As numerous red states introduce and strengthen laws mandating post-election hand counts and audits to restore public trust in election integrity, a prominent election watchdog cautions that such actions could “validate fraud instead of catch it” if underlying problems are not addressed, Just the News (JTN) reports.
Concerns regarding possible irregularities during the 2020 presidential election led some states and counties to conduct audits and hand-count ballots to investigate potential election fraud.
Notable audits from the 2020 election included those in Fulton County, Georgia, and Maricopa County, Arizona.
These audits identified significant ballot issues but ultimately confirmed the original vote counts in both counties.
Recently, several red states have enacted or proposed legislation to either establish or further outline the criteria for post-election audits and hand counts.
For example, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed a bill into law last week that requires the creation of a post-election audit manual and grants the state elections chief the power to audit county election procedures, JTN notes.
Other states, including South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, and Idaho, have also implemented legislation related to post-election audits in recent months.
Despite these efforts to boost public confidence in elections, Phill Kline, director of The Amistad Project, warns that audits and hand counts alone are insufficient to guarantee election security.
Kline told Just the News on Monday that the 2020 election audits failed to address the key issues that tainted that election, stating, “None of those audits can catch the type of improper election management that happened in 2020.”
According to Kline, the primary issue was the “infusion of funds to use government resources to target voters who were likely to vote for a specific candidate,” which is something the “government shouldn’t do” as it “must treat all voters the same.”
Over $400 million in private funds, which “eliminated transparency,” were funneled into public election offices in 2020, and audits could not reveal any potential “wrongdoing” that resulted from the use of those funds, Kline explained.
“If the wrongdoing occurred before the ballot was marked, then an audit is going to validate fraud instead of catch it,” he said.
Kline advocates for the use of paper ballots in elections, as they offer transparency and can be hand-counted.
He pointed out the lack of transparency in mail-in voting, as it is unclear how many individuals handle the ballots before verification and under what conditions they are counted, with many jurisdictions employing temporary workers from private companies to count ballots.
“Audits and hand counts validate fraud if you ignore the laws that prevent fraud,” Kline concluded. “We ignored a lot of those laws and created systems that eliminate transparency.”