slipped through the cracks. They won't let that happen again!

gilbar said...

The insurrection on 6 January 2021 was tragic in its loss of life..

So, they're saying the Entire capitol hill police force be sent to prison?
Or.. they're saying the people the capitol hill police force MURDERED should be dug up and sent to prison?

Joe Biden Is Corrupt said...

Democrats probably cheat. (they certainly lie all the time) Cheaters and liars = same thing.
Democrat scam is to scare their hive-minder into the position that only R's cheat.

Bruce Hayden said...

“That comment by Lessig indicates his lack of critical thinking around January 6”

Lessing has long been a leftist tool, and a dilettante. He continually sticks his finger into subjects that he knows little about, making pronouncements that often sound ludicrous to those who actually understand the area in question. He comes into this discussion, after having made a fool of himself in the CO case involving Trump’s case heard last week by the Supreme Court.

MartyH said...

After the 2016 election, Lawrence Lessig founded an organization to encourage Trump electors to vote for Clinton.

I assume he doesn't present "creating faithless electors" as one of the methods to steal an election.

planetgeo said...

This article further confirms the sloppy scholarship slide of Harvard law school. Insurrection? Not according to the Supreme Court (to which no Harvard graduate should henceforth ever ascend). Loss of Life? Yes, one unarmed woman shot by a Capitol Police lieutenant. Bayonets? Oh, please.

Poorly named course too. Should be "Lawfare 2024," a subject Harvard-trained combatants seem well-prepared to engage in.

gilbar said...

TreeJoe erroneously said..All loss of life was attributed to a single rioter who..

NOPE!
There was also the other lady that the cops beat to death, and then "claimed" she OD'd on baton strikes

rwnutjob said...

I used to be agnostic on the stolen election.
I now know it was stolen. The vote totals changing suddenly in the middle of the night & the Whacked out county totals list with Obama, Trump & Biden were clues, but it was certainly stolen.

GOPe didn't do anything because Trump was icky.

they are going to do it again.

Who's going to stop them? His landslide was such a shock to the Democrats, they had to take extraordinary measures.

I think this is why Trump is so crazy now. I'd be crazy too.

Lem the artificially intelligent said...

“Lessig himself is expressing that suspicion.“

Suspicion for thee, insurrection for me.

Trump was no longer president on Jan 7th, that’s what Colorado argued with its self-executing interpretation of the 14th. And yet everyone went on acting as though Trump was still president until Jan 20th.

My suspicion - ‘you don’t need a good, fair reasonableness to stop Trump. We’ll just go back to normalcy when he’s gone.’

The thing is, that bell once rung, can’t be unrung.

Oso Negro said...

Again the use of "insurrection" as if it is an established fact.

Tom T. said...

In other words, Lessig concluded that there was a riot, not an insurrection, but he decided to push the "insurrection" rubric anyway, for political reasons.

tim in vermont said...

The reason false flags are impossible on American soil, despite the fact that they have been used throughout recorded history to manipulate populations into fighting wars, is that we live on "magic dirt." Therefore J6 could not have been a false flag operation, despite all of the evidence that it was. QED

Jamie said...

No court would ever allow the election to be decided by force of bayonets.'..."

1. I'm commenting without reading other comments.

2. If no court would allow an election to be decided by force of bayonets, imagine how much less likely they'd be to allow an election to be decided by people carrying nothing more lethal than cellphones.

3. What gives this writer the idea that a successful insurrection, by force of bayonets, so to speak, would then have recourse to the courts to validate their victory?

4. So am I to conclude that this whole exercise was just another "what would Trump do" fantasy in which no scenario even makes sense on it's face?

tim in vermont said...

Fascists make it a point to accuse the other side of whatever nefarious thing that they think that they have to do to seize power, because it makes it hard for the normies to process the facts after they get the accusation out there, because once a fake narrative has been imposed on those facts, nothing makes any sense.

With fascists, every accusation is a confession.

