Election integrity is essential to a functioning country. Americans deserve to know that their elections are being conducted fairly and that their votes count.
Unfortunately, many have reason to think our elections aren’t secure.
Deroy Murdock, a Fox News contributor and senior fellow at the Atlas Network, says he sees election integrity and voter fraud as issues that will determine the continued existence of America as we know it.
“We can’t even tolerate the appearance of vote fraud, because even the mere appearance of vote fraud causes people to lose confidence in our leadership and in our system,” says Murdock, whose columns appear regularly in The Daily Signal. “And pretty soon, our constitutional republic starts to dissolve.”
Murdock joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to discuss the issue of clean and honest elections, and how we can make them more secure.
We also cover these stories:
- Following a ruling by a federal judge in Florida, the Biden administration ends its extended mandate requiring masks on public transportation such as planes and trains.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asks President Joe Biden to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.
- Florida rejects 54 math textbooks over concerns that they contain critical race theory as well as other “prohibited topics.”
Listen to the podcast or read the lightly edited transcript below.
Doug Blair: My guest today is Deroy Murdock, a Fox News contributor and senior fellow at the Atlas Network. Deroy, welcome to the show.
Deroy Murdock: Doug, great to be with you.
Blair: I want to talk to you about election integrity. You gave a speech at The Heritage Foundation about some of the wild intricacies of how election integrity has fallen by the wayside in America these days. Where do you see that as being the biggest problem?
Murdock: Well, it’s a big problem in a lot of states where people are not doing what they need to do in order to make sure that our elections are clean, honest, reliable. I think a lot of this, unfortunately, came out of the COVID emergency.
And people on the left said, “Well, we can’t have people go to the polls because they might get sick or they might get people sick. So let’s have mass mail-in ballots so people can stay at home. And we can’t expect them to turn their votes over at the election board so we’re going to have ballot harvesting so we’ll go pick up their ballots for them. And we’ll have drop boxes. They can drop their ballots in these unsupervised boxes, maybe at 3 in the morning so they won’t get COVID.”
… As Rahm Emanuel, former mayor of Chicago, said, “Never let a great crisis go to waste.” And boy, they didn’t. And they weaponized this disease to change the way we vote. And unfortunately, now, a lot of that stuff still sticks.
There’s been an effort by some states to roll back some of this nonsense. A lot of us fear that there’s going to be what we call the “midterm variant.” Right about Labor Day, there’ll be another variant of COVID and they’ll say, “Oh my God, we got to lock the thing down.”
And they’ll say, “Well, we got to do the mass mail-in ballots,” and go through all the nonsense we did in 2020 that tainted that election, I think, truly, fatally.
But I hope that we will get over this nonsense, get COVID behind us, and get the COVID-related very negative changes in our voting system behind us and in the history books and go back to what we should be doing, which is as much as possible vote in person.
If you’re going to vote absentee, it’s because you’re actually sick or you’re out of town, not just because you feel like it. And we’re going to have the ballots come in—unless they’re in the military or something like that. All the ballots have got to be in election night, not two weeks after or two and a half weeks, just drifting in whenever they want to.
And we really need to go back to the concept of Election Day, where you get up on Election Day, get off your BarcaLounger, put on some clothes, and go down and vote with your neighbors. And decide who’s going to be your mayor, who’s going to be your governor, who’s your congressman, who’s your senator, and who’s the president of the United States.
Rather than what we’ve got now, which is you stay home. You vote in a bathrobe, or maybe with a towel around your waist. It’s just another casual activity. It’s not that important. Who cares?
And I think the whole quality of our democracy suffers when people think voting is just something you do while you’re waiting for dinner to be served rather than something that you take seriously and you and your neighbors go and decide who is going to lead this constitutional republic of ours.
Blair: Deroy, there was a lot to unpack there. I want to start with some of those policies that you mentioned. It sounds like these are policies that have been intentionally created to make voter fraud or election irregularities easier to propagate. Is that accurate, that it’s intentional?
