The Cost of Imprisonment for Trump’s Voter Fraudsters

The Cost of Imprisonment for Trump’s Voter Fraudsters

There is a voter fraud case in Texas, where the poor lady involved was sentenced to an incredible eight years in prison for two instances of fraudulent voting. In many states, the penalty for voter fraud is at most a year in prison, but this is usually never enforced, since it is not a crime that directly harms anyone. Since Texas is a solidly Republican state, the votes were not likely to matter anyway. Especially since the voter was a Republican. She lived here since she was a child, but was not born here, and so she was not legally entitled to vote.

President Trump is convinced that there were 3 to 5 million illegal votes cast against him, which were cast just to cause him to lose the popular vote. Which, by the way, did not matter in winning the electoral vote and making Trump president. Let’s assume that the punishment for every one of these millions of supposed illegal voters was four years in prison. That means 20 million prison years for the 5,000,ooo illegal voters.

The national average cost of imprisonment is $31,000 a year, back in 2014. The most expensive state is New York, where it is $60,000 per year. In New York City it is $168,000 a year. Texas is only $17,000 a year. In California, it is $71,000 a year. Trump probably thinks that most of the illegal votes were in California and Texas. Trump would think that keeping them in jail for four years would be the only way to make sure that he wins the popular vote in his re-election. We’ll go with $30,000 a year, to make the calculation transparent. So 20 million prison years at $30,000 a year gives a total expense of $600 billion dollars. This is the defense budget for one year. But it does protect us from those dangerous illegal voters for four years.  Let’s consider the per capita cost of this confinement.  With 300 million Americans, the per capita cost of $600 billion dollars is $2,000 per American.  Quite a cost to satisfy Texas politicians or Trump’s ego.

There is also the roundup question. President Obama deported about four million illegal aliens with criminal records, and there are only about one million left with criminal records. If they take a year to deport, arresting and trying the 5 million illegal voters, would take five times the force. Also 2.2 million people were in jail in 2013. We would have to make over twice as much new prison space available for Trump’s illegal voters, which would be very expensive. Trump could probably easily estimate the cost, since he is a master builder. After four years, Trump could convert them to luxury retreats from the hectic life we all lead now. Anyway, the food would be better than frogs legs.

You might look on this as a satire on the seriousness and length of the Texas sentence, or on a President who has delusions of grandeur or such an inferiority complex that he replaces the real world with his imaginary world. Since Trump has continually ignored due process, as in his Muslim ban order, people are concerned that he might actually detain people or defund cities, states, universities, etc., at his whim for imaginary violations. So this is not a satire, it is a reductio ad absurdum for our present predicament.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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