01 Dollar bills - stock
CNN  — 

How’d you like to win $1 million? It’s easy! All you need to do is find some voter fraud in the 2020 election and send it to Texas Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick!

No, I am not kidding.

Patrick announced on Tuesday night that he was offering up to $1 million – paid out of his campaign account – for evidence that backed up President Donald Trump’s repeated claims that his loss to Joe Biden was the result of some sort of unnamed and unreported fraud or cheating.

“I support President Trump’s efforts to identify voter fraud in the presidential election and his commitment to making sure that every legal vote is counted and every illegal vote is disqualified,” Patrick said in explaining his $1 million vote-fraud bounty. “The delays in counting mail-in ballots in other states raises more questions about voter fraud and potential mistakes.”

The problem is that, well, there’s actually no proof of any widespread – or even narrow-spread – voter fraud in the just-concluded election.

The New York Times contacted election officials in every state over the past week and found, well, nothing in the way of election fraud.

“Top election officials across the country said in interviews and statements that the process had been a remarkable success despite record turnout and the complications of a dangerous pandemic,” wrote the Times.

Given that, here’s the best way to understand what Patrick is doing: He’s encouraging a fishing expedition.

Who wouldn’t try to dredge up some sort of “voter fraud” that would convince Patrick to dole out, if not the full $1 million, then maybe just a few thousand dollars?

This is plain bad. Especially when you consider that Trump and his allies have already pushed a number of debunked vote-fraud claims including ballots being burned and Republican poll watchers being kicked out of polling places in Detroit

Offering money to come up with more junk like this will lead many within Trump’s base to become even more convinced despite the facts that, yes, this is all being stolen from him (and them).

The Point: What Patrick is doing is unethical, yes. But it’s more than that. It actively undermines our democracy and the peaceful transition of power.