Donald Trump’s Eye-Opening Deep Dive Investigator—Ken Block’s Findings of Voter Fraud in 2020

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Ken Block is no stranger to processing large data sets. Coming from a computer engineering background, Block runs a software engineering business that has tackled large scale projects like building the first debit card system for food stamps, known as SNAP across various states. Block’s creation of the Moderate Party of Rhode Island in 2009 marked the beginning of his dive in to politics and voter data, making him an ideal candidate to investigate potential voter fraud.

In 2020, Block was approached by one of the Trump campaign’s top attorneys to investigate voter fraud allegations, a process that would give him unprecedented access to presidential election voter data. ABILITY Magazine’s Chet Cooper met with Block to discuss the investigation results, how our current voting system deals with accessibility, and ways it needs to improve.

Chet Cooper: Can you gives us a little background; how would you describe yourself?

Ken Block: I am an expert in what’s called relational databases. I’m a computer engineer. I have a software engineering business. We have done really large projects over the years, including the Texas food stamp program, the debit card. We built the first debit card system in the country for food stamps, now called SNAP, for the state of Texas. We did the same thing for Illinois, California, and the government of Puerto Rico. That’s what I come from. I found my way to politics in 2008–2009, when I got really discouraged by what the two parties were delivering in terms of choices for president and the basic dysfunction that I saw in Congress and I figured that there was a better way to do it. That’s how I got in to trying to create the Moderate Party, and after that (laughs), once we created the party–which required collecting 35,000 signatures–no easy thing in a small state like Rhode Island–the only way to keep the party alive once we’d created it was that somebody had to run for governor and win 5% of the vote in 2010. That person ended up being me, because no good deed goes unpunished, I guess. (laughs) So, I ran for governor. I found that I was pretty good at all of the different skills required to run for a state-level office like that. I enjoyed the debates thoroughly and I was intellectually fully engaged on all cylinders as we did it, with a lot of encouragement from others. After I closed down the new political party in 2012, I was asked to run again in 2014. I did so, and in Rhode Island, it’s one of the bluest states in the country, and we have what I like to call a very machine-oriented and -driven Democratic party. It’s one of these situations where you don’t really break your way into the party. You have to pay your dues, come up through the ranks, blah-blah-blah. And more importantly, I’m a reformer at heart, and there was really no way to bring the reforms that I thought the state needed from within the Democratic party. For a lot of reasons that was going to fail.

The only other option available to me was the Republican party. As a business owner, I’m pretty fiscally conservative, but in every other metric I’m about, again, as middle-of-the-road as you can imagine. I declared my candidacy as a Republican. I had a primary in 2014. I lost my statewide race by 3,000 votes, and voter fraud was not to blame.

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Cooper: There were just those 3,000 people to blame.

Block: (laughs) Right! So that’s my mix of high-tech and politics.

Cooper: How did you get involved with the research on voter fraud?

Block: The day after the 2020 election, I was contacted by one of the Trump campaign’s top attorneys, who asked me very directly if I would help them look for voter fraud. I don’t know how they found their way to me, but I saw it as a unique opportunity to conduct some data-driven research on a national election–something that I’m pretty sure nobody had ever really been provided the opportunity to do before. I knew that the campaign would make all the finances available to me that were necessary to do the work, and I also knew that they would be able to collect the data that I needed to look at. And because of that combination of unique point-in-time things available to me, I decided that I would take a look at it.

I told the lawyer I reported to–his name is Alex Cannon–I told him that I would do the work but I would not custom-deliver any results, that what I would find, if there was voter fraud, I would find it document it, and we would successfully defend those findings in court, but if I didn’t find it, it wasn’t there, and they would have to deal with it. His response to that was, “That’s perfect. We want you to do your due diligence.” Probably the most amazing thing I’ll say to you today is the fact that there were in fact some attorneys for the Trump campaign who did their professional due diligence and were doing the right thing in terms of assessing whether or not voter fraud was there. They were interested in operating within the proper level framework, if you will, to get in and contest an election. They weren’t going to bring a false claim forward, they only wanted to bring forward a claim that actually existed.

Cooper: Why did they reach out to you?