Kevin said...

There's an old saying: It takes a thief to catch a thief. That's why they have to teach theft at Harvard Law School.

Is that also why they teach “saving democracy” at DNC headquarters?

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Biden's next book: how the people who were not senile stole it.

Joe Smith said...

How to say you're a lunatic lefty asshole without really saying it...

If this country dodged a bullet, I'll take the bullet.

Iman said...

What’s “democratic” about Super Delegates?

Again, fuck these people.

Sebastian said...

"'We discovered that Trump didn’t really understand what he could have done,'"

True. He was an oblivious clown on this issue as on many others.

"The insurrection on 6 January 2021 was tragic in its loss of life"

Paraphrasing Lessig or not, that is such prog BS.

"No court would ever allow the election to be decided by force of bayonets.'..."

Like, the bayonets of the first unarmed "insurrectionists" in recorded history?

From "How to steal a US election: Harvard’s Lawrence Lessig on Trump’s new threat/Law professor’s new book offers a stark warning about loopholes that could let Republicans overturn the election" (The Guardian).

"that's a reason to infer that there was no intent to steal"

Correct. Not that it mattters.

"Maybe they made some of those "obvious moves.""

Well, yes--mail-in ballots, harvesting, unconstitutional changes in rules, zuckerbucks.

"Is it too much to ask for some nonpartisan assurance that American elections are not stolen?"

It is. Dems assume nice voters don't want to look to closely, and they are right.

"It's not anti-democratic to be suspicious that what purports to be the result of a democratic could be wrong. Lessig himself is expressing that suspicion."

Depends on the meaning of democracy, as in "our democracy." Nuf said.

tcrosse said...

"force of bayonets"?

Mary Beth said...

I'd like to read more about the tragic loss of life on Jan. 6

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killing_of_Ashli_Babbitt

Or is that not what they meant?

Temujin said...

Nah...
>You just change a number of state election laws in the month or two going into the election, because of a 'National Emergency'. Yeah...that's it.
>Then you allow for state-wide mail-in ballots. And the states enhance it by sending out ballots to literally everyone who has ever lived in that state, thought about it, or read about it.
>Then you extend the voting dates from one day, to one month.
>Then you put into practice the use of ballot harvesters. It's hard enough to remember to vote within a month. Then you have to make sure to mail in your ballot? And sign it??? Hell...the states removed those obstacles. They made it so you don't have to do a thing. Just sit at home eating Cheetos. Someone will stop by your house, pick up all of the ballots for all people living there- current and past- and, as an added bonus, they will fill out your ballot for you AND sign it for you! What a government we have!
>Then...another small but smart add-on from SmartGov: You receive a big donation from ZuckerEmpire. They've donated hundreds of unofficial ballot drop boxes which you will set out all over the cities, to make it easier for the Ballot Harvesters to do their drops. Multiple times a day, for a month.
>Finally, on the so-called "Election Night", you are going to shut down the vote counting centers in key precincts of key states. You'll do it late at night when people have been told 'it's too close to call...go to bed'. And all but a select handpicked few will be allowed to remain in those voting centers. All of the remaining people, including the election overseers, will be asked/forced to leave. You'll tell them "a water pipe burst' or some such thing. When everyone is gone, you'll start counting, and inserting more and more cases of ballots that are either brought in post-clearance, or that you had hidden on premise.

Then...when the dust settles...and the daylight comes on, if there are any places in which Joe Biden is not yet leading, you say "We're still counting"...because you are! And you'll just keep counting until you have enough votes to win.

After all, that's what an election is all about, right?

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

1. If physically taking over the building is an incredibly dumb way to try to steal the election, that's a reason to infer that there was no intent to steal.

Not really, it's more of a reason to infer that the demonstrators weren't that smart. That's assuming that was the original intent of the demonstration. I don't know if that's ever been proven, nor do I think that Trump intended it to happen.

