Election Integrity and Voter Fraud Expert John Fund
Jerry speaks with John Fund, one of the nation’s foremost experts on election integrity and voter fraud.
Jerry Ewalt: Welcome to the FIRST RIGHT PODCAST, a weekly conservative news show brought to you by Restoration of America. I’m Jerry Ewalt, Chief Marketing Officer of Restoration of America.: Today we are blessed to have John Fund, who is one of nation’s true experts on election integrity. John is a longtime journalist and author who lived through the “hanging chads” 2000 election and watched closely the controversial 2020 election. His new book spells out what he’s learned about the vulnerabilities of our election system. you so much.
John Fund: It's a pleasure to address your audience because I know they're interested as I am, and you are in making sure that America stands by its constitutional principles.
Jerry Ewalt: That's right. Especially when it comes to election integrity, which I, I understand you're one of the original you've been doing this for decades.
John Fund: Well, actually my new book, our broken elections, how the left changed, the way you vote is my fifth book in this series. I've been on this lemonade stand talking about this issue since 2000, which was the famous bushy go recount in Florida.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah, let let's, let's start there because you know, we, we, we often forget about the past and that everyone's focused on what happened in 2020 and, and what's gonna happen moving forward. But I mean, you you've been very much engaged down in Florida in, in 2000. Can you share how, what it was like to be part of that experience?
John Fund: Well, the Florida election did have some very disturbing anomalies. Some of which were based in the incompetence and the primitive nature of the election system and some verged on outright manipulation and fraud. The biggest message of my books is that there's a, there's something in between people who say everything is voter fraud, everything is manipulated. And those who say it doesn't exist. It's as rare as a shark attack. And my position is at certain places where there's a notorious history of voter fraud in certain races where it's perceived to be close. And therefore it makes a wise investment to manipulate the vote. And in certain times you will see fraud, but the majority of time, you can't always tell where the incompetence ends and where the fraud begins, because some of our parts of our country have the slop election systems of any industrialized democracy, some work very well, but we are a decentralized federal country with 3,100 counties and everyone is different and everyone is a different story to tell.
So in Florida, what I found was the, you know, the famous butterfly ballot, your, your viewers might want to recall that the ballot was designed very badly. They were hanging Chad. So you couldn't tell if somebody punched through all the way, there was also a question of where Al Gore's the place for him to people to vote for him was too close to that for pat Buchanan. But there were also other things that happened. It turned out that yes, a few hundred people were denied the right to vote because they were incorrectly put at a list of felons who hadn't gotten their rights restored, but far more, about 1500 people voted and they weren't eligible to vote because they were felons who had not restored their rights. And as a result, you know, the result was 531 votes. That's what decided the presidency, right? But Al gore per pioneered, what I think sometimes Donald Trump is guilty of which is selectively cherry picking some of the facts and basically going with a theory that hasn't been fully baked in the oven.
Jerry Ewalt: So, so is this, this is an example of incompetence in your opinion, or was this truly voter fraud
John Fund: In Florida? Yeah, I think that it was primarily incompetence. That's why we passed the bipartisan help America vote act the next year. That was the last bipartisan piece of legislation. The premise of that was we were gonna make it easy to vote. Everyone should have the right to vote. No one should be intimidated. All of the gains that we've made in the civil rights act and the voting rights act should be preserved and extended. We need to make sure people aren't barred from voting artificially. At the same time, people have a right to be protected from somebody canceling out their vote. If you vote right. If anyone in your audience votes and their vote is canceled out by someone who shouldn't be voting someone, who's dead, someone who's moved out of state. Someone who is only address is a parking lot. Someone who is standing in for someone else pretending to be that person, someone who's filling in a fraudulent absentee ballot. If they do that, they've canceled out your vote as effectively as if they had prevented you from voting by standing in the polling play door. So everyone in your audience has a right to vote, but also a right to make sure their vote is valid and not canceled out.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah. And I think that's, that's key. Right? So here at restoration of America, we have an organization called voter reference foundation. And that's exactly what we're trying to do. We're trying to get the voter rolls, put out into public so that everyone, every citizen can go ahead and audit their own voter record to make sure that, you know, if you vote once it counts once, right. If you're not allowed to vote that vote, shouldn't count to your point. We don't want that canceled out. So that, that is something that we've been looking into. I mean, what are your thoughts on, on the voter roles?