Murdock: I think so. Now, some people will say, “Well, these people really meant well and they just were trying to keep people from getting infected.” I think that’s maybe the innocent explanation.
My sense is that there are people who want to be able to make life as easy to cheat and keep the system loosey-goosey and unfocused and not buttoned up. And that makes it a lot easier to cheat, a lot easier to steal elections. And I think that there are people who do that.
I also think, even if there are honest people and they mean well, that this sort of thing just a bare minimum creates the perception of vote fraud.
And even if there is no actual vote fraud, but people think, “Oh boy, that looks fishy,” then you look at the person who benefits from it, the person that was elected, and you think, “Oh, that’s not really the president United States. That’s not really my senator. That’s not my governor—or whatever it is.”
And I don’t think we can tolerate vote fraud. We can’t even tolerate the appearance of vote fraud because even the mere appearance of vote fraud causes people to lose confidence in our leadership and in our system. And pretty soon our constitutional republic starts to dissolve.
Blair: The secondary angle to that was this idea that voting has become something you do while you’ve gotten out of the shower. Like, “Oh shoot, I forgot to vote. I’ll just fill out my ballot really quickly.” How does that idea, that voting has become a more casual activity, affect the voting process?
Murdock: I think what it does is that people just take it less seriously.
If you know you’re going to go on Election Day—not three weeks before Election Day or early voting or all this other nonsense, but you’re going to go on Election Day—and you and your neighbors are going to go to somewhere, whether it’s the fire station or the elementary school or the church basement, wherever you go, and you vote, I think you take it more seriously if you’re going to go out there and physically go present yourself and vote.
And I think you’re probably going to research more. I think you’re going to look at the ballot propositions more, think more carefully about the candidates who are aiming to represent you.
Versus if you’re just sitting around in the easy chair with your feet up on the ottoman, thinking, “Oh, well, I read the sports page and I’m about to watch some exciting drama on Netflix. So I’ve got 10 minutes before the thing starts. So let me fill out my ballot real quick.” I don’t think it’s really a way we ought to be operating as a people.
There’s also another big problem with this business of what the Democrats and the left really have done. They like to say, “Oh, the Republicans are beating up our democracy.” Look, there’s nothing more central to democracy than the secret ballot.
Going into the polls, you close the curtain behind you, and it’s only you and the ballot. Your boss isn’t there. Your husband’s not there. Your wife’s not there. Your boyfriend, girlfriend, kids, grandkids, nobody’s there but you. And you pick the person or the people you want to represent you and you vote yes/no on whatever the ballot measures are.
When you vote at home, you’re sitting there and you could have your husband or wife or somebody saying, “Well, if you vote for that person, I’m going to clock you over the head with a skillet,” or, “Grandpa, if you don’t vote the way we want, we’re not going to give you any penicillin for a couple days. Let’s see how you feel.” You don’t need to be putting people in that situation.
Hillary Clinton said that the reason she lost in 2016 is a lot of pro-Trump husbands pressured their wives not to vote for her. And a lot of people laughed.
I think it’s probably more paranoia, but I bet you there may be some examples of some husbands that said, “Honey, you vote for Hillary, you’re in big trouble.” And there are probably some people who said, “Honey, you vote for [Donald] Trump, you’re in trouble.” You don’t want that situation. You don’t need that.
And maybe it’s not, “I’m going to knock you over the head with a pipe.” It might just be, “I don’t want to be grumbled at and have somebody make faces at me for the next four years, so I’m not going to vote the way I would otherwise,” or what have you.
People shouldn’t be operating under that kind of pressure. People shouldn’t be voting at home with that kind of nonsense going on.
I know somebody who had accompanied a voting party in California. And they had everyone from the office come in and sit around the conference table and fill out their absentee ballots.
