Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Fisking Giuliani's Election Fraud Claims

 A friend that I respect challenged me to watch Rudy Giuliani's press conference attempting to lay out evidence in support of the claim that the election was stolen, and since I'm somehow in a fighting mood tonight I went ahead and watch all 37 minutes while documenting my rebuttals.  I provide it for your enjoyment or what you will.  Here's the video:

His first claim is that on the evening of election day, Trump was way ahead in Pennsylvania, and yet he lost the state in the end. He says he has statisticians who will testify this is almost impossible. This chestnut is already old. Trump was ahead on election night because Pennsylvania had not passed legislation allowing mail-in ballots to be opened and prepared for counting ahead of time. This meant that they counted the in-person ballots first and then started counting the mail in ballots. Since Trump had told his supporters not to trust mail in ballots, while the Dems had pushed hard for their supporters to use mail in ballots, it makes total sense that the day of ballots would be heavily GOP while the mail in ballots would be heavily Dem. In neighboring Ohio, where the mail in ballots were prepped and run through the counters on the morning of election day, Biden started out ahead but as the day-of votes came in the state swiftly swung toward Trump. If PA had counted mail in ballots first, it would have been much more clear and orderly.

He then says this pattern repeated in a number of states. That's true: it repeated in states that counted day of votes first and mail in votes second.

He says this is big city focused and specifically cites Philly. That's a funny kind of fraud, because in Philadelphia County Biden only did 7,000 votes better than Clinton did in 2016, whereas Trump did 22,000 votes better in 2020 than he did in 2016. If Democrats had committed that kind of voter fraud everywhere, Trump would have won.

(One great resource is this interactive map which allows you to compare vote tallies for 2016 and 2020 by county.)

He's right that inspectors should be allowed to be close enough to see, but in fact the envelopes are kept from the mail in ballots. So if the Trump campaign is actually sure that a huge percentage of them were filled out wrong, not signed, or whatever, they could file to have the envelopes inspected. We would not know which votes were from the bad envelopes, but if a large percentage of them were not from real voters, signed, etc. then the election result could be questioned at that time. The fact that they're not doing that suggests that they don't actually think that ballots were bad. The Trump team is claiming the votes should be thrown out due to the process of not getting access but is not citing any evidence that the votes were actually bad. Indeed, when pressed by the judge in court Giuliani admitted "This is not a fraud case."

Utterly weird claim: There were only two counties where he believes Republicans were not allowed sufficient access to inspect the opening of mail in ballots. But because in some parts of the state Republican observers didn't have enough access to watch, while in the vast majority Republican observers did have enough access, that represents a lack of "equal protection" (different parts of the state were treated differently) and therefore ALL of the mail in ballots should be thrown out.


The requested remedy here bears no relation to the claimed problem to be addressed.

Next claim: In some parts of the state voters who made mistakes on their mail-in ballots were given a chance to come in and "cure" their ballots before the election day, while other areas didn't offer this chance.

It's worth noting along the way that all areas were told to allow voters to cure ballot mistakes, it was only a few GOP leaning counties which refused to follow those instructions because they believed they violated election law.

Arguably, it is unfair there was this disparity. However the remedy he wants is again irrational. Instead of throwing out the "cured" ballots (which are only a few thousand ballots and must certainly include at least some for Trump) he want all the mail in ballots thrown out instead on an equal protection claim. This is nonesense.

Next, he tries what he himself calls circumstantial evidence: many people showed up on election day in Pittsburg and were told they had "already voted" via an absentee ballot and thus had to cast a provisional ballot.

Okay, number one, they're not told that they've already voted. The mail in ballots have not yet been counted, so it's not known on election day if they voted or not. What they're told is that they've received an absentee ballot and that they thus need to cast a provisional ballot which will only be counted if they didn't already vote.

Working all day in Ohio as a poll worker, I can tell you that a number of people who came in to vote had received an absentee ballot and thus had to vote provisionally. The vast majority admitted they'd asked for an absentee ballot, but said they hadn't sent it in. A few didn't recall.

But also, he makes this sound more dire than it is by quoting raw numbers. Fifteen thousand people had this happen. Heavens to Betsy! That's a lot! Does it mean, as he alleges, that the Democratic machine had been filling out absentee ballots willy nilly and this was the cause?


But further, compare it to the scale of the vote in Pittsburgh: 722k people voted. That means on 0.2% of people who came to vote were told they'd already requested an absentee ballot and thus had to vote provisionally. 0.2% Trump lost PA by 1.2% or 6x that figure.

