FARGO — Best as we can tell, North Dakota's all-Republican congressional delegation doesn't trust elections in North Dakota and may soon be calling for commissions and investigations to root out "irregularities."
What a slap in the face to the fine county auditors, election officers and secretary of state Al Jaeger. North Dakota, long a state with high voter turnout and a history of clean elections, is now being called into question by its three most powerful elected officials.
Now, to be clear, U.S. Sens. John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer and U.S. Rep. Kelly Armstrong didn't specifically call out North Dakota's elections. But in their undying love for their Fuhrer, President Donald Trump, each politician issued a statement saying they wouldn't contest the Electoral College vote this week but ... and this is a big but ... they acknowledge "irregularities" in president-elect Joe Biden's victory, specifically regarding mail-in voting. Each called for a congressional commission to investigate elections in the United States.
In short, they don't trust the results of elections that rely heavily on mail-in voting, like the 2020 election that was altered because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Funny thing, though. Hoeven's, Cramer's and Armstrong's own state has long relied heavily on mail-in voting and, like every other state, relied even more on it in 2020 because of the pandemic.
How heavily? The June primary was conducted 100 PERCENT BY MAIL-IN VOTING thanks to an executive order by Republican governor and Trump boot-kisser Doug Burgum. According to statistics available at the secretary of state's website, EVERY ONE OF THE 160,114 VOTES CAST IN THE PRIMARY WAS DONE THROUGH THE MAIL.
That was a primary in which Armstrong was on the ballot. So clearly he must question his own victory in the primary if he is willing to cast aspersions on elections in other states.
Further, the November election that saw Armstrong win the general election and Trump prevail with 65% of the vote in North Dakota had RECORD NUMBERS OF ABSENTEE AND MAIL-IN VOTES, according to the governor's website.
So clearly Armstrong must question his own victory and Armstrong, Hoeven and Cramer must question Trump's election.
Because, you know, you just can't trust mail-in voting.
Unless, of course, North Dakota's shallow-as-a-puddle delegation is only questioning mail-in voting in swing states that Biden won, which happen to rely heavily on votes from Black people.
But that wouldn't make any sense, because why would they question mail-in voting in only a handful of states that Trump lost that happen to rely heavily on votes from Black people and not mail-in voting in EVERY state, including a rural, heavily white state that relies strongly on mail voting. You know, a state like North Dakota.
Here are the facts about North Dakota and mail-in voting, with numbers supplied by secretary of state Al Jaeger, a Republican:
In the 2018 election, North Dakota had 32 vote-by-mail counties. They were: Adams, Barnes, Benson, Billings, Bottineau, Burke, Cavalier, Dunn, Eddy, Foster, Grant, Griggs, Hettinger, Kidder, LaMoure, Logan, McHenry, McIntosh, McKenzie, McLean, Mercer, Nelson, Pembina, Pierce, Ramsey, Ransom, Renville, Sargent, Sheridan, Steele, Towner, Traill and Walsh.
Cheaters all, according to the congressional delegation that represents them.
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In each case in 2018, each county had to have one polling location open on election day. But the county sent out ballots to each eligible resident.
"The number of counties using vote by mail has varied a little over the years between 30 to 35. As to why the counties choose vote by mail, it could be for several reasons," Jaeger wrote me back in August, when I wrote a column about Cramer questioning the veracity of mail-in voting. "Population of the county, geographical size of counties, lack of poll workers, and the expense of maintaining several polling locations with election equipment and poll workers. Generally, the core group of counties has stayed the same and if the voters in those counties did not like it, the county commissions would most likely change back. And some that did change back, changed back again to voting by mail."
I followed up with one question for Al: Has there been any evidence of voter fraud either in the June election or in the past from the counties that vote mostly by mail?
Jaeger's response: "We are unaware of any voter fraud related to your question."
Then, it would seem, somebody's lying.
Either Hoeven, Cramer and Armstrong are lying about voter fraud in mail-in elections. Or Jaeger is lying and covering up massive voter fraud in North Dakota.
Hmmm. Seems like the delegation or the state legislature should call for an investigation to figure out the truth. Either way, it's a heckuva story.
Or, if the Three Dumbigos want to go big they could simply refer to the investigative panel commissioned by Trump and chaired by Kansas conservative Kris Kobach that was supposed to uncover massive voter fraud. Trump, angry he'd lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, claimed there were 3-5 million votes that were fraudulent and assigned Kobach to find them.
Kobach and his commission found nothing. Nada. When it dissolved in 2017, Trump's voter fraud unit listed exactly zero instances it found. There was none.
But if Hoeven, Cramer and Armstrong are so sure there are mail-in voting "irregularities," perhaps they should start with their home state — which relies heavily on mail-in voting and has for many years.