It would make more sense to say that Trump thought that a big demonstration would motivate Congress to undertake some additional process that would determine whether the votes had been accurately counted and that might legitimately change the outcome.

That's more about Trump's naivety than anything else. He thought that a large demonstration of middle and working class people would motivate the Democrats to do something. It did not because they actively hate the middle and working classes, especially the White middle and working classes.

4. It's not anti-democratic to be suspicious that what purports to be the result of a democratic process could be wrong.

No, it isn't. In fact, if our pols (on both sides) were as smart as they claim to be they'd make damn sure that elections were so above board that there could be no question of their result. Of course, that would limit their opportunities to cheat and our current Democrat elite is such a weak elite that they'd most likely never survive keeping things open and honest.

n.n said...

How to steal a presidential election: medical mandates, democracy without borders, democratic gerrymandering, deny standing and audits, hunt and imprison your competitors, and steering and disinformation published through JournoListic outlets.

Joe Biden Is Corrupt said...

It was not an insurrection.
It was a riot.

and - not everyone participated in the riot. Many were calm and didn't do anything wrong.

John henry said...

Isn't it pretty well accepted that JFK cheated his way into the presidency?

And LBJ cheated his way into the Senate?

Do other countries have jokes about election cheating? eg; "Daddy was republican till the day he died. Democrat ever since, though" or "Vote early, vote often" or jokes about voting booths in cemeteries?

I once had to explain one of these to my son in law. Jokes about dead people voting just make no sense to a Puerto Rican. It is so physically impossible that it is inconceivable and makes no sense.

If you don't show up at the polling place on election day, between 10 and 2, with your secure voter ID card, and cast your vote on a paper ballot, you ain't voting. (Some, but not many, exceptions) How would a dead person vote?

Seriously folks. You need to take your elections more seriously there in the upper 50. Your elections are a joke.

John Henry

Michael Fitzgerald said...

It takes a thief to catch a thief...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wZ8Ksr1bZw

Joe Smith said...

Harvard has the same credibility as my local community college...

Ampersand said...

Lessig is a very smart guy who devotes himself to finding ways to make the facts fit the narrative. Narrative uber alles.

Hey Skipper said...

@John Henry: Seriously folks. You need to take your elections more seriously there in the upper 50. Your elections are a joke.


I've been a poll worker in Idaho for the last five elections.

I won't go into details, but if all states used the same system and voting requirements as Idaho, there would be no disputes over election results.

Bruce Hayden said...

What will be interesting is what theDems do this election. In 2020 Dems were very likely able to illegally manufacture better than a million fraudulent votes for FJB in those 6 Dem controlled metro counties in the 6 critical swing states. I seriously doubt that they can use the same methods this time around. I would think having judges on speed dial, and lawsuits ready to file at 8 am the next day, before counting is complete, would be useful. Also, monitoring drop boxes at a distance would be useful (it was tried in AZ in 2022, and a judge ruled that armed watchers were intimidating - so don’t be visibly armed). My prediction is that the Dems are going to have to manufacture even more votes, maybe a lot more votes, to win in most of those states this year (MI may be lost for Trump with the FJB Admin swinging towards Hamas, over Israel). Moreover, the methods for cheating by the Dems in 2020 (and in AZ in 2022) have by now been well documented, and become more so with additional exposures every month.

So they need something big. Bigger than 2020. The mail in voting in most of those 6 states was illegal, but was waived through by Dem and RINO Secretaries of State because of COVID-19 lockdowns. It was BS from the first, since it would have been safer medically to have just provided the same safeguards imposed whenever you went to the bank or grocery store. But in any case, we now know that the lockdowns did nothing to slow or stop the pandemics, and that federal healthcare officials like Fauci, Collins, pulled their guidance out of their nether regions. So, another pandemic seems unlikely as their vehicle this year to steal the election. Right now, the only thing that seems credible, to allow them to manufacture millions of votes, in swing states, is some sort of armed insurgency or invasion. We know that Pelosi and the Deep State manufactured the J6 “Insurrection”, and how they did it. I think that means that it is going to need to be a real threat, that can be proven as such, instead of using federal employees (FBI, etc) working with Dem aligned groups (e.g. bus loads of AntiFA working with the FBI to incite the crowds).

We will see.

Joe Smith said...

'And LBJ cheated his way into the Senate?'

And Obama cheated like hell to be elected senator.

Seems that most of the cheating is on the D side.

Same as it ever was...

effinayright said...

@Lem:

"The 20th Amendment, adopted in 1933, changed the day and time of presidential inaugurations to noon on Jan. 20."

Claims made otherwise before the Supremes would rightly be met with hoots, boos and jeers from the Justices.

Milo Minderbinder said...

Loss of life? Two died. One, Ashley Babbit, was shot in the neck by a Capitol Policeman who clearly overreacted. Had that happened in a city it would have been investigated thoroughly as an OIS and that cop likely would've been dismissed. This Capitol cop was promoted. The second death was a Capitol cop who died the next day from a heart attack. This great "loss of life" crap has been debunked thoroughly. Lessig should know better.

n.n said...

Note to citizens: when they roll out the red carpet, you're the puppet, perchance baby, in their handmade tale.

Michael K said...

Molly Ball helpfully explained it in Time Magazine only she called it "fortifying the election."

"Private philanthropy stepped into the breach. An assortment of foundations contributed tens of millions in election-administration funding. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative chipped in $300 million. “It was a failure at the federal level that 2,500 local election officials were forced to apply for philanthropic grants to fill their needs,” says Amber McReynolds, a former Denver election official who heads the nonpartisan National Vote at Home Institute."

Rusty said...

Except there was no insurrection. That has been established. Trump had no intention of overturning a legitimate election. There were enough discrepancies to require an investigation.

iowan2 said...

There are a lot of things to do to safe guard elections.

The first? Each jurisdiction, by law, must submit the number of ballots cast within 30 minutes of the polls closing.
We should know, hard number, the amount of votes cast in each polling place, county, state.


Bruce Hayden said...

“Loss of life? Two died. One, Ashley Babbit, was shot in the neck by a Capitol Policeman who clearly overreacted. Had that happened in a city it would have been investigated thoroughly as an OIS and that cop likely would've been dismissed. This Capitol cop was promoted. The second death was a Capitol cop who died the next day from a heart attack. This great "loss of life" crap has been debunked thoroughly. Lessig should know better.”

You are skipping the female protester who was beat to death by Capital Police. They tried to palm it off as a drug OD, until videos of the beat down were made public.

Josephbleau said...

“ADDED: There's an old saying: It takes a thief to catch a thief. That's why they have to teach theft at Harvard Law School.”

It also takes a thief to steal an election, and it also takes a thief to teach someone else how to steal an election. Is Harvard fulfilling those needs too in this course?

ballpeenX said...

"The insurrection on 6 January 2021 was tragic in its loss of life,..."

Only one person lost their life on 1/6. That was Ashli Babbit, who was shot by Capitol Police Lieutenant Michael Byrd.

Big Mike said...

Only one person lost their life on 1/6. That was Ashli Babbit, who was shot by Capitol Police Lieutenant Michael Byrd.

Incompletely true. Rosanne Boyland, a 34 year old female Trump supporter, was beaten to death by Capitol Police outside the Capitol Building. The New York Times, CNN, PBS, and other lefty news media have attempted to “prove” that she was not clubbed to death while unconscious on the ground and no threat to anyone, but people who were there at the time say that she certainly was clubbed while already unconscious. A Capitol Policeman died of a stroke the next day and lefty news outlets like to include him in the death total. It was reported that as many as 4 members of the Capitol Police and Washington Metropolitan Police committed suicide, or were Epsteined, in the days and weeks following the event.

NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

Loss of life? One person was shot by a cop.

