Why Trump’s claims of a “Vote-Dump” for Biden are Literally Impossible

On January 6th, a small group of US Senate employees will carry the already-cast electoral votes into the House chamber to be formally counted in a joint-session presided over by Vice-President Mike Pence. If I may take a brief moment of parental pride, one of those carriers will be my daughter. So, don’t be surprised if I unexpectedly carry Utah.

This ceremony is as old as the republic, and usually as routine and perfunctory as singing the national anthem at a Phillies game (by which point they are usually losing by 4 runs). But this year is obviously different in that President Trump is unwilling to accept the result and promises to disrupt the proceedings with the hope of overturning them. Towards this end, he keeps vomiting out conspiracy tweets and filing endless, baseless lawsuits (58 and counting. Oh! Hold on. 59!)

The problem is that many of his followers actually believe literally anything he says about anything. If Trump tweeted that the Keebler Elves rigged the vote in Georgia, the MAGA crowd would be boycotting Vienna Fingers within an hour. As I debate these people on-line (Hey! The quarantine has been tough on all of us!), I see blind belief about things that make no sense, and have no relationship to how elections actually work.

Let’s take “ballot stuffing”. The theory is that Trump was leading as the votes came in on election night, and then around midnight, secret, nefarious forces suddenly dumped hundreds of thousands of Biden votes in each swing state suddenly giving him the lead. Let’s put aside the fact that Biden told his voters to vote by mail while Trump told his voters NOT to, and that Republican legislatures (including here in PA) prohibited the counting of mail-in ballots until election day. Here is a step-by-step guide to why ballot dumping isn’t a thing.

= Lets say that at midnight Trump was winning Wisconsin by 300,000 votes, but you needed Biden to win, so you want to dump 325,000 Biden votes into the pot. It’s not that simple.

First, the state election results you see on TV are not just a raw, state-wide total number of votes. They are actually the sum of thousands of individual voting precincts across the state. Each one calls in it’s results separately when they are counted. Remember how, when you watch the returns, some sex-pot like Steve Kornacki says “With 24% of the precincts reporting…”. That’s what that means.

= Most precincts have a relatively small number of voters, usually under 1,000. So the results of a precinct might be 529 Trump, 418 Biden, and 55 for scattered third-party candidates.

= So, if you wanted to give Biden the win, you couldn’t just add 325,000 votes to his total. The new state-wide total would have to jibe, exactly, with the sum of all precincts added up. You’d have to distribute the new votes over the individual precincts throughout Wisconsin. So it’s not one dump. It’s hundreds or thousands of dumps, meaning you’d need co-conspirators in each of the polling locations you were adding votes to.

= This is made even harder (is anything harder than “impossible”?) by the timing. If you only realized that you needed 325,000 Biden votes at around midnight, many, if not most of the precincts would have already reported. That means they added up all of their votes, reported the final tallies, and went home to eat cheese (Wisconsin…).

= Since it is impossible to change the vote totals of precincts that have already reported their final results, you would have to spread all of your new Biden votes over the remaining precincts which had not yet reported. But you’d have to somehow interrupt the counting process to insert hundreds or thousands of new votes in a way that the Republican poll-workers at each poll would not notice.

And of course you’d have no way of knowing if the precinct had already finished counting, but had not yet reported their results. If that was the case, it would be awkward for someone to announce “Hey, before we hit the cheddar, I have 345 new votes to count! And they are all for Biden!!”. Again, you’d think some of the Republican poll workers who desperately wanted to see Trump win would have reported it if something like that had happened anywhere, let alone hundreds of places in each of six states.

= Also, some polling places are very small. They might have only 300 or 400 voters. You’d have to calibrate your dump so as not to overwhelm your poll. You can’t go to a poll with 300 registered voters in a town of 500 people and suddenly appear with 3,000 new votes. Someone (meaning “everyone) would notice that. Keeping track of how many fake votes each of thousands of not-yet-reporting precincts could handle would be tricky, kind of like roller skating to Jupiter would be “tricky”.

= One more thing! Each new vote would have to be tied to the name of an actual registered voter in that precinct. That’s because while there is no way to tell how a voter has voted, it is easy to tell whether that voter has voted. So if a poll reports a total of 1,200 voters, it is very easy to check what the names of each of those 1,200 voters are. If I want to dump 300 votes at that poll, I’d need the names of 300 registered voters at that poll who have not legitimately voted either in-person or by mail. How would I possibly know that you ask? Great question!

I could go through the same analysis with regards to all of the other claims Trump makes of “MASSIVE FRAUD!!” (he really does need to get his CAP button fixed). My favorite is how Dominion Voting machines added votes to Biden’s total in states where they weren’t even used. But hopefully this gives you a taste of why every single one of the lawsuits filed to overturn the election has been dismissed, even by judges Trump himself appointed. There is no “massive fraud”. There is only a sad, dangerous and un-American attack on democracy by a very sore loser.

Long-time state House and Senate member, author of PA’s Medical Marijuana law, also creator of “shit-gibbon!” Comedian, professor, father of 2 awesome children!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store