Lawmakers Seek to Restore Voter Confidence after Trump Tweets about “Rigged” Election
The presidential election will be rigged, Donald Trump has warned his supporters. He has suggested they man polling sites to screen for any fraud. It’s a charge Trump has been hurling for months, one that he is doubling down on, as election day nears and his poll numbers remain behind Hillary Clinton’s. On the Sunday talk shows, and in interviews with media outlets, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have countered Trump’s “rigged” rhetoric and sought to underscore the importance of trusting America’s democratic promise.
Trump’s latest missive came via Twitter on Sunday:
The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary – but also at many polling places – SAD
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 16, 2016
Representatives of both parties–including a number of Republican secretaries of state–have renounced Trump’s skepticism. “It is so irresponsible because what he’s doing really goes to the heart of our democracy,” Trey Grayson, a Republican and former secretary of state of Kentucky told The New York Times. “What is great about America is that we change our leaders at the ballot box, not by bullets.”
According to an Associated Press poll conducted earlier this month, some Trump supporters, and registered Republicans in general, are also wary of voter fraud. The survey found that of the Republicans who were polled, 49 percent believe there is a “great deal of fraud” in U.S. elections, while only 11 percent said there is “hardly any fraud.” Those percentages are considerably lower among Democrats: 22 percent think there is a a “great deal of fraud” in U.S. elections, and 36 percent said there is “hardly any fraud.”
Given that Republicans, according to the figures in the AP poll, seem to have less confidence in the coming election, Trump preemptively calling the presidential election “one big fix” and “one big, ugly lie,” could underscore that distrust. Trump’s running mate, Governor Mike Pence (R-IN), sent an assuring message on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, where he said he and Trump “will absolutely accept the result of the election.” Though he also called the election “rigged.”
Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2016
So is there any truth to Trump’s voter fraud claims? Recent studies have shown no evidence to support widespread voter fraud, or even any amount of voter fraud that could sway an election any one way. One study examined 2,068 alleged-cases of voter fraud between 2000 and 2012, and found that only 10 of those were voter impersonation cases. Another analysis, conducted by a professor at Loyola Law School in 2014, found only 31 cases of voter impersonation in over one billion ballots cast in all elections (general, primary, special, and municipal) from 2000 to 2014.
Paul Ryan, who has ceased campaigning with Trump and has all but officially withdrawn his endorsement, is also at odds with his party’s torchbearer on this issue. A statement through his spokeswoman said: “Our democracy relies on confidence in election results, and the speaker is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity.”