Last week, the Associated Press published at least two stories about alleged election conspiracies that seemed to have a purpose of discrediting former President Donald Trump. This kind of reporting from the AP has been taking place for more than a year.

Almost every story will use the term “baseless claims” of election fraud. The stories also will make such judgments as calling these claims “ludicrous” or that they are without merit because almost all the lawsuits have been dismissed. Yet, some of the stories will acknowledge that polls indicate anywhere from 30% to more than half of respondents believe at least some fraud was committed in 2020. Naturally, it is higher among Republicans.

It’s interesting to note that there also are still Democrats claiming Russians interfered with the 2016 election when Mr. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton, but we never see the term “baseless” as an adjective in those stories.

So why is there so much belief that there was fraud if countless stories keep reiterating that these claims are “baseless” and that lawsuits have been dismissed? Maybe because of some observations like these:

Do audits catch all fraud? If they did, why are there so many business and government workers who are able to steal massive amounts of money for years before finally — or never — getting caught?

Tens of thousands of supporters attended rallies for President Trump before the election. Mr. Biden rarely ventured out of his basement. When he did, there was only a handful of people present at his rallies. Yet Mr. Biden received a record number of votes while hardly campaigning?

With COVID-19, there was widespread use of mail-in ballots and votes that were placed in drop boxes. That sounds more like running a high school election for student council, but OK. And then with Mr. Trump winning in state after state on election night, including battleground states, mainstream media — not just Fox News — was reporting that even when all the ballots were counted from drop boxes, it would be difficult for Mr. Biden to overcome President Trump. Then the next day, Americans awoke and were told that Mr. Biden was likely elected president. Huh? The explanation was that there were so many votes in the ballot dumps that propelled Mr. Biden to victory.

The United States of America — which is supposed to be the champion of fair elections and sends diplomats to supervise elections around the world — allowed millions of votes to be counted when most of the country was asleep. What type of democracy does that outside of banana republics?

Americans need to have confidence in their elections. If not, this will fester. It is time to acknowledge that ballot harvesting makes skeptics of otherwise sensible people.

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