No Democrat has ever been made to swear to tell the truth under penalty of perjury? What is he thinking. We know one Democrat who definitely was made to swear to tell the truth under penalty of perjury because Bill Clinton straight up committed perjury and was disbarred for it. Sheesh, why throw in extra lies for no reason.

He tries to make all sorts of hay out of the couple counties the the mail in ballot opening (not even enough to swing the election) was not inspected from close up enough by the Republican observers, but the numbers simply do not add up. This did not apply to enough ballots to have provided the margin of victory.

He now moves to Michigan, where he is going to try to argue that fraud somehow resulted in Trumps 160,000 vote loss.

His basis for this is an affidavit claiming that some election officials were teaching election workers to back date absentee ballots and that some Detroit election workers coached voters.

Well, if there was fraud in Detroit it wasn't very effective, because Trump actually improved on his percent of the vote there versus 2016. Trump went from 30.7% in 2016 to 31.0% in 2020. Whatever swung the state for Biden, it does not appear to be that.

Then he says that we know that in Philly people come over to vote all the time. Well, maybe so, but if so it was the wrong people, because as we already discussed Trump did 2.5% better in 2020 than he did in 2016. Is Giuliani trying to say that Trump voters were from across the river?

Oh, but it was allowed to happen because it is "a Democrat, corrupt city and has been for years". Because Philly is corrupt, the machine faked a vote which was better for Trump than in 2016. Yes, that is what our brilliant lawyer just told us.

Now he's back with the lady in Michigan. She now claims in her affidavit that she saw a lot of people voting twice -- voting again when they had already received and voted an absentee ballot. Now, she was just a precinct election official like me, so it can be understood if she doesn't understand everything, but what she's saying is something shouldn't possibly have known. She can have known that they received an absentee ballot. I knew this myself in many cases and sent those people over to the table to vote provisionally. But she can't have known that they actually voted those absentee ballots because the Michigan absentee ballots hadn't even been counted yet on election day. That was another state that did not start opening absentee ballots early.

He is right that the behavior of the Lincoln project (he doesn't name them, but I will) in doxxing lawyers working on the election cases in reprehensible. But it's about the only right thing he's said in the first 20 minutes of the video.

He claims that there were 60,000 to 100,000 ballots, all for Biden, with no down ballot votes, which were delivered in the middle of the night to swing the vote for Biden in Detroit.

That can't possibly be because if we look at the statewide vote for senator, there were 863k votes cast in Wayne County MI, only 11k less than the 874k cast for president. Democrat Gary Peters running for Senate got 582k votes to Biden's 597k, 15k less.

And, as noted earlier, Trump actually did slightly better in Wayne County in 2020 than he did in 2016.

He now claims that there were about 300,000 illegitimate ballots cast in Michigan and that they were "mostly in Detroit".

This means that he thinks that the total number of votes cast in Detroit fell by 200k versus 2016 and that after losing the county 69 to 31 in 2016 Trump got basically 50% of the vote in 2020?

Talk about election numbers that would smell funny...

Next he goes to Wisconsin, where he claims that 60,000 votes in Milwaukee Counter were absentee ballots that were never really applied for. Milwaukee County had exactly the same vote split in 2020 as 2016: 70% Dem, 30% GOP. Both side got out more votes, with 36,000 more votes being cast, but the split shifted only by a few basis points, a rounding error in the vote percent.

How does it make any sense that Democrats faked 13% of the total vote cast, and yet all that work for which people could spend years in federal prison was done... in order to get exactly the same percent of votes as last time? If they were so good at faking votes, wouldn't they at least have increased their percent of the vote?

I suppose one could theorize that there was a sudden, huge swing to Trump's favor in a historically 70% Dem city, and that this was only counteracted by massive and sophisticated Democratic machine fraud which somehow produced the appearance of a higher turnout election with exactly the same vote split as before... But it seems to me like if the Dems had manufactured a ton of votes, the result would have been that they'd have a higher share of votes than before.

Moreover, if the fraud did not clearly and materially change the election result, then there's no reason for the courts to prevent certification of the election and so his loss is certified.

Next he claims that in multiple precincts 200% to 300% of the people who are registered to vote, voted.

Well, you can view the turnout by ward here.

I downloaded the data. One ward had higher than 100% turnout. It's supposed to have four registered voters and five people voted. I'll concede the point to Trump and sing up for throwing out five votes.

