In November 2020, the Nevada Republican Party and some prominent conservatives trumpeted the mysterious case of Rosemarie Hartle’s vote in the last presidential election.
The Republican Party cooked up stories about fake votes cast under the names of dead people beginning with then-President Donald Trump to demonstrate that Joe Biden’s victory was compromised.
This is now the end of the Hartle case as its mystery has been solved. In the end, a Republican committed the fraud.
Donald Kirk Hartle, a Republican businessman from Las Vegas, was Hartle’s husband.
According to Hartle’s October 2020 speech with 8 News Now (KLAS-TV), he sensed “disbelief” about the mail-in ballot sent in his late wife’s name.
It was “pretty sickening,” he said at the time that he was unclear how it had happened.
However, a phony ballot was actually cast by Hartle himself.
As a result of Hartle’s plea on Tuesday, he pled guilty to the crime of voting more than once in the same election.
News Now reported that Hartle was caught as a result of his “cheap political stunt.”
The judge said Hartle’s stunt backfired, and that his actions confirmed that the U.S. system of voting actually works.
Certainly. There have been many other instances of this.
In November 2020, Trump highlighted the case of a long-dead Pennsylvania woman whose name was used on a ballot.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the deceased Pennsylvania woman’s son pleaded guilty to casting that vote for Trump, claiming that he had “listened to too much propaganda and made a stupid mistake.”
Overstated or False Claims
There have been a small number of confirmed cases in which ballots have been cast in the names of dead people, and there may be more to come.
Ten “questionable” cases have been referred to law enforcement for investigation by the Nevada secretary of state.
However, Mr. Trump’s claim that thousands of ballots were cast in the names of the deceased in several key states are entirely unfounded; his figures are completely fabricated.
In contrast, some of the ballots the Trump campaign claimed to be fraudulent turned out to be valid ballots cast by living people with the same name as deceased voters.
A small number of crimes have been linked to Republican voters.
An Ohio Republican official forged his father’s signature to cast a ballot under his name; he told NBC News it was an honest mistake and that he was merely carrying out his dying father’s wishes.
In Colorado, a man who had been charged with killing his wife in May 2020, as well as illegally voting for Trump in the November election, was also charged with her murder in 2021.
Agents reported he told them that he made the voting because “all these other guys are cheating”, and his wife would have supported Trump either way.
Hartle’s case is one of a few where it is not known to which presidential candidate the illegal votes were cast.
As a result, there’s no evidence that voting under a dead person’s name is an issue that has influenced the outcome of any state in Biden’s favor, or that the crime is committed highly by Biden voters, or that authorities are generally unaware of it.
“No one claims that voter fraud never occurs. Multiple studies have examined the frequency of voting fraud, and it is extremely rare,” said Paul Gronke, a political science professor and director of the Elections & Voting Information Center at Reed College.
“Voter impersonation fraud particular, which is what Mr. Hartle did when he forged his wife’s name, is even rarer.”
In spite of the possibility that fraudulent voters could sometimes slip past verification systems by committing a felony such as Hartle, “nothing, in this case, is evidence that voting fraud is happening at a level that changes election outcomes.”
CNN has not received a response from the Nevada Republican Party regarding how it brought the Hartle case to the attention of voters last year.
This is not surprising. Trump’s allies were guilty of taking a characteristically Trumpian approach when it came to voter fraud: fling sensational claims out before the facts were established.
In cases where the truth eventually dawns, these allies gently move on to the next overwhelming claim.