This person is married to somebody who’s not an American citizen, she’s a citizen of a country overseas. And they handed her a ballot and she actually thought, “Well, gee, I could fill this out and vote in this election.” And to her credit, she said, “No, I’m not an American citizen so I’m not going to vote.”
But she had every opportunity right there with a ballot that I think had been an absentee ballot that somebody found it just sitting around. Because it was mailed to somebody, that person moved away or died, and that person’s ballot was there and said, “Hey, you want to join in, too?”
And if she wanted to, she could have filled out that ballot and sent it in. And she would’ve voted it in the last election, in 2020, even though she’s not an American citizen.
This is absurd. This is horrible. This needs to stop—and this business of just sending out ballots as if they were confetti, having them land next to people’s mailboxes because they’re not there, they’ve moved away.
So, the post office drops them off and the people either pick them up or they pull them out of the trash. If they’re good citizens, they mail them back or they tear them in half so they can’t be used. But I’ve no doubt people picked them up, said, “Oh, good. I can vote two or three times for president now.”
And especially with things like drop boxes. You don’t have to go and hand this into a poll worker at the polls. Put it in the drop box at 4 in the morning and nobody’s any the wiser.
There’s a movie coming out by Dinesh D’Souza called “2,000 Mules.” I believe it premieres May 2, if I’m not mistaken. And it’s about this exact problem.
Apparently, they have security footage of folks who were going up to these unsupervised drop boxes and dropping in not one or two ballots—mom’s ballot, grandpa’s ballot—but no, a fistful, fistful of ballots being stuffed into these drop boxes.
And these people were driving around and going to dropbox A, dropbox B, dropbox C, and just stuffing in just handfuls of ballots. And they were able to use both the security footage and also cellphone tracking data to follow these people around.
And I’ve not seen the movie yet, but I’m looking forward to it. And what I sense is it shows a very, very elaborate conspiracy to stuff the ballot box on behalf of the left.
… Look, I think if you could just move around 44,000, 45,000 votes in just the right states, it goes from a Trump victory to a Biden victory. And it’s entirely plausible that those people stuffed the ballot box and got Joe Biden into the White House that way.
Blair: To play devil’s advocate for a second, let’s assume that did happen and that we are seeing this massive amount of voter fraud. Are there not prevention measures when the ballots are counted to say, “Oh, well, this person isn’t a citizen, so their ballot shouldn’t count,” or, “This person’s dead, that shouldn’t count”? Is there any form of prevention to make sure that doesn’t happen?
Murdock: Well, it’s limited. Some of that stuff might be able to be caught, but when you put in—
I’ve actually seen in Colorado a couple years ago, when they moved to all mail ballots, the signature check, I think people have the idea in their heads that people are taking the ballot with a signature and comparing it to the ballot that’s on vote rolls, and getting a magnifying glass out and a measuring tape and all.
No, these things fly through very quickly.
Have you ever seen the machines that the post office uses to cancel stamps, and you see the letters just flying through at top speed? OK. It’s like that.
So it’s not graphologist A and graphologist B looking at the signature on the ballot and the signature that’s on the vote rolls. It’s not like that. These ballots are going by like this. And on election night, they’re going by like so, and good luck catching anything like that.
To make matters even worse, in some states, the way these systems work, they will look at a signature and they compare, I suppose, the size of the curves and the loops and the angles. And they’ll say, “OK, well, the signature on the absentee ballot is 85% similar to the one that’s on the records.”
They actually lowered in some states, lowered the similarity required in order for the ballot to be accepted from 90% similar to 80% similar down to 70% or 60%. And they were lowering the similarity level to make it easier for a signature that didn’t match to be accepted.
Again, why would you do that unless you’re trying to make it easy for people to cheat?
Blair: Now, as another common refrain we hear amongst the left, they say, “Maybe there’s voter fraud, but it’s not widespread, right? These aren’t widespread voter fraud incidents that are happening, it’s isolated incidents.” What are your thoughts on that?