Bayonets? What are you talking about?

If the government were overthrown by the military (they have the bayonets), do you think they'd let a court ruling stop them?

boatbuilder said...

Um. There were never any "bayonets," or even guns to attach them to.

Kirk Parker said...

Hey Skipper,

Don't be a tease! Say a bit more, at least, about those Idaho laws and procedures; that would be very germane to this discussion.

Rich Rostrom said...

The election of 1876 is an instructive example. After 16 years of Republican rule, and some fairly putrid scandals in Grant's second term, Democrat Samuel Tilden eked out a narrow victory in the popular vote (51%-48%). However, Republican Rutherford Hayes won the electoral vote 185-184.

Democrats claimed that Hayes won Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina (all very close) by fraud, carried out by the Republican state governments. (These were the last "Reconstruction" governments.) They refused to accept Hayes as President, and there was talk of armed resistance.

To resolve the crisis, the two parties agreed to have the disputed returns reviewed by a commission of seven Democrats, seven Republicans, and one independent. The independent withdrew when the Democrats elected him to the Senate; he was replaced by a "maverick" Republican. The commission confirmed all the disputed returns by 8-7 votes. The Democrats, having agreed to abide by the commission's ruling, submitted - but with the secret agreement that Hayes would end Reconstruction.

BTW, the Democrats tried to bribe the Florida and South Carolina election boards (who were for sale) to change the returns. But they couldn't complete a deal before the deadline to file the returns. This was revealed a year later, when Republicans decrypted the enciphered telegrams between Democrat leaders and their agents in Florida and South Carolina.

Stephen said...

Ignorant and lazy questions.

1. If physically taking over the building is an incredibly dumb way to try to steal the election, that's a reason to infer that there was no intent to steal. It would make more sense to say that Trump thought that a big demonstration would motivate Congress to undertake some additional process that would determine whether the votes had been accurately counted and that might legitimately change the outcome.

It might make sense if we didn't already know from the testimony of numerous republicans under oath in court proceedings and in the January 6 investigation that the purpose of the demonstration was to put pressure on Pence to delay the count, which he indisputably did not have the power to do--precisely because it was clear that both Houses of Congress were going to decline to reject the single slate of electors from each swing state.

2. If it's obvious that different moves can be made to steal the election, why is it supposed to be so outlandish for Trump to have questioned whether the Democrats stole the election? Maybe they made some of those "obvious moves."

It was outlandish for Trump to claim that the election was stolen because he brought claims repeatedly and lost 60 out of 61 cases in the courts, with more than half those losses on the merits, with courts frequently finding his claims implausible or unsupported by the evidence and his claims of causation unproven or speculative, because state and local election officials in every state uniformly found those claims were without merit, because state legislatures in every state declined to take action on the basis of those claims, because federal election officials also found those claims baseless. It was outlandish to claim that it was stolen by the Democrats because a solid majority of the judges and officials and legislatures involved were Republican or Republican controlled, and a good many were Trump appointees or Trump supporters, including his VP, his AG and Homeland Security, the governors of Georgia and Arizona, the secretary of states of Georgia and Nevada, the Maricopa County electoral officials, and the legislatures of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pa and Wisconsin.

3. Is it too much to ask for some nonpartisan assurance that American elections are not stolen? I like the idea of a book called "How to Steal a Presidential Election" (commission-earned link), but is it just about how Trump might steal the election or does it take threats from all sides seriously? I can't believe that only Trump is tempted to cheat and that only his stupidity saved us last time. Surely, some cheating has gone on throughout American history, and democracy is always under attack, whether the orange man is afoot or finally, at long last, out of our hair.

As for non partisan assurances, what could be more persuasive than (a) the rulings of the courts in over sixty lawsuits, (b) the mass of scholarship showing that outcome determinative fraud is rare, (c) the total failure of the Trump fraud commission, which collapsed because it couldn't find any fraud to talk about, or (d) the conclusion of the many Republicans, including Bill Barr, Mike Pence, Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Liz Cheney, Mitch McConnell, Brian Kemp, Doug Ducey and the many Trump appointed judges who have rejected Trump's claims of theft? A different question: Why do you believe that Trump's question remains open?