Block: My company developed an expertise in looking at voter data, and I have a personal knowledge of a full decade of looking at the data from just about all the states. There are eight states that won’t make their data available to anyone, so I haven’t looked at those eight states, but outside of that, I’ve looked at every state’s voter data. I’ve done some very interesting things with voter data over the years. That expertise was probably known to the campaign. I don’t know exactly how they found their way to me, and I really didn’t have any time to explore that question in the month of November of 2020.

Cooper: What have you done with data analysis connecting to voters?

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Ken Block running for Governor of Rhode Island

Block: What would be a surprise to a great many people is that prior to 2008 most states did not have a single computerized database that contained all of their voter data. That only came about because of the Help America Vote Act, which passed in 2002. When I started looking at voter data in 2014-2015, there really hadn’t been anyone exploring these data sets and looking at them. I was exploring it. I used voter data as a tool to help train people who worked for me. Over the years we did things like assessing the quality of the data. Did states have what I called “clean data” or “dirty data”? Did they have valid dates of birth for people? These were the early questions. We then tried to determine if we could see if somebody was registered to vote in two different states and solved the problem of: can you uniquely identify somebody just based on name and data of birth and address? There’s a lot behind these simple statements that I’m making to you, and because we specialize in data, we did a really good job of looking at it. We were able to show with great certainty in the 2016 election that about 9,000 people had voted twice. This is across 24 states. So, while 9,000 sounds huge at first, it’s not huge when you consider that there were 24 states involved in this analysis. Nine thousand people across 24 states voted in two different states in the same election, with a couple of thousand of those votes being cast in Florida. And it makes sense. We know that people have second homes in Florida and also some other place. Because there was really no infrastructure anywhere in the country to look for this and prevent it, people were doing it and there was not a lot of consequence to it.

That was some of the work that we had done. We also have developed a very high-confidence way to identify whether registered voters are deceased, and we’ve used that expertise to help some states clean up their voter rolls. It was that sort of thing. It’s not my primary business line at all, it’s just something that started more or less as a training tool and has blossomed into an interesting side gig, if you will.

Cooper: What do you know about voting rights for people with disabilities in different states?

Block: I know a fair amount about mail ballots and how different states have remarkably different rules and regulations regarding who can make use of mail ballots and how those mail ballots can be delivered to election officials. It’s all over the map. Alabama has the least friendly mail ballot regulations in the country. It’s very, very difficult to vote by mail in Alabama. Few people are legally able to use mail ballots, and delivering their mail ballots has to be essentially a direct relative or specifically a caregiver. It runs the gamut to many states that only conduct their elections by mail, big states. It’s all over the map. Mail ballots have their own inherent security problems. It’s just the nature of the beast. We should solve those. It gets back to the national identifiers we were talking about at length earlier.

Mail ballots aren’t going to go away, and we should strengthen them and get their integrity as strong as we can, and we should encourage people to securely use mail ballots in the future. It’s a very convenient way to vote, and not requiring people to show up to cast a vote on election day in person is a reasonable thing to do. We do it okay right now, but we can do it a lot better.

Cooper: You said mailing is a reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities. Do you know anything about the voting machines and accessibility not only the machines but accessibility to those voting locations?

Block: Right. To answer your question, I’m going to ask you a question. Do you know how many voting jurisdictions there are in the country, with a jurisdiction being individually responsible for acquiring its own voting gear?

Cooper: 10,468. No, I have no idea.

Block: (laughs) That’s actually not a bad guess! It’s over 5,000. And in states like Nevada with 17 counties and New York State with 62 counties, I believe, a lot of those counties in those two states have different computer systems, different voting machines, different governmental bodies responsible for the conduct of their elections. It’s almost impossible to talk with any degree of authority about how specific election jurisdictions handle accessibility, because it’s so dramatically different and so much different gear is in use all over the place. I can’t really speak to it on a general basis. Some states are way better at it than others. We still see lawsuits today over governmental buildings that really aren’t accessible to folks who have mobility challenges. Even today we have that problem, so we have a long way to go to solve accessibility issues across the board and across the range of challenges. There’s a lot more work to do there.

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Cooper: We were talking about machines, the Dominion voting machine. Were you part of looking into that as well?

