Last week, Doug Jones defeated former state judge Roy Moore in an upset victory. But Moore, who trails by over 21,000 votes and is currently ineligible for an automatic recount, has refused to concede the race.
Moore is now suggesting that he may have lost — due to voter fraud.
In an email to supporters, Moore urged supporters to donate to his “election integrity fund” because the “battle is NOT OVER!” Moore said that they were collecting “numerous reported cases of voter fraud” to send to Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill.
Merrill, however, told reporters that he has not received a single shred of evidence of voter fraud from Moore’s team or found any credible cases of voter fraud taking place. That, however, didn’t stop Moore from sending another fundraising email claiming that his “Election Integrity Program” has found “reports of potential voter fraud” from “all across the state.”
While it is obvious that Moore is grasping at straws, he is simply toeing the line from other politicians who similarly repeat the false claim that voter fraud continues to swing elections.
Donald Trump, for example, said that he only lost the national popular vote due to millions of illegal votes. While he has never provided any evidence to substantiate his fallacious claim, it did help prompt him to establish a national voter fraud commission to look into the matter.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who pushed the baseless assertion about the popular vote to Trump and has advocated for voter suppression policies across the country, was given a prime role leading the panel.
Study after study has shown that voter fraud is an extraordinarily rare occurrence, but the myth that it is a major factor in elections has been gaining popularity among Republican voters. Politicians peddle this lie because it gives them a justification for laws that make it more difficult for people to vote.
Just look at what is happening right now in New Hampshire.
When Kobach asserted that thousands of voters from out of state may have cast fraudulent votes to swing the election there to Hillary Clinton, his account was quickly debunked. Kobach misrepresented the state’s election law, but now there is an effort underway in New Hampshire to change the law to make it harder to vote.
Moore’s unfounded warnings may prompt similar moves to suppress the vote in Alabama, where many people, especially Black Alabamians, already face significant burdens in casting a ballot.
Meanwhile, several online hoaxes claiming that Jones benefited from massive voter fraud have gone viral on social media. One conservative channel, One America News Network, even declared Moore to be the victor on Election Night and falsely claimed that “50 people had been caught” trying “to sneak into voting booths and vote illegally.”
When Moore and politicians like Trump and Kobach push the voter fraud myth, they work backwards to try to find any evidence that fraud is rampant, all the while offering lawmakers new and tenuous reasons to crack down on voting rights.
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