4. It's not anti-democratic to be suspicious that what purports to be the result of a democratic process could be wrong. Lessig himself is expressing that suspicion.

It's not anti democratic to question whether the outcome of a democratic process could be the result of illegality. It is anti democratic to continue to call an election stolen by the opposition, and to try to reverse its result illegally, when repeated litigations and investigations have not only failed to support such claims, but have found a number of them to be frivolous.

Hey Skipper said...

@Kirk Parker: Don't be a tease! Say a bit more, at least, about those Idaho laws and procedures; that would be very germane to this discussion.

I will try to keep this to bullet points.

Absentee ballots require a (self attesting) reason.

Voting is a combination of paper ballots and electronic counting.

There is *very* strict control of ballots — the first voter of the day must sign an affidavit that the ballot collecting boxes are empty before they are shut with tamper proof seals.

Voter check-in is conducted via iPads. Voters may use various forms of Idaho ID (which require proof of citizenship to obtain) — driver's license, enhanced concealed carry permit, tribal ID card. With those, scanning the bar code verifies the voter is eligible, at the correct polling station, and issues a receipt that the ballot clerk exchanges for a ballot. Because of the electronic check in, the iPad displays current totals of eligible voters, and those who have voted, precinct and the county.

The network that the iPads, printers, and scanners use is completely isolated from the internet.

The voter uses the paper ballot, which is fed to the optical scanner, and retained in the ballot box.

After the polls close at 8 pm, the close down process involves tallying the number of voters checked in against ballots used, remaining and spoiled, as well as the scanner count. They must match exactly.

Voters may register in person at the polling station. They must have proof of ID and citizenship, as well as proof of the residential address within the precinct. Typically those amount to about 5% of voters. Additionally, voters may register via an affidavit — essentially no form of ID, just a promise. However, false attesting to vote is a felony. In the five or so elections I have worked, I don't recall any affidavit registrations.

Election observers may watch the entire process.

In summary — ID verification is very tight, the system is secure, ballot tallying is exacting, and there is a paper record to back up the electronic count.

The entire system is very well thought out, and the training (which I have to take prior to each election) is excellent.

I have heard that six other western states use this system — but I can't vouch for my memory.

Ann Althouse said...

"Ignorant and lazy questions."

Okay, so you are choosing to be disrespectful. You don't deserve a response, but I will respond to one thing, just to give you a taste of what could be said to you.

"... that's a reason to infer that there was no intent to steal. It would make more sense to say that Trump thought...."/"It might make sense if we didn't already know the January 6 investigation that the purpose of the demonstration was to put pressure on Pence to delay the count...."

It's a question of Trump's state of mind. You don't "know" what it was. He could have been holding out hope that some strained legal argument could work. That might be delusional, but that doesn't swap in that he intended to "steal," to take the election without any legal process getting him there. How could he think such a thing was possible?

"... which he indisputably did not have the power to do..."

There was some argument, however far-fetched, that an additional process might be available. Again, that might be delusional, but the question is Trump's state of mind, and your idea about his state of mind is also delusional, that the election could be stolen with a violent demonstration taking over the Capitol building. How do you know which far-out idea was in Trump's head?

Your use of insulting language is, to me, evidence that you are not thinking it through completely, so your words apply to you: Ignorant and lazy. Plus, you chose to be an asshole about it.

I didn't read the rest of what you had to say, because you do not deserve it. Next time, try treating the person you want to persuade with respect. Don't just denounce arguments. Calmly and clearly, show why they are wrong. If you can.

Hey Skipper said...

@Stephen: It was outlandish for Trump to claim that the election was stolen because he brought claims repeatedly and lost 60 out of 61 cases in the courts, with more than half those losses on the merits.