Block: No. Everything I did had a foundation in data that I could look at. The Dominion claims were strictly hearsay, and what I mean by hearsay is, “He said, she said,” not a shred of evidence that any court in the country would allow as admissible. So no, I didn’t have anything to do with it. Had they brought it to me, I would have declined to even look at it because what could I do? It’s somebody making a claim out of thin air without a shred of proof behind it. But how do you disprove something that’s fabricated wholly out of thin air. There wasn’t the time to do that, and all those claims failed in the court system, like they should have, and as a result of those claims, there are have been some pretty severe consequences paid by those who brought those claims in the first place.

Cooper: How do states deal with having data of people’s names, addresses, birth dates? How do they deal with privacy?

Block: First of all, there is no consistency between states for how they deal with it, which is a huge problem across the board. When it comes to voting, the states are given great latitude in terms of what they do and how they do it, and as a result, there are some pretty crazy differences between states. Did you know that there is one state that does not register its voters?

Cooper: Yes, State of Confusion?

Block: (laughs) Pretty much, or you can also call it Nebraska.

Cooper: (laughs) That’s interesting.

Block: Another inconsistent way that states do things manifests itself is the following scenario: imagine that I voted three weeks early by mail in an election and then I had the misfortune of dying before election day. Do you believe that my vote counts or doesn’t count?

Cooper: Oh, interesting. I’m dying to know!

(laughter)

Block: Well, the answer is, it depends.

Cooper: It depends on which state you’re in?

Block: Yup.

Cooper: Nebraska!

Block: (laughs) Who knows in Nebraska? In Michigan it doesn’t count, and in 2020 they disallowed 3,500 votes like the one I just described to you. In about a third of the states the vote does not count by law, and in another third of the states the vote counts by law, and in the last third of the states there is no law that addresses that situation, so it’s a mess. There are a lot of scenarios like that, where the differences in how states do things yield some very surprising and unfair differences. When it comes to the voters’ experience, when voting in congressional or presidential elections, the same set of circumstances should yield the same result everywhere. But that’s not the way our system works.

Cooper: The idea between the powers between state and federal. There’s no federal mandate to—

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Ken Block in a hearing

Block: Well, there is. The Constitution says that the states are responsible for elections, but that Congress can pass law that sets guidelines for elections as Congress desires. And Congress has passed laws in the past. We have the National Voting Rights Act and the Help America Vote Act, and these bills absolutely impact the conduct of elections across the country. The challenge is that really we only have a decade more or less of what I would consider the modern era of elections, where everybody was fully computerized and we could begin diving into issues like this. We really should have more federal guidelines to eradicate some of the bigger unfair occurrences that we have in the conduct of our elections, but Congress can’t agree on a lunch order right now. How do you ever get them to pass a law like this?

Cooper: I’ve always wondered how things keep moving toward making it easier, like filing and paying IRS taxes online, seeing your health records online with patients and your medical team. Why we can’t create a national online voting system?

Block: It’s very interesting you say that. My book is broken into three parts. The first part deals with my experience working for the Trump campaign and all of the voter fraud that we didn’t find. The middle part of the book talks about the specific reasons, confirmable by data, for why Trump actually lost. The last part of the book are recommendations for ways that we can improve our elections. Your idea, I’ll paraphrase here, of a federalized voter registration is spot-on. I think that’s the way we should go. I’d even go one step further. We’ve only had voter registration since the 1950s. The Constitution doesn’t say anything about the need to register to vote. If you’re a citizen and the age of 18–and when I say “citizen,” I mean natural-born or naturalized, that’s the requirement for citizenry–if you’re a U.S. citizen and you’re 18 years of age, you have the right to vote.

I believe that we should confer an automatic voter registration to every natural-born and naturalized citizen as they become citizens, meaning at birth or when they’re naturalized, and remove this whole idea of requiring registration. The reason we have really weird voting data and why the situation with all those duplicate votes that I described to you in 2016 happens is because the states have their own voter registration systems, and they don’t interact with other states to make sure that their registered voters aren’t also registered somewhere else. By federalizing it, you can remove a lot of slop that exists because of this situation that I just described to you. By the way, it can’t be the Social Security number, because as you may or not be aware, Social Security numbers are no longer confidential.

Cooper: Actually, when I was thinking that, I was thinking that you’d have to have multiple fields that you’d fill out, Social Security just being one of them.