John Fund: Well, I've met some of the people involved in your organization, especially the lady from Arizona and I've commend the effort. The left has always wanted to keep the voter rolls, sloppy, loosey goosey, not accurate. I mean, no marketer would ever use a voter registration role to try to reach customers. The pew research center, which is a liberal foundation found a few years ago that between 15 and 20% of the registrations nationwide were invalid, outdated or not usable. So if you look at some states like North Carolina, it's far higher, although that number has finally come down, they, the help America vote act, which I mentioned earlier, did have a provision, which said, if we're gonna send money to the states to clean up their voting systems and provide them with better machines, they have a right. They have a responsibility to clean up their voter roles.
And most of them didn't do that. Right? Most of them basically kept the old systems and kept the old procedures in which they would never remove voters from their roles. It got so bad in California, that judicial watch, which is a public interest legal firm. Yeah. Had Sue Los Angeles county, the largest county in the country, 10 million people live there and basically say, you haven't cleaned up your voter rolls in over 20 years. Finally, a couple years ago, they got a settlement from Los Angeles, turned out that something like close to 2 million people are being removed from the rolls there because there's, they're Deadwood. They haven't voted in 15 years. They've moved out of state. People can't find them. They've never voted, but they obviously could vote. If somebody wanted to go and find their name and vote in their, in their absence. And as a result, we have the worst voter roles of any industrialized democracy.
No one keeps records as badly as we do. That's why the effort that you mentioned nationwide of trying to get states, to be able to communicate with each other, share voter registration information, find out who might be voting twice in a different state. Somebody has moved out of state. That's so valuable because with that kind of information, we can stop these problems before they actually happen. And the one thing we learned in the 2020 election, this is a key point in my book. If you don't address it before the election, it's too late, you cannot prove the fraud sufficient and convince the court to, to do something about it, to throw out an election, unless you've taken the legal steps. And it compiled the legal record before the election and basically stopped it before it ever started. The problem I had with president Trump's lawyers, original lawyers was they didn't drop the ball and everybody agrees. They dropped the ball before the 2020 election. They were not properly prepared to combat the tsunami of mail and ballot. And as a result, after the election, they were playing catch up. And the not of time between that and when the president is inaugurated, simply wasn't enough to build a record that you could prove in court, what manipulations occurred.
Jerry Ewalt: Why, why, why do you think that is? Why, why wasn't I, I know the president was warned. Why, why weren't they prepared to do this? They didn't think it was gonna be such a big deal or what, what are your thoughts on that?
John Fund: I have a two word answer. Jared Kushner,
Jared Kushner was the president's son-in-law. He sat at the president's right hand for a lot of the four years of his term. And the president had a very benign forgiving view of him. He basically made him a de facto campaign manager for the 2020 election. There was a real campaign manager named Brad Parscale, who got people I know into the white house to meet with Jared Kushner, to warn him after the COVID hit, the left is gonna use COVID as a pretext to issue emergency decrees from health officials, from governors. We haven't consulted legislatures to change the law. And they're going to steamroll over you. Kushner took careful notes. He seemed to pay attention. And he said he would get back to people he never did. So, and by the way, the campaign manager who brought this to his attention was fired a few weeks later, almost as if he was being punished for disturbing. Mr. Kushner's right. Serenity. So look, Jared Kushner was a big problem in the Trump administration. You know, he was a Democrat, as far as I know, he's still a Democrat. So is Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter. I think that Donald Trump did a lot of good. He had a lot of good policies, but he had some of the worst personnel choices. And, and if any president, you don't hire your relatives for the white house cuz you can't fire them.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah. Well I was gonna say, you know, Trump's originally famous for firing people, but you're telling me he couldn't fire Jared Kushner.