If my memory serves (and it might not), there were 88 cases. Of those, 86 were dismissed for ripeness, mootness, or standing — those cases were never heard.

Trump won the remaining two, which charged a couple states with illegally changing their election procedures.

So we don't really know the merits of almost all the cases; what's more, due to secret ballots, they are unknowable. For instance, signature verification for mail in ballots *may* have been extremely slipshod, but even if that could be demonstrated, there would be no way to connect the signatures with ballots, meaning no way to know how ballots that should have been excluded would have affected the outcome.

Stephen said...

Professor Althouse,

First, I apologize for any disrespect or insult. I should have said that your questions don't appear to reflect knowledge of or consideration of the underlying evidence--which I was providing for you to consider. It was wrong of me to accuse you of being ignorant or lazy. Whether or not you accept my apology, I hope you will consider the matters I put forward and how they might alter the views you expressed.

Without seeking to defend or excuse my rudeness, I will add that it probably stems from frustration with what I read as your failure to engage with the fundamental dishonesty of the "Democrats stole the election" theory, which is the subject of my last three points, to which you say you will not respond. I hope that my apology opens the door for you to consider responding to my final three points. In that regard, I'll note that I've made a lot of highly substantive evidence filled posts on this blog on this topic. You have ignored them. Now, when you view yourself as insulted, you finally respond, but ironically mostly to say I don't deserve a response.

Finally, on the first point, you argue, as you routinely do, that we do not "know" what Donald Trump was thinking. Epistemologically, you of course have a point, if we're talking about certain knowledge. But people who live in the real world have to make judgments about such matters, because knowing bad faith misconduct is generally a more serious thing than reckless or negligent misconduct.

It is also true, of course, that in the criminal case, the question of Trump's intent remains to be litigated. But we may not get a judgment in the criminal case before the election, so all of us who purport to care about the facts have an obligation to look at the available evidence on that question. I represented to you that the aim of marching on the Capitol was to encourage Pence to postpone. That's what Trump said at the Stop the Steal rally, and it's what Giuliani and Eastman said as well. Was there any authority that Pence could postpone over Congressional objection--none that I've seen, and I've looked. Was there any legitimate purpose to be served by postponement, given that the state legislatures had all indicated that they were not interested in throwing out their state's single slate of electors or appointing a competing Trump slate? I've seen no evidence of one. Conversely, there is a ton of evidence that Trump's own people were telling him he had lost--Bill Barr, Mike Pence, the White House counsel's office, his own campaign officials--plus, of course the fact that no courts, no state or federal officials, and no state legislature accepted his claims, with the exception of one ruling in Pa that had no effect on Biden's 80,000 vote majority there.

Your response is that Trump may have been delusional--a conclusion that, if true, should be devastating to any positive judgment about his fitness to be president. For that reason, we can be sure he will not plead that as a defense. If he simply argues "I sincerely believed that I won" he can be asked not only about the facts that he relied on for that belief, but on the facts available to him (or that he had a duty to know) that were inconsistent with that belief. Both in law and morality, a motivated refusal to examine or consider available facts inconsistent with one's stated (but false) beliefs can serve as evidence that one did not in fact hold those beliefs. That doctrine, the doctrine of willful blindness, poses real problems for Trump, not just in a court of law, but for any informed voter who recognizes the validity of the underlying moral insight. I'd be interested to know what part of the argument I've just advanced you think is mistaken.

Stephen said...

Hi Skipper,

For both you and Professor Althouse, I recommend, in addition to the January 6 Report a further Report called Lost Not Stolen: The Conservative Case that Trump Lost and Biden
Won the 2020 Presidential Election, link here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1aqorZ61AYFqZU-EDQBBzjqfvAoC5nKcB/view

The authors include Senator John Danforth (Clarence Thomas's first boss), Benjamin Ginsberg (lawyer for the Bush Campaign in Bush v Gore), The Honorable Thomas B. Griffith (former general counsel to LDS Church and Bush appointee), The Honorable J. Michael Luttig (John Eastman's mentor and conservative icon), The Honorable Michael W. McConnell (highly respected conservative academic), and The Honorable Theodore B. Olson (Reagan SG and Bush lawyer in Bush v. Gore).