Block: Yeah, but we’re corrupting the use of the Social Security number. It’s not a national identifier, although we use it like a national identifier. It’s supposed to be the identifier for our financial lives, but it’s been collected by dentists and hospitals and doctors’ offices. It’s been lost in data breaches big and small all over the place. And now, without any exaggeration, if you gave me five minutes, I could find your Social Security number.

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Cooper: What time do you have now? (laughs)

Block: (laughs) It’s not secure. It’s no longer confidential, and we’ve seen all of the unemployment insurance fraud that we experienced during COVID, and there were hundreds of billions of dollars of unemployment insurance fraud. That fraud was only made possible because everybody’s Social Security numbers were known by the bad guys.

Cooper: So, the identity would be something else? Fingerprints, eye scanning, DNA?

Block: What’s interesting is that the U.S. is the only First World country that does not have a national identifier. Everybody else, every European country, they have a national identifier, and a lot of those are biometric in nature. You talked about privacy concerns, and as we kicked off the conversation that we’re having right now, it’s really not possible to replace Social Security numbers that are no longer confidential, or have automatic voter registration like I am suggesting that we should do, without the creation of some national identifiers, and these should be biometric in nature. It’s worked in a great many other places. It should work here. And there’s really no other way to resolve some of these problems without moving in that direction.

Cooper: This is a new topic for me, but if you’re saying that there are countries that are using some form of biometrics–maybe DNA, fingerprints, eye scans, something they’re already doing–then we can analyze those countries and find the pros and cons of a national identifier?

Block: Yes. And we need a couple of new identifiers, a voting identifier, a replacement for Social Security number identifier, and maybe there needs to be a medical identifier. We’re looking at at least two, maybe three, to help us out. And I toss these off like they’re easy to do. They’re not. It will be very expensive and time-consuming to replace Social Security numbers. It touches so many databases in the private, public, and governmental sectors. it’s a big deal to make that change, to even create a new system, to have a federalized voter registration. They are easy concepts to put your head around, but very complicated and difficult to build.

Cooper: My brain is already thinking about the huge benefits, but also the huge issues around Big Brother having all this data.

Block: Here’s what I’ll say about Big Brother. Big Brother’s already there, and it’s not big government.

Cooper: Oh, when I said that, I wasn’t only concerned with government, but the data getting hacked.

Block: Yeah. Google knows a horrifying amount about you. My entry to the national media happened just over a year ago, when the Washington Post received a leak out of Jack Smith’s grand jury investigation in DC that my company and myself specifically had received a subpoena in that legal matter. I was in Virginia at a business meeting when my cell phone rang with a number from the Washington Post. I picked it up and there was a reporter there, and the first thing I asked him was, “How did you get my cell phone number?” He said, “I’m actually looking at Lexis/Nexis right now, and here’s your number and here’s your wife’s cell phone number.” And I went, “Yeah, that’s right.”

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Ken Block on CNN

Information you would think is semi-private really isn’t. We’ve lost just about every shred—and I’m just being realistic here, not fatalistic–we have lost any shred of privacy when it comes to data, I would say 15 years ago. It’s very unlikely that we get it back. To spin back to your question about names, addresses, and dates of birth, those really aren’t confidential, and in fact, the National Voting Rights Act pretty much mandates that that information needs to be provided by the states to anyone who wants to doublecheck that the states are doing what they’re supposed to do correctly. There’s a legal requirement to provide that data, and honestly, because Social Security numbers are–in my words–blown, they’re no longer confidential. The other stuff really doesn’t matter. Date of birth, address, that sort of thing. Anybody over the age of 50 has received what was, like it was for me, an unwelcomed mailing from AARP welcoming me to the old persons’ club. (laughs) They know your date of birth. They even got my date of birth right and wished me a happy birthday. There are so many places where our privacy became not private so long ago. Maybe it’s taken some people longer than others to accept this fate that we’re at, but we don’t have the confidentiality that we might think we have.

Cooper: You feel it’s okay to have a society that’s more open because it’s already there?

Block: Well, (laughs) the toothpaste is out of the tube. We can’t stuff it back.

Cooper: What about changing your name instead of Block to Ken Open?