John Fund: Yeah. It's hard to fire family. Isn't it?
Jerry Ewalt: It is. It is so, so, but you know, none of this would've been an issue, right? If we would've cleaned up the voter rolls. So, so John, what the American people, they wanna know, why don't we clean up the voter rolls? Why does California allow this to happen? Or any state out there? What, why can't we do it?
vernment has the right to sue states that don't clean up their voter rolls after a certain period of time. The problem was as soon as Barack Obama became president in 2008, all of that stopped in one of my books. I quote Julie Fernandez, who was a top official in the Obama justice department telling her career lawyers. We are never going to file lawsuits to ask states to clean up their voter rolls because we are all about increasing the vote totals, not ever decreasing them, even if the people were on the voter rolls, don't exist or are eligible to vote. And the Trump administration was slow to the task. They basically played catch up. They didn't do nearly as much as they should have. And of course the Biden administration has shown precisely zero interest in pursuing this issue. Now having said that there have been some private lawsuits, like the one I mentioned by initial watch and others that have forced states to clean up the voter rolls because it's a clear requirement under federal law. That's right. But the enforcement has to be because of the current administration has to be through private actions and with data improved, like the ones that you have done through restoration.
Jerry Ewalt: No, I, I, I you're right on with that. And, and I, I do wanna touch on the future, but before we do that, you mentioned your book a a few times and you, you wrote five on election integrity. So your latest book is our broken elections. How the left changed, the way you vote. Tell us the pre premise of this book.
John Fund: The premise of the book, as I indicated a little earlier is the 2020 election. If you're a supporter of Donald Trump was frankly lost in March and April of that year because the states that were very close, but, and had some democratic influence were able to change the laws or forced court settlements out of court to allow a massive flow of mail I balance, which had never been seen before. Yeah. Mail in ballots, absentee ballots are fine. If there's a legitimate reason, you don't want them to predominate or swamp the election officials because a they not equipped to do that. They're $12 an hour clerks that they hire temporarily to process these ballots and the signatures, frankly, aren't gonna do a very good job. They're not trained in this. So the only way they could process all of these ballots. So they claimed was by basically eliminating most of the oversight, basically rushing people through looking at the signatures, if there's signature verification machines, as there're in some place, turning down the level of scrutiny or sophistication on the machine from let's say an eight to a two has happened in Las Vegas.
And as a result, many of these Mailin ballots may have been invalid. They may have been let through when they shouldn't have been. Yeah, but once the Mailin ballot comes before the clerk, it comes in a two part waits. In most cases, there's the ballot. And then there's the verification that shows this is the voter. And this is the proof that they are in a registered voter. Well, once the ballot is counted, the ballot is separated. The actual ballot goes in with all the other ballots that came in for the election. And the verification goes off to one side. You can't put the two together again. So that presents an enormous amount of mischief, potential, almost an great invitation to game the system. Now we can't prove that in most, in almost all cases, because you know, after this happens, you can't put two, you know, you can't put two and two together again.
So to the Trump voters, I say, there's a lot of things you should be upset about, but we need to focus on how to stop this in the future. Yeah. And many states 32 states for example, have ban Zucker bucks, which were these private foundation monies that came into local election officials and basically told them if you do certain things to boost the vote, almost always in democratic areas, we're gonna give you a bunch of money. There's been enormous progress since 2020, we need to keep up that progress. But if you're fighting the old battles of 2020, or if you're as president Trump saying, this election should be thrown out immediately and I should be reinstalled in office immediately, a that's not realistic. Yeah. To Be that doesn't help the situation because it just sounds as if he's, you know, in his practicing politics of grievance rather than telling us, should he run for present again, what he wants to do?
