National: Data Shows Trump’s Election-Rigging Claim is Unlikely | Government Technology

August 25, 2016

At a campaign rally in Altoona, Pa., on Aug. 12 [Trump] alleged that a poor showing could only mean one thing: “The only way we can lose, in my opinion — I really mean this, Pennsylvania — is if cheating goes on. I really believe it.” Trump said, alluding to political subterfuge from the Clinton campaign. Since that rally, Trump has held to these assertions of foul play while his critics have cast them as highly dangerous for the democratic process. However, for those close to the matter — voting officials and voters’ rights groups — the conspiracy theory is a bit bewildering. Pamela Smith, the president of, is among these. Her organization — a nonpartisan voting advocacy, accountability and research group — has gained notoriety since it was founded in 2003 for its work tracking election tech, legislation and voting procedures. In this time, Smith said incidents of voter fraud and rigged elections have been nearly nonexistent. “It’s frustrating because I think a lot of people may get the mistaken impression that there are some major areas of vulnerability,“ Smith said. “But they may not be aware of things election officials do already, or the true scope of the issue.” A look at current and historical data, said Smith, indicates that the potential for cheating is uniquely limited. Voter ID fraud is nearly nonexistent; purchasing votes is too tricky to cover up, at least at a national or county level; and hacking voting machines and software is ineffectual since usage of the systems is low and controlled. “Because our elections are really decentralized, it’s also not like there’s a single point of vulnerability out of 9,000 jurisdictions we have in the U.S.,” Smith said.

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