 (laughter)

Block: What was really interesting with the opportunity that I was given by the Trump campaign–and I use that word on purpose–I was protected from all political pressure while I did this work. The Oval Office did not know my identity while I was being asked to conduct this work, and that was a decision that Alex Cannon made. It was a very important decision, because nobody can lean on me demanding an outcome, and you know that would have happened had my identity been known. This allowed me to conduct my work in an unbiased way. If it was there, it was there, and if it wasn’t there, it wasn’t there. We not only looked for voter fraud through the data mining my company did, the day after we signed the contract, Alex started sending me claims of voter fraud that other people had made. Some of those claims came from names that are familiar to an awful lot of people in this country: John Eastman, Sydney Powell, Cleta Mitchell. I didn’t see anything directly from Rudy Giuliani, but had he sent in something that came in through the formal campaign apparatus, it would have eventually come to my attention. We were able to determine in all of these cases, for more than 15 different claims, that they were false. Every one of them.

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Where Alex started off the whole thing asking me for every one of the claims he sent me, “Tell me whether this one’s correct or not.” by the end he was saying, “Tell me why this one is wrong.” The claims, some of them, were very academic in nature. There were Ph.D.s who were proposing complicated formula that they claimed proved that voter fraud happened, and I was able to show that that was false. My favorite story of all, and this just speaks to the mania that we were surrounded by in the month of November of 2020, the very last claim that Alex sent to me was a claim out of Wisconsin that nearly three-quarters of a million people voted twice in the Wisconsin presidential election.

This claim materialized from a group of self-described “volunteers” who made a really critical error. They didn’t understand the data they were looking at and because of that error, they made a math calculation that left them almost three-quarters of a million votes short of the number of votes that were cast. They leapt to the conclusion that fraud had to be the problem. They got their findings, and they never once questioned their result. They never once said, “Geez, can this possibly be right?” Instead, they were excited. “Hey, this is the smoking gun. We can prove Trump’s right.” They took their results, got them to someone who played golf who brought the findings to the manager of a Trump golf course, who brought the findings to Eric Trump, who brought the findings to the Oval Office, who sent them to Alex Cannon, who gave them to me and said, “Tell me why this is wrong.” And it took me about a half an hour to show him why that was wrong.

This is what was happening in that period of time. People were, and still have, largely disassociated from reality when it comes to conversations about whether or not there’s voter fraud. There’s a lot of misinformation, but the important thing about voter fraud or fraud of any kind, obviously, is honestly that it’s identifiable and it’s quantifiable and it’s verifiable. And if you can’t do those three things with a claim of fraud, it’s not a valid claim of fraud.

Cooper: Are you concerned about people that might think you were bought off or you are trying to put false information out there?

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Best selling book “Disproven”

Block: I will say that I have some extremely close friends whom I cannot have any conversation with at all about the issues that I cover in the book, because they take their news from conservative media and they believe it. These are some of the smartest people I personally know, and they are convinced that there has to be voter fraud and that the work I did had to have been wrong, that I wasn’t qualified–these are people I’m friends with–that I wasn’t qualified to do the work, that I must have had an agenda. All of the things that I would expect to hear from somebody who was firmly brainwashed into believing that there was a lot of voter fraud, but not something I ever expected to hear from someone I count as a close personal friend. But the reality is that that’s where this conversation resides.

It’s unfortunate that we can’t have a rational conversation about it. Worse is that we’re going to have to deal with it again because former president Trump has made no secret that he’s going to scream fraud if he loses again.

Cooper: If you were to go back in time when they first contacted you, would you do anything differently?

Block: I wouldn’t, because especially knowing what has transpired, I would absolutely do it again. I’m not sure anybody else whom they would have contacted to do the work would have done so in a straight-up honest way. Beyond that, it is no exaggeration that this represented a fantastically unique opportunity to conduct an audit of a national election with essentially unlimited resources. Those things are there for sure, and for those reasons I would do it again.

What’s really interesting for me, anyway, as a data person, is why Trump lost, because you really only have to look at the swing states. The reason for his loss is very clear to me, looking at the data. It turns out it was also very clear to Trump’s own pollster, and it was very clear to Georgia secretary of state Raffensperger, who wrote the forward for my book. The reason that Trump lost–cutting out all of the analysis, which is interesting to me and everything else–but the bottom line is that I’m able to show through data that Trump lost the moderate Republicans. He denigrated them as RINOs, he made it very clear to them that he didn’t want their support, and he lost their support.

