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A Peer-Reviewed Statistical Analysis of the 2020 Election

King County Election workers collect ballots from a drop box in the Washington State primary, Tuesday, March 10, 2020 in Seattle. Washington is a vote by mail state. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

By Andy May

Stephen Dinan of the Washington Times reported on a new peer-reviewed paper that analyzes the results of the 2020 election and found Biden received 255,000 excess votes. It has been accepted for publication by the journal Public Choice and was written by Dr. John R. Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center. The linked pdf may not match the final printed version of the paper that will appear in the journal, but it is the copy that was peer-reviewed.

Both Dinan’s article and the paper are worth reading. Unfortunately, statistical analysis doesn’t prove anything, but I found Lott’s analysis impeccable and compelling. His discussion of the problems in several states with mail-in and absentee ballots is interesting and informative. He makes the following points very clearly.

  1. Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin did not match signatures on the outer mail-in envelopes to the official registration records. Some states, like Pennsylvania accepted ballots that were not enclosed in outer envelopes. These acts are in violations of the laws in many states and make it impossible to verify a vote’s legitimacy.
  2. Lott compares votes in adjacent voting precincts, where one of the precincts is accused of voter fraud, as with Georgia’s Fulton County, and finds statistically significant evidence of abnormal mail-in and absentee ballot results. In short, Trump’s absentee ballot share in the Fulton County precincts was depressed, compared to adjoining precincts. The largest estimate of depressed Trump votes was more than Biden’s margin in Georgia.
  3. In Pennsylvania and other states, numerous voters trying to vote in person were told they had already voted absentee, suggesting that someone else had voted using their name. The differences found to be statistically significant in Georgia were not significant in Pennsylvania, but Pennsylvania was missing some essential data for the study, which was a problem.
  4. In Nevada, 42,000 people voted more than once, 1,500 dead people voted, and 19,000 did not have a Nevada residence.
  5. In Wisconsin 28,395 people voted without identification.
  6. In Georgia, Nevada, and Pennsylvania, the rejection of improper absentee ballots in 2020 were a fraction of those rejected in 2016.

The most serious problems in the 2020 election were the procedural changes made, generally illegally, in absentee and mail-in voting. This type of voting is discouraged by the Jimmy Carter and James Baker, 2005 voting commission (Carter & Baker, 2005, pp. 46-47). The past problems with absentee voting in Europe have been much worse than in the U.S., at least prior to 2020, and as a result the practice is banned in 35 of 47 countries in Europe. In ten of the countries that allow it, the voter must show up in person and present a photo id, to pick up their absentee ballot. The remaining countries temporarily allowed voting in limited cases. Europe learned the hard way what happens when mail-in ballots are not secured, just as we did.

Lott concludes that his study underestimates the extent of voter fraud because it assumes that no voter fraud occurred with in-person voting. He also concludes that there were 142,000 to 368,000 total excess Biden votes, enough to swing the election. The statistical methods used for the study look valid to me, but as noted above, statistics are not proof. They do suggest that the election should be investigated, and the study shows that the permissive, and mostly illegal, absentee, and mail-in ballot procedures used in 2020 should never be repeated. I recommend everyone read Dinan’s article and the paper.

Works Cited

Carter, J., & Baker, J. (2005). Building Confidence in U.S. Elections. Retrieved from https://www.legislationline.org/download/id/1472/file/3b50795b2d0374cbef5c29766256.pdf

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