Ted Howze Careens Down the Trump Hole

Ted Howze

In a bizarre excursion into Trumpworld, candidate for Congress Ted Howze has accused “Democrats” of, “a coordinated voter fraud scheme to steal a seat in U.S. House of Representatives from Republicans in the California 10th.”

Let that sink in. Voter fraud is a felony, punishable by five years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine, but Howze isn’t claiming an isolated instance here. He’s not only argued that Democrats stole the election in California Congressional District 10, he’s said, “the same tactic was likely used throughout California to defeat several Republican members of Congress.”

Howze made these wild claims in late November on his Howze for Congress website and in a Ceres Courier opinion piece. Like most conspiracy theories, Howze’s argument begins with false assumptions, features a thick pad of irrelevant “facts,” and depends on a willing suspension of disbelief from readers.

Stripped of its irrelevant verbiage, Howze’s argument begins with a guilty verdict:

“In our experience, there is a sufficiently large enough sampling of absentee and poll day votes counted by the close of Election Night that, unless a candidate has committed a crime in the waning days of a campaign, the final percentages rarely change by more than 1 percent.”

Really Ted? So you have “experience” of a case when final percentages changed “by more than 1 percent” and “a candidate…committed a crime”? Gee, when was that Ted? Can you offer something so prosaic as an example?

Howze goes on to claim that Josh Harder’s come-from-behind victory over Jeff Denham was “statistically impossible,” another self-evident falsehood. Statistics are for the most part predictive, not apodictic; the fact statistical odds were overwhelmingly against him, for example, didn’t prevent Donald Trump from winning the presidency. And Harder actually went into his own election favored to win by none other than statistics maven Nate Silver.

Saying he’s withholding proof until all the facts are in, Howze argues, “The observations of poll workers, coupled with actual voter data and statistical analysis, will almost undoubtedly prove the Harder campaign either directly ran or indirectly benefitted from a well-funded, coordinated Democratic voter fraud scheme in the General Election just like they did in the June Primary test run.”

Anyone with the temerity to wonder what it is, “The observations of poll workers,” will prove isn’t going to receive an answer from Ted Howze, at least not an answer that would hold up in a court of law. Howze’s entire loony theory depends on a scenario too wacky even for the tinfoil hat crowd. According to Howze,

“A single collaborator with pre-printed address labels, a map of poll locations and clear instructions could easily visit 25 polling places and vote provisionally under 25 different names. A highly motivated group of people can easily steal a tight election using this strategy simply because California requires no picture ID to vote.”

In California Congressional District 10, the final vote count favored Josh Harder by just under 10,000 votes. So if we’re to believe Ted Howze, at 25 votes per “collaborator,” some 400 manic perpetrators of voter fraud scurried from polling place to polling place throughout the district, forging enough signatures and casting enough ballots to “steal” the election from incumbent Jeff Denham.

But since TJ Cox came from even farther behind to defeat David Valadeo in California’s Congressional District 21, another “statistically impossible” feat,” it must follow that Cox also had hundreds of “collaborators” involved in stealing that election as well. And what about Katie Porter, who came from behind to win in District 45? She too must have employed hundreds of willing felons.

In fact, the factors that tend to influence wins by Democrats in elections were all in play last November, and none of them had to do with voter fraud.

First and foremost, turnout in many places was at record highs for an off-year election. This was especially true in California Congressional District 10. One of the most fundamental political axioms ever is that high turnout elections tend to favor Democrats. Another political truism is that votes favoring Democrats trend later than votes favoring Republicans, especially in California.

Sue Zwahlen, Ted Howze, and Mike Barkley

Ted Howze asks, “What are the odds that thousands of ‘no propensity voters’…suddenly decided to vote again in…2018 after years of not doing so?” Actually, the odds are 100%, because that’s by definition what happens when there’s a record turnout.

The fact is, Ted Howze’s claim of voter fraud depends on the belief that hundreds of Democratic “collaborators” were not only willing to risk voter fraud convictions (and the consequent jail times and fines) but were capable of running from poll to poll and forging signatures on Election Day and have all remained silent since, not just in California Congressional District 10, but in every come-from-behind election in the state. Maybe Howze’s professional statisticians can offer the odds on that improbable statistic.

Ted Howze has already declared himself a candidate for Congress in 2020, but his willingness to join the likes of Donald Trump and cast aside long-established norms of due process, rules of evidence, and the discourse standards that mark the distinctions between a civil society and a criminal oligarchy disqualifies him.

Of course, Howze can always redeem himself with proof Democrats stole the elections he claims they stole, but we’re betting Ted Howze has no proof. Like Donald Trump, Howze is counting on a credulous press and an army of trolls to spread his lies. Instead, responsible citizens, and especially journalists, should expose Howze’s slimy tactics and join in condemning them at every opportunity.