I can show you in the reddest counties of the reddest states in the country, Trump did less well in 2020 than he did in 2016. The explanation for that is the moderate Republicans. It’s about 2.5% across the country. That’s his underperformance. That’s my proof. Secretary of State Raffensperger only looked to Georgia, but he was able to bring forward 30,000 voters who participated in the presidential primary in 2020 who did not vote in the general election. Those 30,000 Republican votes were lost to Trump. Those were also moderate Republicans.

Cooper: How do you know if they’re moderate or not?

Block: I was able to determine that they were moderates based on the percentage and where that likely percentage overlaid with moderates in terms of their makeup of the party as opposed to MAGA as opposed to other flavors of Republicanism. I’ll tell you what Trump’s pollster said, and that ties this whole thing together. Raffensperger also found another 30,000 votes in the general election where the voters left the presidential selection blank but they voted for down-ticket Republicans, which is also moderate Republicans unhappy with Trump, unable to vote for Biden, who didn’t vote at all. That same scenario, with those two flavors of presidential primary not voting in the general and leaving the presidential selection blank while voting for down-ticket Republicans, happened in Arizona. That’s 60,000 votes that Trump lost in Georgia as quantified by Secretary of State Raffensperger, he lost Georgia by fewer than 12,000 votes.

In the middle part of my book, I wanted to really dive in and see if I could explain why Trump lost the election. Could I, using data, come up with a proof for why Trump lost? And there are two different reasons that Trump lost the election. In Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, the Libertarian candidate for president, her name was Jo Jorgensen, won as many votes, if not many times more votes in those states than the number of votes that Trump lost by in that election. And so, in the case of Georgia, Jo Jorgensen won about 50,000 votes and Trump lost by race by 12,000 votes. Libertarians lean more conservative than they do labor. The same thing in Pennsylvania, same thing in Arizona, same thing in Wisconsin. That’s one clear-cut, rational explanation for why Trump lost.

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A more important point that explains Trump loss is that he made very clear his disdain for moderate Republicans. He called them RINOs, he made it very clear he didn’t want their support. He denigrated them frequently. They didn’t vote for him, and the evidence for that shows up in a couple of different ways. What I’m about to describe to you again holds true for Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. What happened was that across the country, when you look at how Trump did as a percentage of the vote in 2020 relative to how he did in 2016, on a national level Trump did 2.3% less well as a percentage of the vote than he did in 2016. That decline in performance translates to statewide results even in the reddest states. While Trump won the reddest of the red states in ’16 and ’20, he didn’t do it by as much in ’20 as he did in 2016. When you look now at the red counties in Georgia–Georgia has 167 counties–144 of them are red, meaning Trump won them in ’16 and he also won them on ’20. On average, Trump did about 2.4% less well in Georgia’s red counties in 2020 than he did in 2016. Those were the RINOs. Those were the RINOs who abandoned him. Across Georgia’s red counties, Trump lost 100,000 votes based on his 2.4% decrease in performance in 2020 versus 2016.

Georgia secretary of state Raffensperger also determined that the RINOs cost the election, but he—Raffensperger wrote the forward for my book—came at this differently. He was able to show that there were about 30,000 Republican presidential primary voters in 2020 who did not participate in the general election. Those are presidential votes that should have gone to the Republican candidate for president–at the time president Trump–but no vote was cast by these people. Those were very likely RINOs who couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Biden, but also couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Trump. Raffensperger also found another 30,000 voters who voted for down-ticket Republicans in the 2020 presidential race in November but left the presidential selection blank. That’s 30,000 votes lost to president Trump again, again very likely RINOs.

The last piece of information that ties all of this together and beyond a shadow of a doubt proves it is Trump’s own pollster, a guy named Tony Fabrizio, who, I just want to–with full disclosure state–that Fabrizio polled my race for governor in Rhode Island in 2014. We really do live in a small, small world. I just need to say that up front. I haven’t spoken to Tony since 2016, so I haven’t spoken to him since president Trump started using him as his pollster. But what Fabrizio did in November of 2020, during an election day, they exit-polled 30,000 voters in the swing states. 30,000 voters were interviewed by employees of Fabrizio, and they asked these voters as they left the voting place, “Who did you vote for? Why did you vote this way? Blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.” And he collated that data and he published that data in a report that was supposed to have been obviously secret for the campaign. That report was leaked and it’s available on the Politico.com website. I found the report, and what Fabrizio said in that report was that one out of six voters that they interviewed had voted for Trump in 2016 and voted against Trump in 2020. One out of six.

