AG Barr can take the heat
Bill Barr can take the heat and on Tuesday the stalwart Attorney General guaranteed he’ll get it when he said “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election.”
Mr. Barr told the Associated Press that allegations of “particularized” fraud, with some that “potentially cover a few thousand votes,” are being explored. But President Trump is down by 150,000 votes in Michigan, 80,000 in Pennsylvania, and 20,000 in Wisconsin. As for the idea that voting machines were compromised, Mr. Barr said the feds “have looked into that, and so far, we haven’t seen anything to substantiate that.”
• “Ballot dumps”: It’s being painted as suspicious that big batches of votes were reported in the early hours of Nov. 4. To take Wisconsin: Mr. Trump complained in a tweet that Joe Biden got “a dump of 143,379 votes at 3:42AM.” But the explanation is prosaic: Contemporaneous reporting says this is when Milwaukee’s central counting location finished with roughly 170,000 mail ballots. They included votes for both candidates but broke heavily for Mr. Biden.
The timing is unfortunate, but Wisconsin law doesn’t let counties process absentee ballots until Election Day, unlike states that reported early, including Florida. Still, the margin in Milwaukee County doesn’t look crazy: Mr. Biden won 69 percent to 29 percent, compared with Hillary Clinton’s victory of 65 percent to 29 percent. As a share of Wisconsin’s vote total, Milwaukee County fell to 13.9 percent, from 14.8 percent. A recount finished last week increased Milwaukee’s tally by only 382 votes.
The same goes for Michigan, which reported a similar batch of ballots in the wee hours of Nov. 4. State law says mail votes can’t be processed until one day before the election.
Where Mr. Biden shined was the suburbs. To take Pennsylvania, he won Philadelphia with 81 percent to 18 percent, notably worse than Mrs. Clinton’s 83 percent to 15 percent. Meantime, Philly shrank to 10.7 percent of the state total, from 11.6 percent. But look at the surrounding areas: Mr. Biden beat Mrs. Clinton’s share by 3.1 points in Bucks County, 3.4 in Delaware County, and 3.7 in Montgomery County.
• Vote totals: “I got 74 million votes, the largest in the history of a sitting president,” Mr. Trump said Sunday. It’s 11 million more than in 2016. Yet he lost to Mr. Biden, who Mr. Trump said “did not get 16 million more votes than Barack Hussein Obama.”
What’s unbelievable? The electorate grows. Since 2012, the voting-eligible population has risen by 17 million, according to estimates by the U.S. Elections Project. Turnout in 2020 was historic, helped by expanded absentee voting.
• Dominion: On Sunday, Mr. Trump called Dominion voting systems, used in dozens of states, “garbage machinery.” But the totals from Georgia’s hand recount closely matched the results from its scanners. How does Mr. Trump explain that?
Fighting such claims is like whack-a-mole. No, Pennsylvania didn’t count more mail votes than it sent out. No, Wisconsin didn’t have 89 percent turnout. No, several states didn’t simultaneously quit counting ballots on election night. No, ballots in Arizona filled out with Sharpie markers weren’t discounted. In an election with 155 million votes, there are no doubt irregularities and maybe some fraud. But for Mr. Trump to win the Electoral College, he’d need to flip tens of thousands of votes in multiple states.
We’re open to evidence of major fraud, but we haven’t seen claims that are credible. Now comes Mr. Barr, who has no reason to join a coverup. He likes his job. He wanted Mr. Trump to win. As the election timetable closes, Mr. Trump should focus on preserving his legacy rather than diminishing it by alleging fraud he can’t prove.
* Guest editorial is from the Wall Street Journal, New York, N.Y.