Election officials push back on Trump's 'rigged' claims

2016-09-08 21:37


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Atlanta — Election officials across the country are pushing back against Donald Trump's assertions that the presidential election may be rigged, arguing that too many safeguards exist against engineered results nationally or in individual states.

Claims of "rigged" contests are "part of free speech", Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican, said in an interview. "But I would tell voters not to overreact to some of the more spirited language."

It's clear, though, that some supporters have taken Trump's comments to heart. Trump told a town hall crowd in Columbus, Ohio last month: "I'm afraid the election is going to be rigged; I have to be honest," without elaborating.

In recent weeks, voters have linked the GOP nominee's remarks to attacks on two states' voter registration databases and questions surrounding the security of electronic voting machines.

A clear divide remains between Democrats and Republicans on the prevalence of in-person voting fraud, sharpened by recent court rulings against voter identification laws in several states, including North Carolina. Appeals court judges in the North Carolina suit said state officials didn't provide evidence of in-person fraud they claim strict identification requirements will prevent. Researchers also have found few cases of fraud in years of study.

‘I understand the anxiety’

Asked in Dalton, Georgia, about his views on voter fraud, Trump's running mate, Mike Pence, told a woman that "scepticism is well-founded but the response ought to be action". He then segued into a defence of voter identification laws. The day before in Perry, Georgia, Pence recommended that a person with similar concerns about election results get involved as a local precinct poll worker.

Pence didn't mention the "Trump Election Observer" registration system on the campaign's official site, in which they call for volunteers to stop "Crooked Hillary," as he calls his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, "from rigging this election".

"I understand the anxiety that people feel, and we've seen instances of voter fraud in this country over the last ten to twenty years," Pence told the crowd.

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Republican, said he's not concerned about results being effectively changed by Election Day shenanigans. But he remains supportive of the Southern state's still-active law requiring identification at the polls, and says it will ensure no one can vote unless eligible.

"I'd tell Donald Trump or anyone else, that we're not going to stand for a rigged system in Georgia," Kemp said.

Election systems used to cast and count ballots are different from other targets of cyber-attacks this year, including the Democratic National Committee and voter registration databases in Arizona and Illinois. Officials around the country say they're prepared for any attempted attacks. But they recognise any problems in the nine weeks remaining before Election Day give fuel to sceptics.

"I don't sense a groundswell of the public panicking or questioning the results," California's Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. "It's been such a dramatic campaign cycle, especially at the presidential level, that at times it's difficult to separate genuine concern from the political rhetoric."

Lack of knowledge

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson said her office plans to coach local officials for interactions with any sceptical voters. Lawson, a Republican, said more information will ensure that nobody stays home this fall out of disgust or fear.

"I hate the fact that people are questioning whether the outcome of an election could be rigged," Lawson said.

Election officials should open their doors to the public long before in-person voting starts, said Whitney May of the Center for Technology and Civic Life. The Chicago non-profit encourages election agencies to use email lists, social media and public events to teach people about the process.

"Your own personal experience with government is everything, whether it's an election or the DMV," May said.

After the FBI warned last week that hackers had targeted voter registration data in two states, officials around the country publicised their efforts to keep those databases and separate voting systems secure, detailing tests and other checks that happen before, during and after each election.

In Connecticut, for example, Secretary of State Denise Merrill called a press conference to cover her agency's rules for voting machines, which include never connecting the devices to the internet.

"There is a lack of knowledge generally about how elections work," Merrill, a Democrat, said. "People know the basics but no one has really pulled the curtain back."

Read more on:    donald trump  |  hillary clinton  |  us  |  us 2016 elections

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


5 scientific benefits of owning a cat

According to science, just the act of watching cats itself can bring about positive emotions – so it comes as no surprise then, that owning a cat has a number of benefits.



Why we love cats
8 great natural remedies for your pet
How to clean your dog’s eyes
This special pooch inspired his brother to learn to stand again
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.