Attorney General William Barr admitted twice in a single interview that he has no evidence in any respect to support his declare that overseas actors might flood elections with “millions” of counterfeit ballots if the U.S. implements a nationwide vote-by-mail program. The conspiracy principle has already been debunked by election specialists.
“I think there’s a range of concerns about mail-in ballots,” the nation’s high prosecutor informed NPR’s Steve Inskeep in an interview which aired Friday.
“And let me just clarify here: I’m not talking about a mail-in ballot for a limited number of cases where somebody, you know, is going to be traveling around the world,” he mentioned. “And the way that the state has provided for that is you mail in your ballot.”
Barr was alluding to mail-in absentee ballots, a voting choice which he and quite a few different senior administration officers have exercised. He voted by mail in Virginia in 2012 and 2019, in accordance to The Washington Post.
“I’m talking about a comprehensive rule where all the ballots are essentially mail-in, and there’s so many occasions for fraud there that cannot be policed,” Barr continued. “I think it would be very bad, but one of the things I mentioned was the possibility of counterfeiting.”
“Did you have evidence to raise that specific concern?” Inskeep requested.
“No, it’s obvious,” Barr responded.
“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure that one out,” he added.
If Russia have been to strive such a scheme, it “would have to reproduce the entire election administration apparatus somewhere in the middle of Siberia,” Charles Stewart, the founding director of the Election Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, informed CBS News.
Barr, nonetheless, claimed that ballots are vulnerable to fraud, as a result of security measures are “pretty primitive.” Once once more, the nation’s high prosecutor failed to provide evidence or clarification.
Inskeep questioned whether or not Barr could be prepared to take up a suggestion from Kim Wyman, the Republican legal professional common of Washington state, who invited him to examine her state’s safety measures.
“Well, I’m not sure I’m going to go out to Washington state right now,” Barr mentioned, including that he could be “glad to call her up.”
“I don’t think Washington state has much experience dealing with our adversaries’ intelligence services,” the legal professional, who as soon as testified that candidates ought to alert the FBI in the event that they obtained political grime from a overseas intelligence service, continued. (Barr mentioned he wouldn’t lengthen the identical steering if it got here from “a foreign adversary” typically.)
Asked whether or not he believed an election carried out primarily by mail could possibly be safe, Barr responded within the unfavorable. He pointed to the truth that the federal government had misdirected “something like 20%” of coronavirus aid checks. (About $1.four billion did go to useless folks.)
Whereas the aid test locations have been drawn from a federal listing based mostly on outdated tax returns, voters present their most up-to-date tackle for mail-in ballots.
Additionally, the decentralized nature of the nation’s state-run elections means there’s a large variation of ballots, together with domestically for various candidates and points.
Colorado has carried out elections by mail since 2013, and Secretary of State Jenna Griswold says “there are literally thousands of ballot styles in every election.”
In response to Barr’s declare, NPR political analyst Mike Parks mentioned: “I’ve talked to no voting expert who believes this could happen.”
Though Americans favor vote by mail by a two-to-one margin, theories equivalent to Barr’s might immediate a good portion of an already doubtful citizens to query the integrity of the outcomes.
In July 2016, then-candidate Trump publicly raised the opportunity of overseas election interference, asking Russia to discover Hillary Clinton’s alleged lacking emails. Cyberattacks on her programs spiked later that day.