What Child Abuse and Vote Fraud Have in Common

May 14, 2020

By Rob Roper

VT Digger recently ran an article on Vermont’s child abuse statistics during the COVID-19 lockdown. Good news! “Abuse is down about 30% for March 2020 from the prior period in 2019, according to data from the Department for Children and Families.” But, not good news. Officials warn not to believe those numbers.

Why? Christine Johnson, deputy commissioner of the state’s Family Services Division, says… “A big cause of this is that a lot of our mandated reporters, so folks like doctors and teachers and counselors, they are, of course, not having contact with our kids and with our families,” and, therefore, incidents of abuse are less likely to be detected, reported, and prosecuted. In fact, given the domestic stresses brought on by the COVID-19 lockdown, real-world child abuse cases are probably on the rise, as are cases of domestic violence regarding adults.

So, what does this have to do with vote fraud? A similar dynamic is at work.

Advocates for a vote-by-mail scheme for the 2020 elections argue that voter fraud doesn’t happen. “There’s no evidence for it!” they say. Well, just as the “evidence” points to lower incidents of child abuse, the “evidence” regarding vote fraud is misleading. The lack of evidence for vote fraud is a result of voting being moved increasingly out of the public eye and away from the supervision of election officials.

For years, what have been billed as election “reforms” have actually been schemes to remove voting from the public square under the supervision of election officials and citizens alike – all of which make cheating both easier and more likely.  

When voting a the polls was the required norm (with exceptions for those who truly could not vote in person), all voters were checked in by an election official to ensure who they were and observed by election officials, members of both parties, and fellow citizens to ensure that the vote was made in private without undue influence. If someone tried to commit fraud under these circumstances, it would be like a child abuser beating their kid in parking lot of the school during pick-up time. Someone is going to see it and report it.

But, when ballots are filled out in the home, no such supervision can take place. No one can make sure that the person filling out the ballot is who they say they are. No one is there to ensure that the ballot is filled out without undue influence from a spouse, peer, boss, or campaign operative.

Without these safeguards it is virtually impossible to detect if voter fraud occurs. If election “reformers” take away all the tools we have to detect and prosecute voter fraud, it should come as no surprise that it doesn’t get detected and prosecuted. But, like child abuse in the age of COVID, it’s still happening, and most likely more so.  

Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute.

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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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