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah, no, I know it's we, we, again, we need to learn from the past, but we can't focus on the past. We have to learn from what happened and, and move forward with it. So, so let let's expand on that. So we, we have 20, we have midterm elections coming up. Now we have, you know, obviously the big election in 2024 of presidential election, have we, have we learned enough of what happened? That's a, and then B, have we put in place the right stop gap measures to make sure that fraud doesn't happen again?
John Fund: Well, first the good news COVID is mostly in the rear of your mirror. So most of these emergency regulations that allowed all of these Mailin ballots to come in, have collapsed. That's a good thing. Two, some states have tightened up the scrutiny on Mailin ballots. They've required people to put in the last four digits of their social security number or their driver's license number as better a verification, some states still require notaries to sign the absentee ballot. Some states have moved to early voting rather than Mailin voting. And that's a big difference. Mailin voting is where you send the ballot in that can lead to ballot harvesting where people go door to door. After the ballots are mailed out and they help people fill out the vote, or they encourage them to fill out the vote in a certain way. Early voting takes place under the supervision of government workers
And it takes place in a county courthouse or school or some other place where there's a temporary election office set up and you have to vote in secret. Your privacy is protected. There's nobody who can enter the voting booth, worse you or intimidate you as could happen if some right, a mail in ball, eyes on your kitchen table and your spouse or somebody else wants to pressure you. So mail early voting. Although I don't think it should be too early. Early voting is a whole lot better than Mailin voting in. Some states have moved away from and voting to more early voting.
Jerry Ewalt: So it sounds to me, you know, look, we're always looking for hope, right? There's always hope. And, and I'd like to what I'm hearing from you is saying, we've learned a lot and now we've put some measures in place that will make it better. Right. We know there's always gonna be some level of cheating and things that go. I mean, that, that just, that happens. There's incompetence as you've already brought up, but we have, we have made significant changes to give us some hope that we will have a more transparency and, and fair election coming up.
John Fund: Yes. But it varies a lot from state to state. Yeah. California is the worst. The heritage foundation where Hans von Spakovsky, my co-author works has developed an index rating. Every state on the credibility, honesty and integrity of its election processes. Yeah. California, along with Hawaii and Nevada and other places are pretty far down the list. That's a bottom. California is the only state, for example, that makes it illegal for you to ask if you're an election official, ask a voter in front of you for an ID. Now most states
Jerry Ewalt: Is that racist. Is, is that why it's racist or something?
John Fund: Well, well look, I don't wanna speculate what the motive will be. I know, but let's just say some people don't want us to know what's going on behind the curtain. I know, I know to raise the wizard of Oz, let's just say this about 18 states don't require any form of ID. Only California makes it illegal to even ask for one. So California is a BA case and that can only be solved perhaps by a voter initiative. New York state is also a bad basket case. There's we had an election commissioner in New York, the democratic election commissioner for Manhattan admit a couple of years ago to James OIF for project Veritas. That of course there's a lot of voter fraud. They bus people around every day on election and elections and, you know, get them to vote over and over again. And you know, he was a Democrat. He was probabl44 y fired by the mayor, by the way, immediately bill, mayor de Blasio, but fired,
Jerry Ewalt: But then rehired somewhere else. And he's probably doing fine right
John Fund: Now. No, no, no, no. He was, he, he, he did not, he was not on script. He was not on message. He got cammed period. And he hasn't been heard from since, but New York voters are very understanding of the problems in New York. The legislature put three ballot measures last November on the ballot to basically create a much weaker voter integrity system for Mailin ballots to make it much to have same day voter registration, and also to make it easier for the legislature to gerrymander congressional and other district lines, New York state voters, including many voters in New York city voted that down. So the voters get this, but they often can't get their elected officials to act on this. So yes, things are better. But in states like Illinois states like Maryland states like New York or California, we're still back in the dark ages of voter transparency and voter integrity.
