Two very different perspectives on voter fraud were presented during a forum put on Tuesday by the ASU Federalist Society in downtown Phoenix. Deroy Murdock, a Fox News contributor and contributing editor with National Review Online, argued that there is plenty of evidence of significant voter fraud in the U.S. in recent years. Roy Herrera, an election attorney who has represented the Joe Biden and Mark Kelly political campaigns, asserted that there are minimal problems with voter fraud.

Moderated by Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick, most of the forum consisted of each speaker explaining their position, with a few questions at the end. Murdock opened by saying it’s “maddening” that the Democrats claim there is no evidence of voter fraud. He said affidavits from people who have seen voter fraud constitute evidence, and referenced the Heritage Foundation’s database of 1,191 criminal convictions for voter fraud.

Murdock recommended the book Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections, by The Federalist Editor in Chief Mollie Hemingway. He discussed how Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s “Zuckerbucks” paid for a Democratic activist in Green Bay, Wisconsin, to gain access to all parts of the elections office and ballot-counting room, and compared it to Elon Musk underwriting members of the NRA and National Right to Life to get access to the elections operations in Flagstaff and Scottsdale.

He said there was evidence of wrongdoing found in the 2020 presidential election, where election officials changed the law at the last minute, which a judge later found intruded into the legislature’s authority. He declared, “The Democratic Party is the party of voter fraud.”

Murdock showed photos on an overhead of voters dropping off piles of ballots in states where ballot harvesting is prohibited. He cited instances in localities like Las Vegas, where election officials relaxed signature verification standards on early ballots.

“Why would they do that?” he asked.

He said it was “a literal attack on transparency” when election officials placed cardboard over counting-room windows so election watchers could not observe tabulation operations. In Virginia, where there were more votes than registered voters, he noticed that then-Governor Terry McAuliffe refused to allow an investigation.  Virginia’s then-Governor Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, vetoed a bill in 2017 that would have required an investigation whenever a jurisdiction’s voter rolls contained more voters than citizens eligible to vote.”

Murdock recommended several solutions. He said early ballots should be limited to the elderly, sick, infirm, and people who will be out of town on Election Day. “All ballots must be in on Election Day by the time polls close,” he added. He said only U.S. citizens should be allowed to vote, the voter rolls should be cleaned regularly, and photo ID required.

Murdock, who is black, derided the “bigoted, anti-black filth” which claims that blacks are “too stupid” to be get a voter ID. He said he resented President Joe Biden declaring that Republican voter integrity legislation “makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle.” He showed screenshots of voter ID in various other countries, where it is required. He joked that “white nationalists in Ghana require voter ID.”

Murdock said the Democrats complain that Republicans want to “squelch democracy” with their concerns about voter fraud, but then played a long compilation of video clips showing Democrats saying the presidential 2016 election was stolen from Hillary Clinton, asserting Donald Trump was an illegitimate president, and that Russia hacked that election. The video compilation showed that four million Democrats called to overturn the 2016 election, and even Clinton called Trump illegitimate and said the election was stolen. One talk show host warned that the 2016 transition would not be peaceful, and Murdock showed clips of three days of violence in Portland, Oregon after the election.

Herrera opened his portion of the forum, saying, “I simply don’t agree there was widespread voter fraud.” He said the country’s election systems are “pretty good” and Arizona’s are “excellent.” He said he would improve them by “making it easier to vote,” including implementing automatic voter registration. He admitted it was already easy to vote in Arizona due to motor voter laws.

His concern was the “erosion of protections at the federal level.” He said the U.S. Supreme Court has recently chipped away at the Voting Rights Act. He criticized the 2013 SCOTUS case Shelby County v. Holder, which eliminated pre-clearance requirements in that Act. Pre-clearance required several states, mainly located in the South, to obtain federal approval before making changes to their voting laws. While most of the states subject to it had a history of a racist incident or two, Arizona never did, it was simply included because of its large Hispanic population.

Herrera said the only part of the Act left in place is Section 2 prohibiting race discrimination, which was used to challenge Arizona’s ban on ballot harvesting. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich defended the state and won in Brnovich v. DNC . Herrera said he would undo these types of decisions.

Herrera said voter fraud laws are “solutions in search of a problem.” He said the small amount of voter fraud that has occurred in recent years “wouldn’t have affected the outcome of any election.” However, a study of former Senator Al Franken’s race in 2008 found that at least 341 convicted felons illegally voted, and Franken beat his opponent, Senator Norm Coleman, by only 312 votes.

Hererra admitted that election officials in Pennsylvania were found guilty of changing election laws at the last minute due to COVID-19, but blew it off as an aberration. In Arizona, he said the Kraken and Sharpie lawsuits went nowhere.

He said former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes’ attempt to mass-mail ballots to voters who didn’t request them was no big deal either, since Brnovich went to court to stop him. “The system worked and stopped him,” Herrera declared, but didn’t discuss what would have happened if Brnovich hadn’t noticed the illegal activity.

Attorney Roy Herrera

Herrera said he didn’t agree with limiting voting to Election Day since people don’t get the day off. But he did agree with Murdock that only U.S. citizens should vote, that voter rolls should be cleaned, and that Trump legitimately won in 2016.

He objected to voter ID requirements, stating that Native Americans have tribal IDs which don’t have photos on them, and said voter IDs cost $150 to $200. Murdock responded, saying that the Arizona Republican and Democratic Parties should have an outreach program to provide free voter IDs to people.

Hererra dismissed the voter fraud in Yuma County, which was featured in the movie 2000 Mules. He said even if the ballots were illegally harvested or were not improperly filled out, they represented the intent of the voter. However, two of the main activists who exposed the voter fraud in Yuma County, Gary Garcia Snyder and David Lara, said during an interview that the Democratic operatives and nonprofits who collected ballots also told the voters how to vote or filled out their ballots for them.

Hererra said maybe if there were 20 proven instances of voter fraud, that might be enough to arouse some concern. Lara said there are 2,000 to 4,000 fraudulent ballots cast in every election there.

Hererra said hand-counting ballots was unworkable, since it “would need hundreds of thousands of volunteers that don’t exist” and “would take six months.” However, one of the citizen activists who has been working on convincing Arizona counties to hand count ballots, Brian Steiner, figured out how a hand count in Cochise County is workable. That county has decided to hand-count ballots in addition to using electronic voting machine tabulators, and the Cochise County Republican Party found 160 volunteers to assist.

Steiner told The Arizona Sun Times, “[I]f you split those hours by the 160 volunteers, then it would only take 15.63 hours to count all ballots,” he told The Sun Times. “With polling places opening at 6 a.m. until 7 p.m., having results by 10 p.m. that night would be easily achievable, and this could be a great test to only using hand-counting of ballots in the future.” France has about 47.8 million registered voters, hand-counts its presidential elections, and completes the counts within an hour and a half after the polls close, he noted.

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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News NetworkFollow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “ASU Federalist Society Debate” by ASU Federalist Society