Semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit — “the necessity of proof always lies with the person who lays charges.”
It appears that those who cry election fraud have forgotten this pillar of legal procedure: The burden of proof lies with the accuser. If someone — whether it be a private individual, a corporation or, indeed, the government — charges someone with a crime, that entity must be able to prove the case. The onus is on the accuser, not on the accused.
Yet, people from President Trump on down, including senators most likely vying for increased exposure or perhaps a place on the 2024 ticket, have chosen to stoke the flames of fraud without any evidence strong enough — forget about winning the case — to be heard in a court of law. Alleging a possibility of fraud is not evidence.
Meanwhile, these political actors continue to plant and sow the seeds of discord and distrust, undermining the fabric of this democracy. It is utterly self-serving, but oh so destructive.
Were there voting irregularities in the 2020 election? Quite possibly yes. There likely always are. Is mass mail-in voting infallible? No, it is not. Did the speed with which states and counties utterly unfamiliar with the mail-ballot process were forced to implement it lead to some mistakes? Probably. We believe the mail-in process should be thoroughly reviewed and fixes should be made where needed. We also believe that when this pandemic is over, in-person voting — which, it should be noted, remained an option in Colorado for November’s election — should once again be the standard, especially in states that have not spent years, like Colorado has, in honing a mail-in system.
We are not experts in voter fraud, nor in Dominion Voting Systems software. We have not conducted an extensive investigation into potential voter fraud in November. But we trust the rule of law and we trust the judicial system, not least the highest court in the land. While the Supreme Court dismissed the fraud cases on procedural grounds, other state and federal courts — including courts with Trump-appointed judges — reviewed the evidence and threw out the cases on merit. Not to mention, Trump’s own Justice Dept. found no evidence of fraud that would alter the election.
Besides failures in the courts, Trump has tried his case on social media, making accusations against states without evidence, merely pointing out unusual patterns and sometimes even making false statements. He has, however, succeeded in poisoning the political climate.
The irony is that many of the people perpetuating the narrative of fraud are the same who claim to be strict constitutionalists and states rights advocates. Under the Constitution, states make the rules for elections within their borders.
Barring earth-shattering new information, on January 20, 2021 Joe Biden will be sworn in as president of the United States. Those who oppose him — and it is important in a healthy democracy for opposition to exist — should focus their energies on providing alternative policy ideas and viable candidates to run in upcoming elections. That is how one legitimately gains power in this country. Not by refusing to accept election results and (as we learn at press time) storming the US Capitol.
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