by Max Brantley
“Look, I don’t know how many different voters voted illegally, but I do know that they exist,” Sanders told MSNBC. “In my home state of Arkansas, there was a judge that was caught with I think roughly 180 ballots sitting on his kitchen table, so to pretend like voter fraud isn’t something real and doesn’t exist is laughable.”
There is no evidence anywhere of Sanders’ story about the Arkansas judge. What it seems she may have been referring to was a story about 160 absentee ballots in Hot Springs, Arkansas that hadn’t yet been counted the day after the election. They weren’t on a kitchen table; they were in the vault where they were supposed to be. They never went uncounted, and they didn’t even change the outcome of the very tight mayor’s race. The votes were legal and were counted according to procedure.
The closest thing even resembling her tall tale is a story about one Illinois election judge who sent in an absentee ballot in her late husband’s name. He had received the absentee ballot before he died, so she submitted it, not knowing that it was wrong to do so. It was caught before the election, meaning it had no impact on the outcome — and even if it hadn’t been caught, it still would have only been one vote, and a vote that would have been cast legally had he not died until after the election. It wasn’t 180 votes, it wasn’t in Arkansas, and in no way was it evidence of other voter fraud schemes. In fact, Arkansas election officials were confident that voter fraud was unlikely to occur.