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Anti-Trump rally in New York touting the now totally discredited 'Russian collusion'. Photo credit: Rob Walsh

‘Real competitive struggle’ – Navalny either blind or biased in assessing US elections

Undoubtedly, the attention of the whole world is riveted on the presidential election in the USA and the disarray which has followed. This being said, the US electoral process is traditionally an issue which is not only interesting in itself but also because of estimations and reactions from some third parties.

Published: November 8, 2020, 2:28 pm

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    In particular, a somewhat ludicrous reaction was put forth by the Russian opposition blogger Alexey Navalny and his team. On November 5, right after the voting in the US, there was a tweet from the “Navalny LIVE” social media account on Twitter: “In fact, it is very interesting to follow the US elections. This is truly a real competitive struggle with intrigue which we Russians all miss.”

    But what is being ignored by the Navalny team, who uses every conceivable excuse to criticize elections in Russia but enjoy the “truly competitive struggle with intrigue” of the events before, during and after elections in the US?

    The reason for the numerous accusations of fraud were greatly facilitated by millions of Americans who chose to vote by mail in 2020 due to Covid restrictions. Ballots in a number of states could be sent up to election day, so the counting continued after polling stations closed which, as a lot of experts believe, gave rise to fraud.

    Moreover, the US Postal Service may become one of the main and certainly confirmed violators. The Washington Post reported that the US Post Office was unable to deliver more than 150 000 voter ballots before the day of the presidential election. It is noteworthy that more than 10 000 ballots were not delivered on time precisely in those three states which could be crucial in determining the name of the winner – North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Nevada.

    There are also more and more reports on social media about how the “living dead” – deceased voters who are still on the lists – managed to vote in Michigan and other states. The most cited case is that of a William Bradley, who died on June 1, 1984, but is still on the electoral roll. In the same state, there were massive ballot stuffing for Biden, but after a scandal erupted it was glossed over by the media as “an error in entering data into the table”.

    In general, questions about the organization of voting in Michigan were raised before the current elections. Conservative organizations filed several lawsuits regarding possible irregularities in the compilation of voter lists after the 2016 elections, but they were never addressed. On the other hand, the Detroit News newspaper, citing the local voting bureau, also reported that in 2016, 31 state residents voted twice, by mail and in person, but despite referring cases to prosecutors, no charges were filed.

    An incident which could be a result of fraud took place in North Dakota as well. There, as the Washington Post noted, Republican candidate David Andal, who died in early October, received a seat in the state house of representatives. The publication underscored that “even death did not prevent the politician from winning the elections in his state”. The state will be re-electing a candidate. However, the victory of dead candidates is not such an unprecedented case in US elections. Since 2000, no less than six previously deceased candidates had won elections at various levels of government.

    Other violations include the barring of Trump supporters from certain polling stations. Including in the already mentioned state of Michigan, in Detroit. A Fox News video, which has received thousands of reposts, showed people inside one of the polling stations barricading themselves in to keep out observers, with some windows covered with plywood panels.

    A similar situation occurred in the key state of Pennsylvania, where Republicans were not allowed to observe the counting in some places. Supporters of the incumbent US president said that Republican observers were kept many meters away from the counting apparatus and ballots. They denounced it as a violation and a weighty reason for legal action. However, the mission of international observers did not record this violation and, in general, used mostly wordings like “the elections in the United States were well organized”.

    In addition, Trump’s team announced numerous violations in Nevada and demanded that ballot counting be stopped. The list of claims includes already mentioned “dead souls” of the postal vote and those who left the state due to the pandemic, but were still able to cast their vote, although according to Nevada law, one must live in the state for 30 days before the election to vote.

    According to analysts, such claims cannot entail thousands of violations. Nevertheless, the difference in votes between candidates in disputed states is sometimes only several thousand, and in such a situation each ballot becomes really valuable.

    Another interesting case of possible fraud was reported by quite an unexpected source – Google. Some 30 days before the elections in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Arizona, a popular query on Google became the search “punishment for election fraud”. And these were in some of the key states which have ensured Biden’s victory.

    This could, of course, just be a simple coincidence, but the question still arises – why would a person google responsibility for falsifying elections before the elections? While Google users think they have one-on-one with a computer, Google sees and counts everything.

    At the same time, as some experts noted, these violations committed in the United States and, in fact, ignored by law enforcement and judicial authorities, would constitute a serious offense in Russia.

    Pyotr Kiryan, the head of the Russian Social Research Laboratory at the Institute for Regional Problems, noted that the main issue at hand is what exactly, from the point of view of the US electoral system, could legally be interpreted as a violation.

    “In Russia, there is a direct sanction for voting several times at different polling stations – this is actually an offense. In American practice, this will depend on the state and on the total vote. That means, the judge will consider this, weighing his opinion, and the opinion of the parties. And he will make a decision based on customary practice and his own vision,” Pyotr Kiryan underlined.

    Also, in Russia, voters receive clear information from the central electoral commission about the voting results no later than three or four days after the election, and this happens promptly due to directly electing presidents and deputies of the Russian parliament or heads of regions.

    In the United States, when voting by mail, electors wait for votes to be counted and then legitimized on the grounds of whether they will be challenged by candidates or not. Therefore, the ballot process itself can drag on for several days, which certainly creates the opportunity for voter fraud.

    A curious observer may ask: Why is Navalny, who calls himself the main opposition force in Russia and who devotes so much time to investigating violations occurring in Russia, silent about violations in the United States?

    At the same time he muses about the “real struggle” in the US, thereby admitting to the legal implications of fraudulent votes contributing to Biden’s victory.

    The answer is obvious, and Navalny himself offered the response in an October interview with the CBS News agency. Back then, Navalny had admonished Donald Trump because the American president had not formally condemned the opposition figure’s possible poisoning, unlike the leaders of Germany and France. Trump had also been silent while other US and EU officials were calling for sanctions against Russia.

    It appears that Navalny, despite his lofty claims about defending the rule of democracy, transparency and justice – the notions so dear to his supporters and himself – was moved instead by wounded pride and resentment against the villainous Trump, who had paid no heed to the “victim of Kremlin” in dire need of some attention.

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