Saturday, February 13, 2021

Stolen Election? The Opinion of an Old Prosecutor

Charges that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from President Trump have inspired reckless anger and violence in America. It is highly improbable that the election was stolen because the President could prove it if proof were available. 

A President has operatives in every federal judicial district of the United States. I mean, he appoints United States Attorneys in every one of the 94 federal judicial districts throughout the United States and territories. They serve at his pleasure. They would have reported any widespread election fraud to him through his Department of Justice. I have not heard of any such reports.

As an Assistant U.S. Attorney many years ago, I learned that among the duties of an assistant was to work late on election nights to receive reports of election misconduct. Reports might come directly to us during the day or night. More often they came to the FBI and the FBI contacted us for the go-ahead to conduct a preliminary inquiry. These resulted in a record being made that was available if a major investigation should be launched. The current Justice Manual of the U.S. Department of Justice reveals that similar procedures remain in place.

In the conflict over the 2020 presidential election results, I have not heard Justice Department records cited in support of widespread election fraud. Every United States Attorney (there are 94 ) would have reported evidence of significant election misconduct to Washington. It's their job. Moreover, all U.S. Attorneys stand to lose their jobs if the incumbent president is defeated. Again, if significant evidence of widespread election fraud existed, the President would know about it and presumably would cite it to bolster his complaint that the election was stolen. 

Attorney General William Barr told the Associated Press on December 1, 2020 that the Department of Justice had found no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would change the election outcome.

I have heard of no United States Attorney reports cited in support of the President's claim so I conclude his claim of a stolen election is unsupported. What about malicious computer software?  I have heard the dramatic allegations that subversive computer software may have altered votes but I have not heard that any authority has substantiated them.

So, what should disappointed Americans do? If one’s candidate lost the election, he or she should focus on putting together a winning slate for next time. 

Douglas Smith, 2-13-2021