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Another one out of six voters that they interviewed were brand-new voters who had never voted before but had been motivated to vote against Trump largely because of how Trump handled COVID, if you can believe that. Remember, COVID was a hot topic at the time then, and all of this happened before January 6th. So, Fabrizio called it “leakage,” where Republican support that he should have had disappeared. I call it “bleeding support,” support that he had in 2016 disappeared in 2020. And honestly, he still has that problem today.

In Pennsylvania, they just had their most recent presidential primary, and Nikki Haley took 25% of the Republican vote, and she suspended her campaign months ago. Those voters who were voting for Nikki Haley, aren’t happy with president Trump, and they’re making that unhappiness known with their protest vote for a candidate who has withdrawn (laughs) from the campaign. So, unless former president Trump figures out how to handle his RINO problem, it’s not solved, and it’s going to be a big challenge for him in 2024.

Cooper: Will you have to testify?

Block: I consider myself a professional receiver of subpoenas.

Cooper: (laughs)

Block: I was subpoenaed first by Jack Smith. That subpoena was delivered with a phone call to my office line from the FBI. I was served on the phone for that. That was about a month to a month and a half before the Washington Post broke the story that I had received that phone call. A few weeks after the Washington Post story broke, I got a knock on the door and I was served a subpoena by Ruby Freeman’s legal team. She had sued Rudy Giuliani for defamation. They had read the article in the Washington Post and figured, “Well, if he can help Jack Smith, maybe he can help us.” Turned out I really didn’t have anything related to Rudy Giuliani. I never talked to him. I never saw any of his claims, but I did receive the subpoena from them.

Then I got a call on my cell phone, again wondering how that happened, but this time it was a prosecutor on Fani Willis’s legal team in Fulton County, Georgia. So yeah, I’ve had my share of subpoenas. Who knows if these cases will ever proceed to trial at this point. If they do, it’s probably not directly necessary for me to go testify because I’m what’s called a “fact witness.” My emails and communications with the Trump campaign are what the prosecutors in both of those cases were interested in: the fact that I told them very clearly over and over and over again that there was no voter fraud. There was not enough voter fraud to matter. I want to be clear about that. We did find some voter fraud; people take two bites of the apple sometimes if they think they can get away with it.

We found a handful of people who managed to vote while they were deceased. It happens. And some of the people we found were prosecuted for voter fraud. But none of it was enough to have changed the results in any election. Might some prosecutor choose to put me on the stand because there would be some drama in having me be on there? I guess so. But it shouldn’t be specifically necessary because my communications tell the whole story.

Cooper: Thank you. I remembered one of the questions I had when you were talking about some of your friends. Do you think they’ll buy your book?

Block: I don’t think so. Look, this actually brings up one of the most frustrating things I’ve been dealing with since the book was published, and that is how no conservative media anywhere has touched this story or will talk to me. It manifests itself in the most extreme in the form of a website called TheFederalist.com. It’s a conservative website. They try to be highbrow, thought-provoking, that kind of thing, and they published a hit piece review of my book by somebody out of Georgia whom I didn’t recognize, and I became aware of it and I contacted him and said, “Will you accept rebuttal?” and they said, “Send it along, we’ll take a look.” We wrote a very careful rebuttal that nobody could take a beef with, and submitted it, and they refused to publish it.

kenblock family
Block family

So, we have tried to get opinion pieces published in some conservative newspapers that were flatly rejected but happily picked up by non-conservative newspapers. It is just the nature of how our media have become partisan in nature and it’s a gigantic challenge. For those who consume conservative media, most of those folks have no idea I exist, no idea that I was hired to do this work for the Trump campaign, no idea that after all that time, energy and money was spent, we didn’t find enough evidence of voter fraud to matter. The only thing they’re hearing is that voter fraud is everywhere. That’s what conservative media is broadcasting to them. Liberal media doesn’t necessarily want to talk about some of the changes that really should be made to make our elections more secure. That’s not a narrative they think should be talked about. They don’t even like talking about the fact that we found some voter fraud.

This is harmful. I think that the only way we move past where we are as a country is if people are receiving the facts necessary to make reasonable decisions, and right now, the way our media is working, nobody is really getting all the facts they need to make these decisions the right way.