So those states are probably gonna have to be sued either by the federal government at a new administration or by these private parties like judicial watch or the public interest legal foundation, which is doing excellent work in this area in suing states and forcing them to, to for example, public interest legal foundation has a great program. Here's one way you can prove that there's voter fraud potentially out there. Lots of people get driver's licenses in states where you can get a driver's license, but you don't have to be a citizen. Well, you have to be a citizen to vote. So it turns out that because you know, the driver's license bureau, they're not very careful. A lot of people show end up with a driver's license and they think they have the right to vote, or they're told they have the right to vote, but they really don't.
So what public interest legal foundation does, it goes into states like Pennsylvania or New Jersey and says, we want the list of people of who have voted or are the voter rolls. And we also want the list of people who have been contacted for jury duty and they respond, well, I can't be brought in as a juror because I'm not a citizen. Clearly one of those problem, there's a problem there one way or the other either you're not a citizen and you shouldn't be other voter registration roles or you're on the voter registration roles and you're not a citizen.
Jerry Ewalt: Okay. That, that makes a lot of sense. I didn't even realize that was an issue, but that makes sense.
John Fund: And by the way, every time this happens, they usually find in a large county, they find hundreds and hundreds of people in Fairfax county, Virginia, which is very diverse. They found hundreds of people who had asked to have their voter registration records cleansed because they were about to become citizens. That didn't want that on their record, that they had violated the law by registering to vote. Wow. Some of those people had done it in such a way. They were worthy of prosecution that was sent to the local prosecutors who were Democrats, nothing was ever done about that.
Jerry Ewalt: Wow. Yeah. I mean, that's that, that, that's, that's very interesting. I, I didn't even know something like that, but, but you know, the more you dig into this, the more you find out that there's, I call it death by a thousand paper cuts. Right? There's you, can't, it's hard to pinpoint one thing. I mean, you could say mail and ballots. I know that's a major one, but there's so many other issues and it varies state to state. And there's just so many things that get you in the end. No,
John Fund: On one level, I agree with you because we have 3000 counties on the other level. There's some basic principles, clean voter registration roles. Like you describe listen, the people who often run these very liberal states, the last thing they want is a clean voter registration role because it makes it a lot harder to do any mischief. If there's a close race and you're desperate at the end. So what your, your work is extremely important. Secondly, voter ID, we ask for voter ID for everything. And some people say, oh yes, but you know, voting is a constitutional, right? So therefore we can't ask for voter ID. Well, marriage is a constitutional right. We have laws that say that anyone can get married, you know, straight or gay. And you know what, in every state they require vote, they require a PI photo ID to marry, to get married.
Well, we obviously should have a photo ID to vote. And people who say we don't should ask, be asked why in the world, do you support ID for everyone and net not for voting. And by the way, if there is someone who doesn't have a photo ID, let's get them one rather than spend money on lawsuits, fighting voter ID laws, let's spend the money going, reaching out to people, having mobile vans show up at shopping centers at other places, getting people at free photo ID so they can vote. No, there are people who claim that some people don't have voter IDs, but they don't want to do anything to actually get them those voter IDs, because they want to keep the issue alive.
Jerry Ewalt: Well, I mean, this all goes back to your original point, right? Where you said, if I am allowed to vote legally allowed to vote, then I want my vote to count. And I don't want it. It canceled out by either someone who's not allowed to vote or my vote gets lost and things like that. So I mean, common sense. Things like voter ID make a lot of sense.
John Fund: And the reason why, and the reason why this is important is if we don't improve the election system, we will breed cynicism, anger, and even, you know, deep resentment that the government, you know, if we're going to be governed in a Republic, people have to have confidence that the government is legitimate. They have to have confidence that the people elected to serve actually won. And the Supreme court is unanimously ruled in an Arizona case that the widespread perception that the government is not paying attention to voter integrity and whether or not the ballots are counted properly or cast properly can lead to lower voter turnout. Yes, lower participation in our political process, growing cynicism and growing resistance to legitimate government activities and legitimate government officials. And that's something that has to be handled. It's it's preventative measures. You know, we, we should guard our ballots the way we guard the golden Fort Knox golden Fort Knox is there to preserve our monetary system. The ballots are there to preserve our democratic system. Both are protected. We wouldn't leave the doors open at Fort Knox.
