No, CNN, Trump Was Right - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
No, CNN, Trump Was Right
Former President Donald Trump and CNN’s Kaitlan Collins during May 10’s Republican town hall (spence/YouTube)

The other day, former President Donald Trump sat down with CNN’s Kaitlan Collins for a town hall. When he brought up the idea that the 2020 election was rigged, Collins interrupted to say: “The election was not rigged, Mr. President. You can’t keep saying that all night long.”

Hello? There is way too much chapter and detailed verse out there to illustrate that Collins is quite vividly wrong.

But in this space today, let’s focus on another election altogether — an election that all by itself illustrates that right here in my own Commonwealth of Pennsylvania there is a serious problem with election integrity.

The election in question was not in 2020 but rather just last year, in 2022. The quite specific location of this problem? Luzerne County. For non-Pennsylvanians, the most familiar parts of Luzerne would be the cities of Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton.

At the center of the controversy is a lawsuit filed against Luzerne County, the Luzerne County Board of Elections and Registration, and the Luzerne County Bureau of Elections. The suit has been filed by two plaintiffs: county residents William French and Melynda Anne Reese. The attorney handling the suit is Wally Zimolong. Wally is a veteran trial lawyer, a conservative’s conservative, and he is ranked as one of the “Top 100 lawyers in Pennsylvania shaping state and national policy.” He is also an active member of the Republican National Lawyers Association and the Federalist Society.

Which is to say, Wally Zimolong has been around the block in terms of Pennsylvania elections. And he knows that what went on in Luzerne County in 2022 smells to high heaven.

Right off the bat, the suit states that on Nov. 8, 2022 — Election Day — “voters in Luzerne County through no fault of their own, were disenfranchised and denied the fundamental right to vote.”  It goes on:

Administration of the 2022 General Election in Luzerne County was a catastrophic failure. On Election Day, voters, like plaintiffs, arrived at polling places to learn that polling places lacked paper ballots making it impossible for them to vote….

The chaos on Election Day was entirely preventable and predictable. Defendants caused plaintiffs’ right to vote to be violated because they failed to perform their most basic and obvious duties under the Pennsylvania Election Code, including their duties to properly equip and supply polling places, implement effective back-up procedures, and to train election workers.

The essence? There were not enough paper ballots. (!!) And as a result, voters were denied their right to vote.

You read that right.

According to Pennsylvania election law:

[Polling places] were required to supply each polling place with a number of paper ballots equal to the number of registered voters in the election district who could vote at the polling place. The Pennsylvania Election Code also required that … the Board of Elections offices [maintain] a sufficient number [of] “backup” paper ballots for polling places to use. Defendants failed to fulfill these well-established and obvious duties.

This failure occurred in at least 40 voting districts, Wally tells me. Say again, 40. And — surprise, surprise! — those districts were in Republican areas.

Curiously? This is a district that had Donald Trump beating Joe Biden in 2020 — the latter famously of neighboring Scranton in Lackawanna County. Yet Trump beat Biden like a drum by over 14 points.  But in 2022, Republican congressional candidate Jim Bognet lost a supposedly winnable race against incumbent Democrat Matt Cartwright.

Hmmm. No problems here. Just move along.

With the House back in Republican hands, this curiosity caught the attention of the GOP majority. In March, the now Republican-led House Administration Committee held a hearing on the Luzerne County fiasco. They pointed to this incident as — you guessed it — “voter suppression.”

The Pennsylvania Capital-Star’s John L. Micek headlined this of that House hearing:

Few answers in U.S. House hearing on Pa. county’s Election Day ballot paper shortage

‘The Luzerne County administration has done everything in their power to avoid responsibility,’ former GOP congressional candidate Jim Bognet said

Micek reported:

“Today, we’re working to bring transparency and accountability to the citizens of Luzerne County, who were failed by their local officials … and to prevent it from ever happening again,” the panel’s chairperson, U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wisc., said….

Bognet accused county officials, who skipped Tuesday’s hearing on the advice of legal counsel in the midst of an unfolding investigation, of trying to cover-up unspecified malfeasance, and of trying to duck responsibility for the Election Day meltdown that saw some voters leave the polls and not come back, while others filled out provisional ballots in the midterm contests.

All of which is to say that there is reason aplenty for Republicans to suspect deliberate election malfeasance in Luzerne County.

Yet the subject of election integrity — and the lack thereof — in either Luzerne County in 2022 or in Pennsylvania in 2020 never came up in the CNN interview. What Kaitlan Collins did was simply insist that the former president was wrong to talk about a stolen election. The Washington Post reported it this way:

“The election was not rigged, Mr. President,” Collins said. “You can’t keep saying that all night long.”

Newsflash? Collins clearly has no idea what she is talking about. I have long ago detailed in this space the repeatedly documented voter fraud in Pennsylvania elections alone over the years. This is called a pattern:

In the 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, and 2008 elections, not to mention back there in the dinosaur age of 1994, there were repeated examples of voter fraud in Pennsylvania. All seriously documented.

And as has been repeatedly detailed in books on the 2020 election — like Mollie Hemingway’s Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections; The Parallel Election: A Blueprint for Deception by Gregory Stenstrom and Leah Hoopes; and Stealing Your Vote: The Inside Story of the 2020 Election and What It Means for 2024 by Christina Bobb — there is documented chapter and verse about the rigging of the 2020 election in Pennsylvania.

Yet not withstanding all of that, there is the Washington Post trumpeting this:

“The election was not rigged, Mr. President,” Collins said. “You can’t keep saying that all night long.”

But he did. As Trump made unfounded claims about the 2020 election, Collins interrupted him and said, “Mr. President, I have to stop you there because there is no evidence of that.”

But put aside the documented facts of a rigged 2020 election that Collins and her “mainstream media” colleagues choose to ignore.

Move on to 2022 in Luzerne County. Will CNN be covering? Will, for that matter, the Washington Post be investigating? Will either do a deep dive into Pennsylvania’s long and sordid history of rigged elections, one that gives Republicans every reason to be suspicious of what happened in Luzerne County?

To pick but one example of how this problem of election integrity in Pennsylvania works, here is a story, reported by no less than the New York Times way back there in 1994, that says this:

Saying Philadelphia’s election system had collapsed under “a massive scheme” by Democrats to steal a State Senate election in November, a Federal judge today took the rare step of invalidating the vote and ordered the seat filled by the Republican candidate.

In making such a sweeping move, the judge, Clarence C. Newcomer of Federal District Court here, did for the Republicans what the election had not: enable them to regain control of the State Senate, which they lost two years ago.

Judge Newcomer ruled that the Democratic campaign of William G. Stinson had stolen the election from Bruce S. Marks in North Philadelphia’s Second Senatorial District through an elaborate fraud in which hundreds of residents were encouraged to vote by absentee ballot even though they had no legal reason — like a physical disability or a scheduled trip outside the city — to do so.

With a history like that in Pennsylvania — and, as mentioned, there are plenty of other examples — Luzerne County Republicans have every reason to believe that the House hearing was correctly titled: “Government Voter Suppression in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.”

Will anything come of this?

Stay tuned. The lawsuit over the 2022 government malfeasance in Luzerne County proceeds.

And should.

Because yes, Ms. Collins, in fact, elections in Pennsylvania have been rigged before. And choosing to deny it on CNN won’t work anymore.


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Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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