Gilmer County, GA – Trust is the foundation of any successful relationship. When trust erodes in a marriage, divorce looms. When businessmen lose trust in an investment, they want their money back. When a football coach loses trust in his quarterback, the player is benched. Whether in marriage, business, or sports when trust fails relationships are damaged. Today, millions of Americans are questioning the integrity of their elections. A recent Rasmussen poll found that 47% of likely voters believe the 2020 election was stolen from President Trump. This includes 75% of Republicans, 39% of Independents, and 30% of Democrats. Elected officials cannot turn a blind eye to that many citizens losing faith in elections. After all, erosion of trust is the beginning of the end of any relationship. Many Georgians now believe elections are rigged and have declared that they will not vote in the January runoff. While this sentiment is understood, the Gilmer County Republican Party hopes to be an educational outlet for the local voter and to provide productive calls to action.
The American voter needs to understand that voter fraud has been a part of the American experience since before the birth of the nation. In 18th century colonial Virginia, it was very common for candidates for the House of Burgesses to provide free liquor to voters as they arrived at their polling station. Typically, the candidate who gave away the best and most liquor won. Today, this would be called bribery, and it is illegal. Moving ahead to 19th century New York City, the Democrat political machine Tammany Hall was known for buying votes. Tammany did not stop there. Considering voters could vote without providing proof of identification, Tammany was able to successfully commit voter fraud in many ways. Tammany would send the same voter to vote in different precincts under different identities. Tammany would also have men grow out their beards and hair leading up to Election Day. When it was time to cast votes, the actors would vote, get a haircut, and then vote again with a different appearance. Whether through illegal aliens voting, ineligible prisoners voting, or fictious voters, New York’s Tammany was unscrupulous.
In modern times, voter fraud has continued. Election fraud happens in every election cycle. Most of the time, the fraud is so small it does not change the outcome, but sometimes, the election is close enough that fraud does change the outcome. There are many instances where it has changed the outcome of major US elections.
The Daily Wire recently shared several anecdotes about President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s lengthy history with voter fraud. Notably, after Lyndon Baines Johnson lost his 1941 race for the US Senate, he received a letter from New York Democrat and sitting US President Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the letter, FDR jokes, “Lyndon, apparently you Texans haven’t learned one of the first things we learned up in New York State and that is that when the election is over, you have to sit on the ballot boxes.” The President was encouraging young LBJ to sit on the ballot box after voting ended, so his opponent could not stuff the box with fraudulent votes. The young politician might have lost this time, but this was far from the last time America would hear from LBJ.
By 1948, Johnson had learned his lesson. He won the Democratic Primary Runoff for US Senate by 87 votes. It was later determined that 202 fraudulent votes were cast for LBJ in Jim Wells County. These ballots were all filled out in the same pen and handwriting. Several men later testified that they never voted in the election. What is interesting about Jim Wells County is that this County took days after Election Day to report its tallies. Most of the state had already completed its count and the original projection was for LBJ’s opponent, former Texas Governor Coke Stevenson, to win, but by the time the tardy County of Jim Wells reported their “results,” LBJ was the victor.
Many more tales of voter fraud exist throughout our recent history. In the 1960 Presidential Election, America witnessed the closest election in its history. In the end, Richard Nixon lost the popular vote to LBJ’s running mate John F. Kennedy by 0.17%. Reports of fraud were rampant throughout Illinois, Texas, and Louisiana. Each of these states were extremely close and were ultimately won by JFK. In a recent CNN documentary, it was discussed that one Illinois county had more votes cast than people living in the county. Another investigation revealed how one vacant Illinois residence cast 56 votes for Kennedy. By 1962, three precinct workers pled guilty and served jail sentences. Many more perpetrators were never found. Today, even liberal journalists and academics will concede that the “graveyard” vote handed the presidency to JFK.
Another recent escapade occurred in the 2004 Presidential Election. Per the Wall Street Journal, the Milwaukee Police Department found that 5,217 “students” registered their address as a dormitory that only housed 2,600 students; at least 220 ineligible felons voted; 370 registered addresses were not legal residences in the city; homeless individuals were registered at multiple precincts; and residents of other states voted. John Kerry won Wisconsin by only 11,000 votes. By now, much of this is sounding very familiar.