Cooper: Yes. We’re all living it right now. I keep thinking of history and how in the Civil War, brother against brother, or Germany, how they convinced a whole country that they were the victims and that they needed to do what they did, and yet we have, as you were just saying, how divided the media is—the propaganda machines, and the media outlets on both sides driven by financial gains—which is led by, if it bleeds, it leads. Is there anything that you can think of if you had that ability to do something?

Block: It really is a very, very difficult problem that we’ve become so hyperpartisan with the media that we consume. I think it’s one of the biggest problems that we face as a country, honestly, and I don’t have the slightest idea what we can do to fix it.

Cooper: This has been great. Can you think of something else you might want to add?

Block: We talked about one way we can make our elections better, which is a federalized voter registration. We should make illegal the practice of gerrymandering. Eighty percent of our congressional seats are not competitive, and a large reason for that uncompetitiveness is gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is when partisan elected officials control the design of the maps for which voters are in which district. It’s well documented over the years that Republicans and Democrats both do it if they have the power, and they purposely design election jurisdictions that guarantee a partisan win. How can we have any kind of pride in our democracy when partisan actors can that easily manipulate the results of our elections? It’s terrible. It should be outlawed. The problem is, we need a highly partisan Congress to pass the law that outlaws it. But that’s a huge reform. We should absolutely do that.

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There are a lot of other things that we should do in terms of making things better. States maintain their voter registration systems in a silo. Rhode Island doesn’t know often its voters move to another state. The federal government should put together the computer system necessary to identify that problem and help states clean up their voter rolls. New York State has a terrible data problem. So does New Jersey. In the state of New Jersey (laughs), and this is kind of incredible, the state of New Jersey has 25,000 registered voters with a year of birth of 1800.

Cooper: (laughs) Sorry! That should win Florida!

Block: It’s amusing, except that in 2020, 8,000 of those voters cast votes.

Cooper: That’s where I thought you were going. I made the joke of Florida because it’s the retirement state.

kenblock daughter
Ken Block family vacation

Block: That’s not voter fraud. That’s sloppy, sloppy, sloppy data. The state should be compelled to clean this stuff up. New York State has a similar problem but the scale isn’t as bad. They have thousands instead of tens of thousands of 1800 voters, and hundreds of them voted as opposed to thousands. But New York State has a bigger problem, and that is that the only way in our country to–with certainty–know when someone has passed away is to know that person’s Social Security number, because when somebody passes away, the Social Security Administration is made aware of it. They maintain a list of everybody who has passed away. We even have a federal law as of 2004 that says that when states register new voters, they’re supposed to make sure they collect Social Security numbers from those voters specifically for this reason, so that the state can maintain its data when the time comes to do so.

Well, New York State has a dramatic problem. They have 3 million registered voters on their rolls who don’t have Social Security numbers registered, and two million of those voters cast votes in 2020. The other million who didn’t vote have been registered for at least 20 years and haven’t cast a vote for at least 20 years. Those voters have likely long ago moved away or passed away. This describes something called “voter bloat.” That term describes a voter roll with a whole bunch of voters who should have been removed long ago, but for whatever reason haven’t.

New York State should be given special help because of the size and scale of their problem to federal assistance to help clean up their voter rolls. Because you have to be able to identify your voters. The second biggest reason there were so many false claims of voter fraud in 2020–the first one was that these people who were doing these amateur analytics didn’t understand what they were doing and didn’t understand what they were looking at–but there was another class of error that was committed, and that was people who looked at data in two different states and saw someone with the same name and the same date of birth and said, “That’s got to be the same person.” It turns out that that analysis is wrong 90% of the time, and it’s one of the big reasons that when you’re in a larger hospital, they ask you for your Social Security number because on any given day in a big hospital, you can have two people with the exact same name and the exact same date of birth.

Cooper: I did not know that.

Block: It’s not a very well-known fact, but it’s right there in the book. (laughs)

Cooper: And you might not want that procedure that the other person gets.

Block: Right, absolutely. So, there are a whole bunch of things that deserve to be addressed and fixed, but we do need a functional Congress to make any of that stuff happen.

Cooper: It was great talking to you.

Block: Thank you, it was a really great interview, I appreciate it.

Ken Block

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