Idaho’s smackdown of an election conspiracy theory

The election conspiracies are absurd, and the people promoting them are crazy. It’s time to say so.

Take, for example, Idaho, a deep-red state that voted 2-to-1 for Trump. That didn’t stop conspiracy promoters from claiming the vote tallies in all 44 counties were electronically manipulated, which in turn led to numerous threats against county clerks by the credulous morons who read this stuff on the internet, believe it, and then threaten criminal violence against innocent public officials who are only doing their jobs.

Those people should be hunted, arrested, prosecuted, and locked up — but I digress. The focus of this article is their childish stupidity and complete inability to process simple facts.

The question is this: How do you electronically manipulate votes in counties that have no electronic voting equipment, where everything is done manually? The answer is: You can’t. And if you need more than 3 seconds to come to that conclusion, you’re stupid.

Idaho’s secretary of state, Lawrence Denny, a Republican (there are no Democrats holding state offices in Idaho), received complaints from people who sopped up conspiracy promoter Mike Lindell’s baseless claims of “electronic manipulation” of Idaho’s vote tallies.

First of all, Trump won Idaho, so if you’re a Trump supporter, what’s the point of questioning Idaho’s election results? Your candidate got Idaho’s electoral votes, so why are you beating this horse?

But that aside, the problem is, “At least seven of Idaho’s 44 counties do not use any electronic steps in their vote-counting process, making the claims impossible,” The Hill says (here). “Those counties, all small rural areas, still count ballots by hand, bypassing electronics or machines altogether. That process is feasible because there are so few ballots cast.”

The misinformation Lindell’s readers relied on included things like “geolocations of IP addresses.” There wouldn’t, of course, be any of those where paper ballots are counted by hand and no computers are used to tally them. But aside from the impossibility of those IP addresses even existing, the “latitudes and longitudes” given would “place servers on the tops of mountains.”

That doesn’t stop people from believing it anyway.

If you want an explanation, you have to delve into the realm of psychology. You must begin with the fact that although human beings are capable of rational thought, that doesn’t mean they’re thinking rationally. Some people believe things, however implausible, because they have a psychological need to believe them. This stems from a conscious unwillingness (usually) or emotional inability (less often) to accept reality.

This state of mind is commonly called “denial” or “denialism.” It’s seen, for example, among dying Covid-19 patients who refuse to believe they have Covid-19 (see, e.g., this story). For a lot of people, it seems, Trump losing the election is akin to contracting a deadly virus. (In truth, a Biden presidency is statistically more survivable than getting Covid-19.)

There’s no reasoning with these people. Instead, all you can do is help them work through the five stages of grief. Many are still stuck in the denial and anger stages, while those contacting Mr. Denny and other election officials appear to be entering the bargaining phase; there’s not much evidence of depression setting in yet, although that will come as Biden remains in office; but by all outward appearances, many will never reach the acceptance stage.

Who cares? That’s their problem.

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  1. Mark Adams #

    It is Idaho and it has been a long hot summer and the winter snows cannot come early enough. Even the Democratic sections of
    idaho are a bit strange, and there are some areas of high union support in the state. Thn there are areas of high Mormon populations and influence. Much of the state is Federal lands and wilderness.

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