June 24, 2021 03:03

Responding to false claims in the Washington Post Fact Check: Trump was correct that virtually all of Europe either prohibits absentee ballots or require Photo Voter IDs

President Trump in speech of December 2, 2020: 

Most Americans would be shocked to learn no state in the country verifies citizenship as a condition for voting in federal elections. This is a national disgrace. No other advanced country conducts elections this way. 

Many European countries have instituted major restrictions on mail-in voting specifically because they recognize the nearly unlimited potential for fraud. Out of 42 European nations, all but two prohibit absentee ballots entirely for people who reside inside the country, or else they require those who need absentee ballots to show a very, very powerful ID.

The entire speech is available at C-SPAN.

These data regarding absentee ballots come directly from the Crime Prevention Research Center report available here. But the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler gives what he calls Trump’s “46-minute rant” three Pinocchios out of four (what they describe as “Significant factual error and/or obvious contradictions. This gets into the realm of ‘mostly false“). Kessler quotes one academic from Australia who claims that Trump is “seriously misleading, and cherry picking data.” He also says that Trump’s statement regarding absentee is especially misleading “because he prefaced this statistic with the line: ‘No other advanced country conducts elections this way.’”

Kessler relies on a report from the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), but their report ignores the second part of Trump’s comment regarding ID requirements. We believe that IDEA has made errors regarding Iceland and Montenegro’s absentee voting rules (see discussion below). But there are two fundamental problems with Kessler’s evaluation.

  1. There are two reasons to believe that the statement “No other advanced country conducts elections this way” concerned countries verifying citizenship, not whether they allowed absentee ballots or photo voter IDs. A) The statement is entirely correct when applied to the claim that other advanced countries check voters’ citizenship. It isn’t accurate when applied to the claim that all other “advanced” countries both ban and require Photo Voter IDs. Indeed, Trump knew this point because he said, “all but two [countries] prohibit absentee ballots entirely for people who reside inside the country, or else they require those who need absentee ballots to show a very, very powerful ID.” Why would Trump make a claim and then immediately contradict it two sentences later? B) If you listen to the above clip, we think it is pretty clear that Trump did not refer to absentee ballots and voter IDs when he made the statement: “No other advanced country conducts elections this way.”
  2. Kessler also argues that including the fact that countries require Photo Voter IDs is “a red herring, given that many of these countries have national ID cards. It also ignores that countries have other ways to accommodate voters who cannot go to the polls, such as proxy voting. In the end, it’s clear that some of the largest countries in Europe, such as Britain, Germany, Spain and Poland, allow voters to cast ballots by mail.” Of course, Kessler ignores or at least doesn’t believe that voter IDs prevent the fraud that Trump referred to. There is a reason that these countries link IDs to voting. As to other voting methods, such as proxy voting, it is a pretty complicated process that has multiple protections, including the verification of IDs and signed request forms. For example, as the CPRC’s report notes, a power of attorney to have a proxy vote can only be granted by the municipal mayor. That would seem to fall under President Trump’s statement of showing an ID to vote this way.

So here are the notes for Iceland and Montenegro.


Only people who live outside the greater metropolitan capital area can use absentee ballots and then they can only use them for municipal elections, not national elections. 75,665 voters live outside the greater metropolitan capital area and 159,360 live inside it, so over half of the population is not eligible to do an absentee ballot for even municipal elections. Other restrictions limit their use even further. Some people who work for the government are also barred from using absentee ballots even if they live outside the greater metropolitan capital area. There are also charges that have to be paid by those who use absentee ballots.

A district commissioner may only send a postal ballot during the local municipal elections to a voter who resides outside the capital’s metropolitan area, however there’s a high risk that a ballot will not arrive on time.

Sýslumaðurinn á höfuðborgarsvæðinu getur þó eingöngu sent atkvæðisbréf kjósanda sem ekki er með lögheimili á höfuðborgarsvæðinu með pósti í sveitarstjórnarkosningum og er því hætta á því að atkvæði muni ekki berast í tæka tíð ef kjósandi kemur of nálægt kosningum að kjósa búi hann eða hún mjög fjarri höfuðborgarsvæðinu.

https://www.frettabladid.is/frettir/allt-sem-u-arft-a-vita-um-kosningarnar-a-laugardaginn/ [frettabladid.is]

Those who live in remote places may also request a mail in ballot from the commissioner’s officer. In this case a vote is responsible for paying any postal charges.

Ráðuneytið bendir á að í 65. grein laga um kosningar komi fram að kjósendur sem kjósa utan kjörstaðar þurfi sjálfir að annast og kosta póstsendingu á atkvæði sínu. 

https://www.ruv.is/frett/2020/05/26/islendingar-erlendis-hvattir-til-ad-kjosa-timanlega-0 [ruv.is] 


Postal voting or online voting was not allowed in Montenegro until August 2020 when the government passed a new law which temporarily allowed voters who tested positive for Covid-19 to cast their votes by post during the 2020 Parliamentary elections. But the number of people who tested positive and thus eligible was just a very tiny percentage of the population.

Observers from the Center of Monitoring and Research (CeMI) claimed that only 2.4% (11,500 voters) of out the total number of eligible voters requested mail in ballots. All of them were tested positive for Covid-19 and were isolated at home.

Posmatrači Centra za monitoring i istraživanje (CeMI) kazali su da je 2,4 odsto birača u Crnoj Gori tražilo da glasa putem pisma, javlja Anadolu Agency (AA).

Iz te nevladine organizacije koja prati izbore u Crnoj Gori kazali su da je 11,5 hiljada birača tražilo da glasa putem pisma. Prema odluci Ministarstva zdravlja, pismom mogu glasati osobe sa pozitivnim PCR testom na koronavirus, a koje su u karantinu ili samoizolaciji.

https://www.aa.com.tr/ba/balkan/crna-gora-za-glasanje-putem-pisma-prijavilo-se-2-4-odsto-bira%C4%8Da/1957973# [aa.com.tr

The post Responding to false claims in the Washington Post Fact Check: Trump was correct that virtually all of Europe either prohibits absentee ballots or require Photo Voter IDs appeared first on Crime Prevention Research Center.

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