A Truly Fancy Bear:
Dale Beran

Dale, I decided to take up your challenge. Fascinating: although in theory it should be easy to get information to analyze, in practice the path to usable data is not so straightforward. The best statistical tests (most powerful, most robust) require raw data. Beautiful maps are wonderful, but I need boring, flat files that use standard units of measurement and decipherable data labels. Percentages are useless because of the ‘percentage of what’ problem (50% of a population of 2 is unimpressive; 50% of a population of a million is simply not comparable). Unlike so many government data sources, (e.g., the many Censuses, FEMA, public health, all of which are free, of very high quality and easy to access — if ponderous in their enormity), hard election data (not opinions, not percentages, not polls, etc.) are hard to come by. That said, I have located what appears to be some detailed, objective data about Wisconsin. I hope to be able to get back to you, once I have gotten everything into a form that will enable me to look into the questions you so appropriately pose. You have done every single voter (or would-be voter) in our country a great service by putting together a fact-based, well-reasoned set of hypothesis. That you recognize the need for testing is utterly refreshing — far too many do not know the difference between a plausible argument and assume that if somethings sounds good, it must be right.

Followup: I found and dove into the data. Meanwhile, this story has — at long last — been taken seriously, and people with the resources to do it justice are on it. Thus, I decided to focus on the absentee ballots in Philadelphia PA, with which my family has painful, personal experience

Many states allow early voting and absentee ballots are paper-only (although one can apply for the ballot online). Here, you have to have an “excuse” to vote by absentee ballot.

Both my son and my daughter applied for absentee ballots — my son goes to college in Indiana and my daughter works in Rome, IT. In both cases, they submitted requests well in advance of the deadline. Neither of them received their ballots, and when they called the Philadelphia City Commissioner’s office (where Republican Al Schmidt is in charge of elections), both were told that they had never submitted these requests. However, on election day, someone submitted a ballot in my son’s name. When he learned of it, he immediately contacted the Department of Justice, the City Commissioner’s office and local election authorities. Did anyone respond? No. A fake vote was filed in my son’s name, by person or persons unknown. He was beside himself — grieving and unable to sleep at the prospect of a Trump presidency. Tuesday was his first chance to vote in a Presidential election.

Here is what the 2016 data show about absentee voting in Philadelphia, wrongly interpreted by Philadelphia Magazine to mean there is a lack of interest in voting among Millennials and African-Americans.

However, the true culprit may be elsewhere:

Absentee Ballot Process
Pennsylvania allows UOCAVA voters to apply for and receive their blank absentee ballots applications via mail, e-mail or facsimile, but requires that the original application also be returned by mail. If the mailed copy of the application isn’t received prior to the election, the voted ballot will not be counted. If the voter does not express a preference with respect to how he or she wants to receive the ballot, the ballot will be mailed. All completed ballots must be returned by mail. According to the Secretary of State, “[t]he electronic transmission of a voted absentee ballot from the elector to the county board of elections would violate the Pennsylvania constitutional requirement for secrecy of the ballot” as well as “several sections of the Pennsylvania Election Code.” Two of the counties surveyed confirmed that the foregoing reflects actual practice, and the third confirmed it in part but reported that the e-mail portal through which blank ballots may be applied for and delivered to UOCAVA voters “has never worked.” (Source: Counting the Vote)

The 2016 election was clearly compromised on many levels. Per Alex Haldeman, only a manual recount conducted by human beings, will suffice. The integrity of the vote should be inviolable. Otherwise, this is no democracy and our children will have no reason to place faith in elections.