Special fascist election police units formed in three Republican-led states to perpetuate Donald Trump’s voter fraud lies have so far been unable to uncover evidence of widespread voter fraud in their investigations of the 2022 midterm elections, further cementing that, as election officials have said, such fraud doesn’t exist.
Though these units have been probing isolated incidents — something that local election officials already do otherwise — they have turned up “no indication of systemic problems,” as The Associated Press reports. This undermines the supposed goals of the groups, formed in Florida, Georgia and Virginia, to uncover voter fraud, as even efforts by special groups formed to scour their states for supposed election crimes have turned up empty.
Their findings, or lack thereof, line up with the findings of other government officials who have also found zero evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2022 election — just as masses of agencies, election officials and journalists, even conservative groups and Trump-aligned officials, found no evidence of widespread fraud in 2020, contradicting Trump’s claims.
That didn’t stop Republican officials from continuing to perpetuate the “Big Lie” about the election, however, spurring the creation of a mass voter suppression movement led by Republicans across the country.
The formation of election police — what Georgia state Rep. Jasmine Clark (D) called a “solution looking for a problem,” per the AP — was a part of that trend. And though they have turned up short on evidence of fraud, election experts say that they have already likely achieved their real goal: placing a chilling effect on the entire electoral process.
On top of existing voter suppression laws, election police units send the message to voters and potential election workers that there is a target on their backs if they step one toe out of line. Indeed, in Florida, far-right Gov. Ron DeSantis’s election police force arrested 20 people earlier this year who had prior convictions but who were nonetheless able to register to vote, apparently leading them to believe that they could cast a ballot.
At least one of those arrested has had his case dismissed, but arrests have achieved their goal: many of those who have been convicted of crimes say they are now afraid of voting, and won’t risk casting a ballot and being arrested.
“We’ve heard stories about voters who are eligible to vote but have a criminal conviction in their past, and they are now scared to register and vote,” which is “deeply concerning,” Michael Pernick, NAACP voting rights attorney, told the AP.
In reality, Republicans are trying to create a pathway, either legal or through force, to ensure that Republicans never lose elections again, as Wisconsin GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Michels said earlier this month before losing to Democrat Tim Evers.
In Arizona, for instance, a Republican-controlled county is refusing to certify its election results ahead of a Monday deadline to do so, in protest of incumbent Mark Kelly winning his race for U.S. Senate in the state. Though there is no evidence of voter fraud in the state, Republicans seem to be trying to circumvent the Democrat’s win or invalidate it altogether. Democrats have threatened legal action over the move.