He finishes with a roundup of all his wild claims. It's impressive in a way:

I feel like I should have something more than this, but the thing that has me wanting to put holes in drywall is that there's really not much sophistication to this. He throws out lots of claims, but it only take a couple minutes of googling to see why each one doesn't make sense. The idea that there was some massive, organized, multi-state conspiracy to steal the election, centrally organized by Biden and the Democratic Party, and yet the result was this squeaker of an election in which the Dems didn't get the Senate and lost most of their House majority -- the claim just doesn't make sense. We know the Democrats. They're not competent enough to organize a leak proof conspiracy. And the things which are supposed to be suspicious about this election don't really look that odd once you look into them for a few minutes.

The problem is that the incompetent election administration in key states (with all the in-person votes being counted first and then all the mail in ballots) gave people a set of false expectations with Trump's early leads that appeared on election night, and now in the vacuum abhorring world of social media people are dredging up theories to explain away the election. And, of course, stories that explain people's priors spread way faster than ones which point out what really happened.

I only hope that all this irresponsible behavior on the part of the president and his acolytes doesn't get rank and file Republican so discouraged about our elections that they don't turn out in January and we proceed to lose the Senate run-offs in Georgia. That would be a very Trump-ish legacy for the GOP but I don't hate us enough to wish it upon the country.


Dr. B L. said...

Good analysis of the Guliani arguments. You have put forth alternate hypotheses that disagree with Guiliani's hypotheses. But I believe you have failed in going to the next step, which is listening to the witness statements, examining the detailed evidence. In the three hours of witness statements that accompany Guliani's brief, there are a number of witnesses that claim to have seen similar types of potentially fraudulent behavior in different states. The large number of such statements, combined with the fact that overlapping details are discussed in very different voting venues suggeststo me the rea possibility that systematic voter fraud occurred. You hypothesize it did not, Guiliani hypothesized that it did occur in large enough numbers to license a careful review of the details of the allegations - e.g. doing signature comparisons of envelopes with voter rolls. This step has never been taken. My understanding is that Guliani has been in court multiple times asking for a closer examination of the evidence, but has been denied forensic access. I do'nt think he is asking for anything more than that. And it has not been granted. Today in Georgia the Governor finally recommended that the signatures be audited, but claimed that only the AG had the power to actually order an audit, so any real investigation is still effectively stonewalled. Guiliani's case certainly does not definitively "prove" that the election was "stolen" but he certainly does present enough evidence (in the 3 hours you did not watch; and then 3 more hours each in two other states) to call the integrity into question. It should be a perfectly simple matter to simply do the forensic investigation. The fact that this is has not been allowed is the single biggest piece of evidence that maybe there WAS massive fraud - otherwise why would they be so reluctant to allow audits that would demonstrate that their claim of "no fraud" is in fact true. In other words, we have two competing hypotheses: that there was no fraud and that there was fraud. No logical argument can decide this question, ONLY an examination of the evidence can do so.

Dr. B L. said...

Last of all, in counter to your argument that even if some votes were fraudulent there could not have been enough to change the election results, there are two counter hypotheses that should be carefully investigated before being discarded as false. One, Paul Rand tweeted a very interesting statistical study showing that the 4 vote updates (across several states) that were most statistically anamolous were the four vote updates that turned the election results. In fact, they claim that these four updates were outliers of outliers - i.e. they were 99.9% outliers compared to the rest of the 8000+ vote upload events, and if they were only 99% outliers, Trump still would have won the election. This of course, is NOT proof of election fraud. But it sure is evidence that a careful forensic investigation of the results is warranted so that we can decide which hypothesis best fits the actual data: fraud or no fraud. I highly recommend that each qualfied american read that staisticaly analysis so that if it is flawed, the flaw is pointed out and the claims refuted. I personally also found the cyber security investigations as carefully discussed in all three public sessions adduced reasonable doubt that the algorithms (software) of the counting machines were fraud proof. e statistical anomalies elsewhere discussed COULD HAVE been the result of a "rigged" machine. It is important that this potential problem not be waved aside as ridiculous, but carefully investigated. Further I think you would better serve your readers, and America, if you encouraged that the forensic data be investigated and not stonewalled. It would be horrible if the election were stolen. It would be horrible if someone claimed it were stolen and it was not. The WORST catastrophe would be for us to never know because no one was ever allowed to examine the detailed evidence. I believe the Trump team, in the details of their briefs (not the generalizations made in short speeches) is demanding ONLY that the forensic analysis be undertaken, now. If there is nothing to hide, I ask myself, why the stonewalling? There is enough evidence to support two different hypotheses - we deserve a careful analysis of the actual detailed data in order to clearly decide between the two.