I do not share these stories to further reinforce your beliefs that elections are rigged. Our election system is incredibly flawed, but it has been flawed for decades and decades. I share these stories to highlight that your trust in elections might have been undermined in 2020, but the faults that damaged your trust were in place long before 2020. These faults never stopped you from voting in the past, and I do not think they should stop you from voting in January.
The US is one of the few nations in the world to have democratic elections NOT requiring a photo ID to vote. Undoubtedly, this increases cases of fraud. Many states do require a photo ID to vote in person, but even these states do not require proof of identification to vote by mail. Voting by mail has always been one of the least secure methods of voting. In a pandemic with calls for so many people to vote by mail, is it any wonder that claims of voter fraud have spiked?
We as a people must call for nationwide reform. We should lobby for each state to require proof of photo ID at polling stations and to limit absentee voting to the truly medically fragile. We must have states compare voter rolls with one another. We must crosscheck voter rolls with death certificates to purge the dead from the roster. Anytime these reforms are proposed, the Democrats have protested that these practices are discriminatory. I find this claim curious. I agree with Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw who recently stated, “It is interesting how Democrats desire to overregulate everything except elections. Why is that?” How would Democrats respond if Republicans stated that requiring a citizen to provide ID to purchase an AR-15 was discriminatory? Convicted felons purchasing guns is a threat to free society, as is illegal voting. We need equal scrutiny for both, and both parties need to take election integrity seriously.
Perhaps, the silver lining to this troubling period is that Americans are finally waking up to a fraud that has been perpetrated against them for decades. Many elected officials over the years have stood by and let this happen, but finally someone had the courage to fight back. That man is President Donald J. Trump. We must reform the way we vote and protect the integrity of our elections lest the very fabric of our Constitution unravel.
In the meantime, Georgia’s conservatives cannot stop voting. It is the Gilmer County Republican Party’s position that we must all vote in the January US Senate Runoff. With all the attention created from the suspected voter fraud in November, a very close eye is going to be kept on the Democrat strongholds of Fulton and Dekalb Counties. To some extent, this will ensure they do the right thing this time. Additionally, the State Legislature, under the leadership of Speaker David Ralston, is already holding committee meetings to ensure that Georgia has a fair election in January. Considering this, our local party’s position is that you must vote in January. You must vote to create a contrast against the Democrat counties. We did things right in November. Our numbers should be comparable to November’s numbers. If conservatives return to the polls in January to do the right thing, it will further expose what the Democrats did in November.
Too much is at stake for Georgia’s Republicans to stay home this January. US Senators Perdue and Loeffler are business leaders who have stepped into politics to save America. If they win, Republicans will control the Senate, the US government will be divided, and there will be a check against the DC liberals. The Democrat candidates in this race have praised Bernie Sanders and condemned our military and police. Democrat Senate Leader Chuck Schumer has promised if his party wins Georgia, they will change America. If you vote for Senators Perdue and Loeffler in January, you can stop the Democrat agenda and save America.
Voter fraud has been a part of American elections before there even was a United States of America. As hard as this is to digest, the courage of President Trump has awakened the American people to this crime. Perhaps this is the beginning of a movement to ensure fair and secure elections in this country. We must not give up on the fight for election integrity. In the meantime, we cannot grow discouraged and stop voting. We must keep fighting for Republican values, and we must keep voting. In the words of Vice President Mike Pence, “My fellow Americans, if you don’t vote, they win.” Georgian’s we cannot let the Democrats win the US Senate. Please exercise your right to vote this January.
Assistant Secretary – Communications, Gilmer County Republican Party
Reece Sanford, CFA served as the Chairman of The Gilmer Trump Campaign. Mr. Sanford is the Assistant Secretary – Communications of the Gilmer County Republican Party and a native of Ellijay, GA. He holds a BBA in Finance from The University of Georgia and an MBA from Kennesaw State University. Mr. Sanford also holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation. He is a career community banker currently working in small business lending. He has served on the boards of several non-profits throughout north Georgia. He has served as Youth Engagement Director of the Gilmer County Republican Party, holds an advisory role with a trade association Political Action Committee, and has consulted on multiple political campaigns. He and his wife, Kerri Ann, enjoy spending their free time exploring north Georgia, running, traveling, and cheering on the Georgia Bulldogs.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are strictly those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the Republican Party, its members, any other organization the author may be associated with, nor his family members.