• Nicole Kohut and Dominy Gallo

Did You Commit Election Fraud?

Updated: Mar 1

Affirmative


By Nicole Kohut.


Of course I committed election fraud–I’m a dutiful citizen. In fact, I’ve basically spent my entire life preparing for this moment. For the whole month of August, I wore my internal American flag with pride, roller-skating through Florida and picking up ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ signs. In 2016, I was the unofficial Twitter troll delegate for the Clinton campaign. I was also an unauthorized employee for Elizabeth Warren, a position I can only describe as being her ultimate bitch.


I knew political engagement would be my top priority upon returning to campus this fall. I even got approval from Columbia to stand outside Lerner and deny COVID-19 tests to anyone who couldn’t show me proof of voter registration. I spent most September afternoons loitering in the CPS lobby, asking students: “Are you really depressed? Or are you just voting for Trump?” I’ve had a long history of campaign work, and I knew 2020 would be the orgasmic climax.


But committing voter fraud wasn’t an easy feat. It required unenrolling for the semester and hatching a plan to vote in every state that might go red.

AL: In preparation for this visit, I listened toSweet Home Alabama on repeat. Just as I was starting to find the song catchy, a terrifying thought crossed my mind: “Do I need to be kinda okay with incest while I’m here, or is that . . . a joke?” Just in case, I brought my brother along and forced him to wear matching chastity rings. Pretending to be married to my brother was pretty effective–every time I tried to convince a Republican to go blue, all I had to do was slip my hand into my bro’s back pocket while talking about how “Mom wants us home for dinner before seven” in order to seal the deal.

WY: To be perfectly honest, I was still under the impression that Wyoming was not a real state, but a myth created by the government. As such, I skipped this journey. They only have three electoral votes anyway.

Illustration by Rea Rustagi

PA: I made a pit stop in Pennsylvania to check out the scene–although I thought the state would ultimately swing blue, an extra vote couldn’t hurt. Hoagie in hand and ready to sing my praises of fracking, I got in line at the polls. I was immediately alarmed. Everyone I spoke with told me they were most definitely voting for Trump. I knew I had to act fast. Luckily, I had brought my in-case-of-emergency psychedelics. I grinded my shrooms into fine dust before blowing them through the air shafts. Just as the voters began to trip, I hacked the intercom system and whispered “Biden 2020” into the mic, casting everyone in greater Harrisburg under a hypnotic spell. At my DIY exit polls, every voter I spoke to told me that they had changed their mind. “Biden 2020 forever,” one man called out as he tossed his gun to the curb.


GA: No one believed that I was a true Georgian, and anyone who I tried to convince to vote for Biden acted like I was invisible. Suddenly, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see none other than Timothée Chalamet, peach in hand and smize on point. “Here,” he whispered, gifting me the rotund peach resting in his perfect palms. He walked away slowly, never losing eye contact, and mouthing “Biden 2020” as fog engulfed his body. The peach seemed to be the key to successfully committing Georgia voter fraud, as I breezed through the polls and voted for Biden roughly 90 times under different aliases.


NV: I’d heard rumors about Nevada, but I never could have predicted the strange experience that would confront me when I stepped foot in the Silver State. There weren’t directions to polling sites anywhere and when I finally asked an election volunteer for help, they responded to me in slow motion–an incredible talent, but not helpful in my pursuit of voter fraud. After wandering around the Vegas Strip for what seemed like hours, I decided to take a rest in the nearest casino. To my surprise, a voting poll was located inside, but they were only allowing one person to vote per hour. I thought I’d be waiting another day before I got the chance to vote, but when I approached the voting booths, I was informed that I was first in line. Apparently, all the voters that came to this casino got distracted by the slot machines, gambling for hours instead of queuing up.


I spent the rest of my time bouncing from casino to casino, disabling the machines and urging Nevada residents to vote. By the end of the night, however, it appeared as though my hard work had not paid off. Defeated, I decided to retreat to the only casino north of the Luxor that I hadn’t dismantled. I’m not sure how many days I spent playing Slotomania, but I was eventually shaken from my daze by a distant cry. “That’s her! That’s the girl who made Nevada go blue!” I immediately turned around, shocked. A mass of people swarmed around me, informing me that the state had flipped while I was M.I.A. Ecstatic, we all broke out into a La La Land-themed chorus line, trotting down the Strip like there was no tomorrow. Basking in the glory of the roaring blue wave, I tried to ignore the fact that absolutely nobody was wearing a mask–that would be my next mission.


Negative


By Dominy Gallo.

The president has leveled many accusations at dead people for casting ballots in the election. To this I say, I may be dead inside, but I retain the right to vote. Columbia has certainly tried its best, but I’m still here. And if I’m alive enough to do my CC reading, gosh darn it, I’m alive enough to vote! Screw 21—my most exciting birthday was 18, because who needs alcohol when you have the adrenaline high of some good old civic engagement to get you juiced on a Tuesday evening? I even have a snazzy “I Voted” sticker on my laptop to prove my unparalleled commitment to American democracy.


Therefore, the very idea that I would commit election fraud is, frankly, offensive to me. What greater blight to my honor than the charge of ballot-stuffing? I have read all 798 (yes, seven hundred and ninety-eight) pages of the State of New York 2020 Election Law. I now know what “resident vote tabulation programming” means. And take, for example, this evocative passage on counting ballots that cannot be scanned:


The inspectors shall unfold each ballot of the kind then to be canvassed and shall place all such ballots upon the table in one pile face down. The chair shall take up each ballot in order, turn it face up and announce loudly and distinctly the vote registered on each section, in the order of the sections upon the ballot, or that the ballot is void or the section blank, as the case may be (§ 9-110).


What a scintillating process! My favorite chapter was the riveting three-page account of how to file paperwork. I was also thrilled to discover the board of elections—inspired by our fine institution, no doubt—has implemented a “Core Curriculum” for all election inspectors and poll clerks. If that doesn’t convince the president of their qualification to monitor an election, I don’t know what will. 

Illustration by Rea Rustagi

Needless to say, I am very opposed to election fraud and could certainly spot it if I saw it. Out of all the polling places I visited, I spotted none. And I visited many! You see, I did the math. The way the electoral college works, one elector actually represents a different number of people based on the state. I discovered that if I voted in multiple states where one elector stands for a higher proportion of the population, it would add up to the same weight of a vote in a state like Wyoming! As I couldn’t get all the way to Wyoming, I figured a combination of states in my area would have to do.


I already had all the materials given the number of accounts I’ve set up with different emails to get free trials for subscriptions. For the Blue and White alone, I’ve made four accounts for the same transcription software to try to eke out free minutes. I’m telling you, those 15%-off first-time shopper coupons really do add up. And referring a friend? I’ve done that more times than I can count. It really is beautiful what you can do with an email alias. All this to say, the internet is replete with dozens of different identities associated with me, all just waiting to be registered to vote!

So I marched with my army of email addresses to polling places around the Northeast to cast ballots in favor of my candidate of choice–Howie Hawkins of the Green Party, of course. I just wanted to make absolutely sure he would clinch the presidency we all knew he had in the bag. Tragically, however, my efforts did not work. The diligent poll-workers noticed me writing out different emails in the “address” line and my explanations just didn’t live up to their incredibly high standards. They were unsympathetic to my pleas and had no patience for my 20-minute, well-researched lecture on the absurdity of the electoral college. They didn’t miss a trick. It must be that damn Core Curriculum.


#December2020

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