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Mail-in Ballot Fraud? Here's Why One Country May Pose the Greatest Threat to US Vote Integrity

09-02-2020
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Just how secure will voting be during the November election? President Trump has been raising fraud concerns over universal mail-in balloting. But the biggest threat could actually come from foreign tampering.

US Attorney General William Barr first floated the idea about foreign election interference in a New York Times interview last June saying it is a worrisome issue. Barr said, "There are a number of foreign countries that could easily make counterfeit ballots, put names on them, send them in, and it'd be very hard to sort out what's happening."

President Trump raised similar concerns about Chinese and Russian mail-in ballot interference during an August 11th interview with Sean Hannity.

"Who knows who is getting them. Mailmen are going to get them and people are just going to grab batches of them. And you talk about China and Russia. They'll be grabbing plenty of them. It's a disaster, it's a rigged election waiting to happen," the president insisted.

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Trump administration critics say foreign ballot tampering is highly unlikely because specific codes are used to identify ballots and ballot designs vary from state to state. That makes counterfeiting on a massive scale extremely difficult, if not impossible.

Other methods of election meddling are more likely.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) is concerned about domestic and foreign electronic vote hacking.

"There have been efforts to do so in the past. If that were successful, we would really have no way in some states to know what the right number was," Romney explained.  

China may pose the greatest threat.

On Aug. 7, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) announced China does not want President Trump re-elected and Beijing has been "expanding its influence efforts ahead of November 2020 to shape the policy environment." 

China expert Gordon Chang says China could easily tamper with the election because much is currently done online. 

"But what I focus on is what China has been doing to manipulate opinion. So, for instance, there have been these malicious disinformation campaigns about the coronavirus and about the George Floyd protests. But also China has got its troll farms operating, so we've got all these fake accounts," Chang explained

In June, Twitter took down 174,000 fraudulent Chinese accounts. Other social media platforms have done the same. 

"China has been working very, very intensely and they are going to be in our election much more than Russia was in in 2016," Chang warned.

So, perhaps the easiest way for China or anyone else to sway the November election may come through propaganda and disinformation. That could pose the biggest threat to an uninformed American electorate now reliant on social media as its main source of information. 

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