On the suits brought and won question, they write:

"Of the 64 cases brought by Trump and his supporters, twenty were dismissed before a
hearing on the merits, fourteen were voluntarily dismissed by Trump and his supporters before a hearing on the merits, and 30 cases included a hearing on the merits. Only in one Pennsylvania case involving far too few votes to overturn the results did Trump and his supporters prevail.

"Repetition of these false charges causes real harm to the basic foundations of the country, with 30 percent of the population lacking faith in the results of our elections.

"In our system of government, these cases provided the forums in which Trump and his
supporters could and should have proven their claims. This Report shows that those efforts failed because of a lack of evidence and not because of erroneous rulings or unfair judges. Judges, legislators, and other election officers, often including members of his own party, gave Trump ample time and every opportunity to present evidence to make his case. Post-election audits or reviews in each state also failed to show any irregularities or fraud that would overturn the electoral results. In many cases, after making extravagant claims of wrongdoing, Trump’s legal representatives showed up in court or state proceedings empty-handed, and then returned to their rallies and media campaigns to repeat the same unsupported claims."

This, it should be added, is not the view of the Democratic Party, or of knee jerk liberals--but rather of people well to the right of where Professor Althouse claims to live. No Obama voters among them. Does she agree with their view? Or do her questions implicitly reject it without engaging with their evidence or analysis?

Kirk Parker said...

Hey Skipper,

Awesome summary; many thanks!

The only thing there that raised my eyebrows a bit was the same-day registration by affidavit. While it's good to hear it's rarely used, what problem is it trying to solve? That -- mirabile dictu! -- lo and behold there's Yet Another Election this November, too?

gadfly said...

"There's an old saying: It takes a thief to catch a thief. That's why they have to teach theft at Harvard Law School."

That must be correct because Ken Chesboro graduated from Harvard Law School. He did his best in an attempt to steal the 2020 election for Trump.

Yinzer said...

The only gun used was by a Capital police officer, and the only person killed was a protester at the hands of that officer. I don't recall any bayonets, either. I recall how the media demanded that we all admit that the election was perfectly fair; now many instances of fraud, on a large scale, have been proven.

Hey Skipper said...

@Kirk Parker: The only thing there that raised my eyebrows a bit was the same-day registration by affidavit. While it's good to hear it's rarely used, what problem is it trying to solve? That -- mirabile dictu! -- lo and behold there's Yet Another Election this November, too

The goal is to ensure that anyone who is entitled to vote may.

Unfortunately, I misstated the purpose of the Personal Identification Affidavit.

It isn't used to register a voter, but to assert that a person without the required identification is an already registered voter living at a specific address within the precinct.

I suppose it would be possible to falsely vote this way, but in such small numbers that the effect would be nil.

Hey Skipper said...

@Stephen:

Thanks for providing me the correct facts on the number of lawsuits. While I have often herd the phrase that Trump's claims were "debunked" without providing any reference of any kind to exactly what those claims were, and how they were debunked.

It is inherent in a secret ballot that many claims of fraud would be impossible to confirm, or deny. My guess, without any evidence available to me, is that a great many of the lawsuits fall into that category: neither proven, nor debunked.

The Jan 6 hearings were a partisan shit show that got many basic facts wrong. E.g.: Officer Sitnik's death.

And as for rigging an election, there are many more ways to do it than just jiggering with the actual voting. The MSM's conduct during the election made them contributors-in-kind to the DNC. Hunter's laptop and accusations of corruption by his business partner Tony Bobulinski were covered — by a pillow until they stopped breathing.

Also, Zuck Bucks. Remember them?