Jerry Ewalt: Well, look, I, I think I, I think you bring up a really good point and I, I just, you know, we, we hear that in 2020, it was the most secure election ever, right? And, and when, when net gets repeated over and over again, and every day we're get hearing more and more about the bleeding voter rolls, inaccuracy, things like that. Then it, it destroys confidence in our country. And then you hear people. So why should I vote? It's not gonna count. Anyway.
John Fund: It also, well, it, first of all, the vast majority of places do run clean elections. The problem is if it's known where an election is going to be very close, the swing state of Georgia and Arizona, Nevada, those are places where at the end of the election, people can be tempted. And if the rules aren't set and aren't enforced properly, you can have hanky Pany at the end. Most elections are valid. Most elections don't involve a lot of fraud. Although there are some places that have a long tradition of it. I give you Chicago and Philadelphia. The, the thing that burns me up about people who claimed this was 2020 was the most secure election in history that all stems from one guy who was in the federal government, who ran a crypto currency. And, you know, basically a digital security system that had nothing to do with voting.
He was a federal official charged with making sure that certain digital systems work properly. He didn't have election experience. He wasn't in charge of any elections. He basically said that off the top of his head, he had no special knowledge about that. He's been quoted by the media and frankly, the media's discredited in, in a large sense in this area because they keep quoting people who don't know what they're talking about. Yeah. And keep ignoring people who do know what they're talking about. And so that statement is not only preposterous, but frankly really is a disservice to the people who use that quote.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah, no, John we're look, we're, we're grateful for all the work that you've been putting in five books, decades worth of experience here. If there's anything that you wanna leave the audience with. I mean, what can the everyday citizen do here?
John Fund: Well, first of all, my co-author Hanson Makowski has an excellent website at the heritage foundation. Just go to the heritage.org. And you will find a list of almost 2000 voter fraud cases where people were convicted of voter fraud. That puts the lie to the fact that, you know, some people say there is no voter fraud. It has papers on everything from rank choice voting, which is a growing threat to our democratic processes, to absentee ballots. And there's a wealth of information there and also articles that he and I have co-authored in addition, you know, pole Watchers, the average pole worker, I should say is now over 70 years old, think about volunteering for pole worker duty, not just pole watcher, we're gonna have a lot of those. I think the poll worker duty that will increase confidence in the elections that people from all sides of the spectrum are involved in the process. In addition, we need to probably have a national program where college and high school students who are about to turn 18 can get credit. And by working at the polls, let's train a new generation to poll workers, to replace the generation that's, you know, retiring out. And also not as technologically sophisticated can't handle the poll books and the other new technology necessarily as well as young people, as we all know, you know, if you want your computer to be programmed, you know, get a six year old to do it.
Jerry Ewalt: That's, that's so true. Well, John, this has been great. I, I really appreciate you coming on. And again, for everything that you've been doing, keep up some good fight. And thank
John Fund: You. Book is our broken elections, how the left changed, the way you vote and Amazon is, has a good writeup on it. And I really appreciate the time with your viewers on this. Thank you.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah. Thanks again, John, take care. Thanks. Well, right. Well, that's our show for today and thank you so much for tuning in and supporting conservative media. Don't ever forget that by working together and staying diligent, we conservatives can bring our country back to true greatness. Until next week, let's all keep praying that God will continue to bless America
First Right. A new kind of new summary without the liberal slant. Every morning in your inbox. Always free. Subscribe by texting first, right to 30161 that's FirstRight All caps. One word to 30161.