Eric Caine
Eric Caine
Eric Caine formerly taught in the Humanities Department at Merced College. He was an original Community Columnist at the Modesto Bee, and wrote for The Bee for over twelve years.
Comments should be no more than 350 words. Comments may be edited for correctness, clarity, and civility.


  1. The Ceres Courier gives attention to this moron and other fanciful backasswards theories on social events as if they are informed by wack talk radio.Please form a group of conscientious journalists to buy their lying ass paper

  2. I recommend Howse go to Georgia and North Carolina to observe genuine voter fraud in action; all of it perpetrated by Republicans.
    It probably goes without saying that those who make constant and extreme accusations are themselves perpetrating or wishing they could, the very actions they accuse others of.

  3. Denham did not get a majority of the total votes cast in the primary. A majority of voters voted against him.
    Republican registration was not more than fifty percent of the voters in the district at the time of the general election.
    When more than fifty percent of those voting do not vote for an incumbent, the logical conclusion is that the incumbent would not win in the general election.
    Absent any proof of actual voter fraud, such an allegation is the equivalent of blowing smoke.
    The only fraud is the allegation that voter fraud took place in the tenth district.

  4. This is a quality critique, Eric, and right on target. I want to reply, but I’m unsure of the rules:

    1. Can I use profanity to comment on weak conspiracy theories?
    2. Can I use profanity to describe republican voter suppression tactics?
    3. Can I use profanity to describe the current president, who stimulates these lame outbursts?
    4. Can I use profanity to lament the moral legitimacy of human existence?
    5. If Kanye West wins the 2020 presidential election and I perform ritual suicide over these things, will it earn me a ten second spot on CNN? And if so, will my manifesto be read verbatim if it is full of profanity?

    I don’t know how you do it, but I’m glad you do. It’s all a muddle to me.

    • JT: Fascinating questions. Let me say only that Ted Howze is a large animal veterinarian and his ready access to bull and horse shite offered some very tempting motifs I ultimately rejected. Decorum.

  5. Several other things influenced the outcome. A number of progressive activists started meeting and working after the 2o16 election. Swing Left, Indivisible and others canvassed for weeks in all the towns. Calls were made from Harden’s headquarters and from homes. Postcards were mailed to remind people to vote. 900 people met one day to canvas out of a private home in Turlock. Indivisible canvassed Ceres three Saturdays with good results. Josh had a very devoted team at his headquarters who worked long hours.
    Absentee ballots were counted later and I know most of the people mentioned above voted absentee.
    It helped Josh to have 16 townhall meetings held in large halls, supporters homes and an orchard for his meeting with farmers.
    My desire is for you to send your column to The Ceres Courier. I doubt that it will be published but it might make Jeff Benzinger look at the original story and realize it was all conjecture and no supporting evidence.
    The facts are that Harder and team worked for his win.


    The county made a settlement last week with Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest group, under a recent Supreme Court ruling, Los Angeles County has a duty to remove names of people who appear to have died, and either moved from the county or lost interest in voting.

    Judicial Watch said it targeted Los Angeles after finding the county’s total voter population was higher than the number of people the Census Bureau estimates to be citizens of voting age in the county, (THAT’S TRUE FOR THE ENTIRE STATE) which Judicial Watch said has a 101 percent registration rate for its eligible adult population. The AVERAGE is around 80-85% in most states.

    While much of the national debate about voter fraud is on in-person abuses, the bigger problem is fraudulent double-voting, which can happen if someone is still getting a ballot or registered at their old residence, while also being registered and voting at their new home and Ballot Harvesting.

    Los Angeles’s County’s inactive voter file is a major potential source for mischief.
    In a small District like California’s 10 and other California Districts, a few hundred votes make the difference.

    California under Democratic Control has turned into a State I know longer know, as they rig the elections; by changing the primary to accept only the top two names on the General Election, Allowing anyone to register, waving registration validation for DMV Applications, Gerrymandering Republican Districts, Ballot Harvesting & who knows what else they will try? 90% of the media supports the Democratic Party. The Dems out spend the Republican by around 3 to 1 in dollars and they have a huge well-funded organization, bringing in large numbers of paid workers to canvas Districts… I know firsthand when I tried to run for a local office.

    YES, I think mischief is in play in most of the State.

  7. Ah wacked demo-creations wrote this….lol….actually he was correct, Demo-creations like to stir the pot of lies on top of more lies. Geez just look at who you have a bunch of socialist muslims and payers of terroritst groups…..get a grib! What has the demo creations done for you lately….ZIP…as in RIP you party will LOSE with a big L. Voting for Trump again and again and again! The economy is doing better than it has in 50 years. He is making agreement with other countries pro United States, not there country…READ demo-creations READ, do searches and you will find the truth!

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