By Wes Pruden
There’s no such thing as voter fraud, as the Democrats and right-thinking press mavens have been telling us for weeks, but some curious things are happening out there in flyover country. Some of the assurances that all is well on the old ship of state have been caught in what looks suspiciously like the rigging.
Early voters in Texas say the voting machines are flipping their votes. These voters marked their ballots for Donald Trump, and when the machines enabled them to review their work, the votes had been flipped to Hillary Clinton.
Votes for Republicans in down-ballot races were not flipped. No doubt a coincidence — it seems to be a law of the cosmos that votes are always flipped from Republican to Democrat — or it might be a clue to why Democrats have been growing increasingly confident that this year they will flip the state from reliably red to an unnatural shade of blue.
Election officials put the glitches, if glitches they are, to “user error,” and say “the machines are fine,” as apparently they are if you’re of the Hillary persuasion. Nevertheless, Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, has urged voters to check and double check the way they mark their ballots before actually casting the vote. Machines are not infallible, though they’re often described that way, like a fast-talking salesman pushing a cosmetically enhanced clunker off a used-car lot.
Voting machines have shortened election night; votes are far more quickly counted now that a machine, sometimes a computer, does the counting. Who would accuse a computer of acting up? Nevertheless, the famous boast of Earl Long, the late governor of Louisiana, that he could make voting machines play “Home on the Range.” becomes more credible with every election. Fraud doesn’t happen as often as losers say it does, but it happens more often than the winners say it does.
The expansion of absentee voting, including early voting, offers new opportunities for manipulation. Voters in six states started voting this week, and by Saturday night voters will have marked ballots in 12 states and the District of Columbia. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about a third of the nation’s voters will have cast ballots by Nov. 8, which is what was once accurately called Election Day.