Can’t happen here? U.S. once decried an election with expelled observers, absentee boxes and 90% turnout

Just the News:

Flashback – Though a far cry from America, the 2004 Ukrainian election showcased some behavior that today makes U.S. conservatives distrustful.

Sixteen years before the 2020 presidential contest in America, the U.S. government decried as corrupt an earlier election where special voting boxes were created to help citizens vote from home, election observers were expelled from vote counts, pre-election polls were wildly off, and voter turnout in certain communities exceeded 90%.

The 2004 presidential election in Ukraine saw suspiciously high turnout rates that “even Stalinist North Korea would envy,” the State Department declared in 2004 after an election in the former Soviet republic infuriated the administration of President George W. Bush.

The famously and endemically corrupt Ukraine under then-Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych is, of course, a far cry from the United States when it comes to election integrity. But the story of that Ukrainian election as recounted by then-Ambassador John Tefft to a Senate committee in December 2004 raises a tantalizing question for conservatives distrustful of the Nov. 3 elections here: If tactics and outcomes in the Ukrainian election back then were enough to cry foul, why can’t Americans debate similar concerns here?

After all, a record number of Americans were allowed to vote from the comfort of their homes in 2020, GOP election observers have claimed they were kept from observing vote counts, pre-election and exit polls were wildly wrong when compared to actual vote, and there are some city wards and precincts where voter turnout was, well, historically high.

Take, for instance, Wisconsin’s largest urban area, Milwaukee County, where more than 90 of the 400-plus wards reported a final turnout of 90% or greater. It may very well turn out to simply be a record of civic engagement.

But back in 2004, the U.S. State Department saw such turnout in any area of Ukraine as preposterous.


State officials were also concerned by the high number of Ukrainians who were allowed to cast absentee ballots into special boxes placed outside unmonitored locations, a phenomenon that many communities enabled in America in 2020.

“In the second round of the election, the number of voters who supposedly cast ballots at home using mobile ballot boxes was double that of the first round,” Tefft told the senators. “Much of this voting occurred without observers being present and was massively fraudulent. In Mykolayiv oblast, for example, nearly 35 percent of the oblast’s voters purportedly cast their ballots at home.”

Sound familiar?

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