Murdock: Yeah. There’s this notion that, “Well, there’s no widespread vote fraud.” OK. No. 1, how much is acceptable? Ten thousand fraudulent ballots—is that widespread enough so we have a problem? One hundred thousand ballots? A million? Ten million? Please give me a number where you can say, “Yeah, the vote fraud’s widespread, so it’s a problem.”
They’ve never given any indication of what their tolerance for widespreadedness is, if you use that term.
The second is that you don’t need widespread vote fraud, particularly talking about a presidential election.
You don’t have to have fraud from Malibu to Montauk and from Seattle all the way down to Key West. You basically need fraud in a handful of cities. In Atlanta; in Las Vegas; Madison, Wisconsin; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; … and probably Detroit.
If you can have fraud in just those places, what you do is you pump up the vote for the cheating candidate—unfortunately, usually Democrat.
And as those numbers go up, you end up winning not just that city, you win that whole state. Because there are enough members there, so you win the state, Electoral College being winner-take-all. And if you just have the fraud in those places, you get enough Electoral College votes, you win the election.
So there’s no reason to have, here’s our Washington state fraud program and here’s our New Mexico fraud program, you just need it in those four, five, six swing states. And if you can swing those cities, or sometimes just those precincts, with big enough numbers, you up winning the whole state, all the electoral votes. And once you hit 270, you get the Oval Office.
Blair: You mentioned, during your speech at The Heritage Foundation, Georgia as an example of how this could possibly play out. Would you be able to go in-depth about how that might’ve worked?
Murdock: Absolutely. Well, I refer to a very good book called “Our Broken Elections” written by John Fund of National Review and also Hans von Spakovsky, your colleague here at The Heritage Foundation.
They wrote an excellent book, which deals with both the 2020 election, specifically, and electoral election fraud, vote fraud more broadly. And they get into the history of vote fraud going back into the 20th century, maybe even the 19th century, if I remember correctly.
But they have a specific chapter where they get into the whole mess in Georgia. And you need to remember how small the margin of victory was for Joe Biden, 11,769 votes, just under 12,000 votes. And they list this incredible series in that chapter of things that went really quite sideways in Georgia. And just keep that number, just under 12,000, in mind.
And here are the things that took place, among others: 13 unregistered people voted with absentee ballots; 92 people cast absentee ballots before they even requested them—how’s that possible?; 217 people voted via absentee ballots that were applied for, issued, and received all the same day. Wow, that’s a really high level of public service. Isn’t it?
2,423 people voted who were not on Georgia’s voter rolls, so they shouldn’t have voted at all; 2,560 felons cast ballots before their voting rights were restored—they shouldn’t have voted either; 2,664 absentee ballots were sent out before the first day that they could be distributed legally. That should not have happened. This should not have happened.
10,315 dead people voted on Election Day. And among them, 8,718 were registered as dead before their ballots were accepted. So those ballots should not have gone out in the first place. And then 305,701 individuals applied for absentee ballots after the 180-day pre-election deadline.
Now, if you add all that up, we’re talking 323,985 fraudulent votes. Almost 324,000 fraudulent votes, just among those examples. Now, do you think it’s possible Joe Biden was able to extract 11,769 ballots among those, which was his margin of victory in Georgia? I think that’s entirely possible and I think that’s actually what happened.
Blair: So we’re saying that it’s not just a matter of, oh, this is a local election happening. It could be that standard, it could be a presidential election?
Murdock: Absolutely, correct. Which is part of the problem, is you might say, “Well, look, it’s just local. Who cares? People in Georgia are going to do whatever they do.” Well, it can come down to those people in Georgia being the decisive factor in the election.
We certainly saw in the year 2000, in the Bush versus Gore situation, the entire presidency came down to 500—I think the number is 537 votes in the state of Florida.
Now, if 538 votes had gone the other way, Al Gore would’ve been president of the United States. I’m sure it would be a very different country than we have today. Some people might say for the better, some people might say for the worst, but it would’ve been very, very different because of the situation in that one state.
That one state, the state of Florida, was a tail that wagged the entire dog in the United States of America.
So that’s why we have to have zero tolerance for vote fraud. It’s not cute. It’s not funny. There’s nothing good about it. And certainly, when you’re dealing with the presidential elections, a little bit of vote fraud in one state can go a long way, and it can go all the way to the White House.
Blair: When conservatives and Republicans push legislation that might help with voter fraud, such as, for example, voter ID, we’re often accused of being racist or attempting to push down on people’s ability to vote. What are your thoughts on that rhetoric?
Murdock: I think what’s really racist is the policy and the arguments some people on the left have, a lot of Democrats, who say, “Well, we just can’t expect black people to have voter ID.” What a racist, bigoted, disgusting anti-black thing to say.
I walk around all day long and I see black folks driving cars. Are those people all driving around without licenses? I get on planes, I see black people. Are they not allowed to get on planes without voter ID?
When I go to the airport and hop on a plane—and I travel a lot—nobody ever says, “Oh, you’re black. You don’t have to show a voter ID.” I’ve got to show a voter ID just like every other white person or person of Hispanic background or Asian background getting the plane.
So the idea that somehow black people are just too confused or stupid or disorganized to be able to expect them to be able to show voter ID at the polls, I think it’s a deeply bigoted and racist and disgusting notion. And you hear it out of the mouths of Democrats and the left. You don’t hear it out of the mouths of Republicans and the right.
Blair: So this is more of a Democratic problem?
Murdock: In that sense, absolutely. And the people on the left and Democrats, “Oh, we speak out for black people. We’re the black people’s best friend.” Oh, really? Well, if that’s true, why do you think we’re that stupid that we can’t get our hands on a voter ID?
And by the way, it’s funny how we’re expected these days to get your COVID vaccine and show your proof of vaccination. Usually when you show your proof of vaccination, you have to show an ID card as well.
So the same Joe Biden who says it’s Jim Crow 2.0 and the equivalent of Bull Connor and Jefferson Davis, the head of the Confederacy, to expect black people to show ID at the polls, is the same Joe Biden who’s expecting us all to get our vaccines and show our vaccine cards when we have to go into restaurants or do anything else.
And so that’s OK then, with COVID, that’s fine. But if you expect it at the polls, then you’re just like George Wallace and the segregationists during the Jim Crow era. I mean, the level of inconsistency and hypocrisy and total lack of self-awareness on the part of these people is truly breathtaking.
Blair: Now, we’ve gotten this acknowledgement that voter fraud and election integrity are issues that we need to care about. You mentioned a couple of solutions at the very top of this interview about what can be done about it, but what do you think would be some effective solutions we could put into place today that would affect elections going forward?
Murdock: Well, again, I think voter ID is probably the easiest, and most popular, I should say. There’s a poll by CBS News in July of last year, and 80% of blacks and 80% of Hispanics favor voter ID. Among whites, the support is 81%. And what is that extra 1%? Racism, clearly.
But look, this is very popular and activists on the left don’t like it, but everybody thinks voter ID is perfectly fair. So just, are you the person who you say you are? There’s nothing inappropriate about that. So that’d be an easy thing to do.
Secondly, voter rolls need to be cleaned up. There are voter rolls that have dead people on them, names of people who’ve moved away—they’ve left the state or moved elsewhere, from one location, west side of town, east side of town, whatever it might be. And that needs to be cleaned up.
That’s required under the so-called “motor voter” law and also, the Help America Vote Act. Both those laws require you to clean up your vote rolls. That should be done often.
There has been pushback by the Department of Justice under [then-President Barack] Obama. Attorney General Eric Holder actually sued the state of Florida when they tried to clean up their voter rolls and take 51,000 dead people off the voter rolls.
And again, the motor voter law and the Help America Vote Act, both federal laws, require that to be done. And when then [then-Florida] Gov. Rick Scott tried to do this, the attorney general, Eric Holder, under Obama came in to stop him.
Why would you want to do that unless you want to have a loosey-goosey situation, which people can take advantage of and do things they shouldn’t?
I think I would put an end to mass mail-in ballots. If you are sick or you’re going to be out of town, or you are paralyzed, or you have some inability to get to the polls, that’s one thing, fine. We’ll get you an absentee ballot. But the idea that we’re just going to send … tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of ballots around, even when people don’t ask for them, there’s no need for that. That just creates all sorts of problems.
I think related to that is this whole business of ballot trafficking or ballot harvesting. We should put an end to that. If you are infirm and you can’t make it to the polls and you want your grandson or your uncle or your next-door neighbor to take your ballot in, fine.
And when it’s accepted, we should know the voter’s name, the name of the person dropping it off, that person should show ID, and it should only be your close relatives or your neighbors if you’re shut in, or something like that.
This business of people coming in with just handfuls of ballots and dropping them off—OK, here are 100 ballots, here are 300 ballots, here are 500 ballots—we don’t know who these people are.
Are they honest people who picked up the ballots and dropped them off or do they sift through them and say, “Oh, I don’t like that guy. There goes that ballot.” “I don’t like this person. Oh, OK, it’s not sealed shut. Let me fill in those extra bubbles for those people who I want to see elected and then drop.”
You have no idea of knowing what’s going on here. Again, if it’s corrupt, it needs to stop. If it’s not corrupt but it looks funny, it creates the perception of fraud and that’s not healthy either.
So I’d start with those things. And there are more spec specific reforms, but at a minimum voter ID, clean up the vote rolls, put an end to mass mail-in ballots. And I also think we need to get back to Election Day rather than election month or election quarter.
In 2016, you had people voting in North Carolina two weeks before the very first Hillary Clinton/Donald J. Trump presidential debate. I think that’s sick and I think that’s un-American.
We ought to go back to Election Day where people vote after you’ve seen the debates, watched the ads, read the articles, and you can go into the polls with a full, clear head of all the pros and cons about the people who are on the ballot and then you make a decision accordingly.
Blair: As we wrap-up here, as I think we’ve seen in polling data and as you just discussed a little bit here, if Americans don’t trust their voting results, if they don’t trust the results of their elections, that has pretty dire consequences for the country. Do you think the fact that Americans are starting to question the results of their elections, they are not confident that their votes are counting, means that we’ll start to see this type of legislation get passed?
Murdock: Well, with any luck, we will see this sort of legislation passed so people actually can have confidence in the polls.
I think one of the reasons that the two senate elections in January went the way they did is you had some Republicans who figured, “Well, it’s a rigged system and Stacey Abrams rigged it. And [Georgia] Secretary of State [Brad] Raffensperger and [Georgia] Gov. Brian Kemp went along. And so my ballot’s not going to be counted, so I won’t bother casting it.”
And you actually had some people running around and saying that sort of thing, which I thought was completely irresponsible. And so I think that actually reduced GOP turnout, because they figured, “Why waste my time voting if my ballot’s not going to be cast?”
Again, that’s not good for the system if people think that sort of thing. So I think we do have to get back to a system where people can have faith in the system itself. And they might say, “Well, look, I’m glad my candidate won,” or, “I’m sorry my candidate lost,” but at least we both, losers and winners, can say, “All right, it was a fair process. It was not a rigged system. It was a decent, just, clean, and honest system.” And we all can walk away, some happier than others, but all of us satisfied that the system itself is OK. I don’t think we’re there now.
And if we have another election like we had in 2020, it’s going to be even worse. And confidence in the American constitutional republic will continue to dissolve even further.
Blair: That was Deroy Murdock, a Fox News contributor and senior fellow at the Atlas Network. Deroy, very much appreciate your time.
Murdock: Great to be with you. Thank you very much.
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