Election fraud? Seriously?

Up until recently, Putin’s regime committed fraud at every important election. It wasn’t that easy, even though the perpetrators were told they would never face prosecution. In fact, having independent or opposition party observers at polling stations all but closed off the avenues for fraud at that level.

Later on, fake ballots could be added and vote tallies manipulated, say, at the district level. Since the Russian electoral system is centralized and pyramid-like, with a 100% loyal Putin appointee at the apex, it’s almost impervious to outside scrutiny other than by election day observers. Common sense and statistical analysis can detect obvious signs of foul play during the vote count but not much more than that.

Even so, stuffing ballot boxes with fake ballots required a lot of effort and planning. Occasionally – increasingly often – Putin’s little helpers got caught red-handed and shamed by observers and social networks. After 2018, the Kremlin got sick and tired of having to put so much energy into such labor-consuming activity and decided to win elections by simply barring opposition candidates from running.

The moral of this is ballot-stuffing isn’t easy even in Russia with its centrally controlled electoral boards – provided that independent observers are allowed at polling locations. With this in mind, Trump’s conceit that electoral fraud has been committed in several US states on a non-negligible scale is frankly preposterous. The man is trying to steal the election, nothing else.


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