Guess who’s promoting the Big Lie about election fraud in South Dakota? Senator Al Novstrup.
Former Cincinnati math and science teacher Douglas Frank is a widely debunked election fraud charlatan whose mathematical mumbo-jumbo has fueled pillow salesman Mike Lindell’s laughably false claims that someone stole the election from two-time popular vote loser Donald Trump. Frank himself admitted to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose that he does not have any evidence to back up his purely mathematical argument. Frank’s theoretical claims are both mathematically and technologically bogus:
“I think this took my research group an afternoon. You uncover that there’s no basis for this,” said Grimmer, who looked at data for 42 states and found that Frank’s assessments do not provide any evidence of voter fraud. “But if you’re not someone who, like me, spends all day working on statistics and data, six order polynomials and nearly perfect correlations — it sounds like he’s uncovered something really impressive.”
Frank uses the number of registered voters by age group and prior voter trends to predict voter turnout, then claims it is evidence of fraud when it aligns with actual voter turnout. Put another way: Frank’s analysis finds that age groups with more people have more people who vote, which Frank then interprets as fraud, Grimmer said.
“Effectively, what he’s doing is he’s discovered that anything that you go out and measure in the world is closely related to itself,” Grimmer said.
Aside from Frank’s flawed interpretation of the math, there are extensive election security protocols in place that would prevent the kind of widespread hacking and phantom vote-stuffing that Frank has described.
“If you even change a period, a period in the election programming, it sends up a red flag that immediately stops the entire process until we can identify what would have triggered that red flag,” said Isabel Longoria, the elections administrator for Harris County — the most populous county in Texas and home to some 2.5 million voters [Sara Murray and Jeff Simon, “The 2020 Election Wasn’t Stolen. But Douglas Frank and His Bogus Equation Claiming Otherwise Are Still Winning Over Audiences,” CNN, updated 2022.01.19].
Philip Bump of the Washington Post dismisses Frank’s fakery as “idiotic”, “ridiculous”, and insulting:
Imagine claiming that Usain Bolt was cheating because you’d averaged the results of five of his races and discovered that all of his results were close to that average. That’s literally the claim that Frank is making — that the closeness to the average proves that fraud occurred. It’s ridiculous.
…I reiterate this because I have a strong affection for both math and the truth. That someone could make data-based claims for months after they’ve been obviously shown to be nonsense is something that I consider a personal affront. I understand that a lot of people want to believe that the sun is made out of popcorn. But that doesn’t mean we should simply let bad actors try to use complicated-sounding nonsense to convince them that it is [Philip Bump, “Let’s Be Very Clear About Douglas Frank’s Allegations of Voter Fraud,” Washington Post, 2021.12.21].
Yet Frank persists in his ridiculous attack on truth and democracy:
After his pitch to Lone Star State voters, he sat down for his interview with CNN and defended his efforts to undermine confidence in America’s elections.
“It’ll be a constitutional crisis. It will be a crisis. It’s going to happen. It’s inevitable. It’s going to happen. And I’m helping that happen. Yes,” Frank said [Murray and Simon, 2022.01.19].
When Republican officials in Washington County, Pennsylvania, granted Frank a 90-minute meeting and asked Frank to provide “specific data involving Washington County and the evidence backing it up,” Frank responded by threatening to destroy the commissioners’ reputations and demanding their resignations. Responding to questions with louder shouting typifies the response we get from partisan fanatics clinging to the counterfactual.
Frank is now bringing his fanatic lies to South Dakota, where apparently anonymous election conspiracy group SD Canvassing Group (which appears to be connected with Midwest Swamp Watch and Ripple Effect PAC) is hosting a Frank speech in Sioux Falls on Monday, March 21. Who would give this harmful liar a platform? Why, Senator Al Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen/Sioux Falls):
Senator Novstrup, who knows a thing or two or twenty about telling dangerous lies to the public, is hosting Pants-on-Fire liar Frank at Thunder Road, Novstrup’s primary go-kart palace in Sioux Falls. Novstrup’s carnival claims to be “the center of fun,” but on March 21, it will be the center of falsehood, a destructive falsehood that no patriotic businessman, let alone an elected official who enjoys his authority solely by dint of the fact that we trust our election results, should countenance.
Given Novstrup’s willingness to provide a platform for a fraud who is openly trying to undermine confidence in elections, primary voters in District 3 in Aberdeen should consider whether they can have any confidence in Novstrup to defend truth and democracy.
Update 08:22 CDT: The SD Canvassing Events webpage offers a form inviting viewers to order their tickets for Frank’s medicine show at Novstrup’s house of hogwash.
Tickets don’t appear to cost anything, but when I submit my info, the webpage responds with a generic response and no indication that I’m actually going to get a ticket: