Coloradans who have gone off the deep end with Trump’s false election fraud claims

Previously sane people have gone off the deep end.

It’s perplexing, disturbing and enraging.

Take Colorado Springs political operative Dede Laugesen. I’ve known Laugesen for years although I haven’t spoken to her in a long time (I worked with her husband Wayne Laugesen, editor of the opinion pages at The Gazette, when I was a reporter for the paper). Never have I considered her a wackadoo, until Wednesday, that is.

Laugesen was at the protests in Washington, D.C., because, to quote her Facebook post: “‘We the People’ ask for an audit of the questionable ballots. If there’s no fraud, then, no problem.”

Every state has done an audit of their election results, and the states where the results are close have conducted recounts, and no one has found evidence of what Laugesen and Trump allege. Also alleging the election was stolen from Trump are Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn and Rep. Lauren Boebert, and more than 150 Republican members of Congress. They have been hoodwinked by a president intent on burning down America with his lies.

Laugesen told the Epoch Times (a fiction-filled publication pretending to be a news source), “I really believe that this election is being stolen right out from underneath the Americans who voted for President Trump.” She didn’t return my phone call for this column. Laugesen is running a political group called Every Legal Vote that offers a “primer on fraud” on its website.

Here’s a brief assessment of some of the debunked viral social media posts Trump and his supporters are clinging to, taken directly from Laugesen’s website explaining how fraud “can” happen:

1.       Stopping the count. The kernel of truth with this one is that ballot counting did stop at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta when pipes ruptured and flooded part of the ballot counting area. Hours of surveillance video show water pouring into the room, ballots being locked up securely in rolling security cases, and then hours later workers returning, opening the cases and processing ballots. Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger says he is the one who ordered folks to return to work counting ballots in the middle of the night. When Trump’s advocate and former lawyer Sidney Powell presented this video to Georgia state officials, she conveniently left out the context of the burst water pipe and the ballots being put into the cases.

2.       Mail-in ballots. Many states rushed to implement all-mail-ballot systems because of the pandemic and many fumbled through the emergency changes and made mistakes. There is an opportunity for fraud with mail-in ballots, but there’s no evidence of wide-spread, orchestrated fraud that could sway an election. So far a significant number of the names put forward by Trump’s team have been proven to be lawful voters. Many named in Nevada were members of the military who had addresses in other states.

3.    Not allowing witnesses. Witnesses were allowed. In Pittsburg, the media and witnesses were kept an absurd distance from ballot counters, but that doesn’t prove fraud nor does it invalidate those ballots counted.

4.    Lots of dead people voted. No, they didn’t. A few dead people voted and these likely instances of fraud are being investigated. But that sloppy list of 10,000 dead voters in Michigan that was put together by an Excel flunky merging two databases has been picked apart by data journalists to show that most of those folks are alive and well.

5.    Voter turnout close to 100%. Laugesen’s website shares false numbers about turnout in Wisconsin that are easily debunked. Turnout in Wisconsin didn’t jump from a record high of 67% to 89%. The jump was big, but the increase was from 67% to 72%.

6.    Digital manipulation of ballots. The idea behind this allegation is that the actual ballot-counting machines have been compromised and took Trump votes and counted them as Biden votes. The evidence for this would be found in discrepancies between paper ballots (the ones cast by voters) and the final electronic vote counts. In states where the results were close, those recounts of paper ballots have been remarkably close to the electronic tally, and in Colorado, an audit of paper ballots proved that the machines were faithfully tallying votes. Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit against Powell for these allegations; the lawyers should give Laugesen’s website a close read too.

8.    Media fraud. The only fraud in the media is from fake media outlets like the Epoch Times and Laugesen’s pop-up Every Legal Vote.

Sitting safely on the beach are millions of voters who supported President Donald Trump. They are wet from the waves washing ashore and sandy and ready to go home and salvage what remains of their dignity.

The only thing that can rescue those who jumped into the deep end to push Trump’s story of an election stolen by wide-spread fraud is proof that such a vast conspiracy actually occurred. Absent that, these individuals will be relegated in the annals of history as the enemies of the United States who followed a reality TV star to inflict great damage on this nation.

Megan Schrader is the editor of The Denver Post opinion pages. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow @meganschrader.

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