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Monday, November 28, 2016

Was the election rigged?

First to introduce the idea that the American election system is rigged was President-elect, Donald Trump. That happened when he believed that he might lose.

Pundits and politicians mostly scoffed at the notion of large-scale voter fraud because the facts do not support those accusations. Another variable became apparent when WikiLeaks introduced private emails that they allegedly obtained through Russian sources. US Government Investigators confirmed that indications pointed to efforts by the Russians and sources close to Vladimir Putin to interfere in the American election process.

How were they doing that? First, evidence now shows that there was a concerted "fake news" campaign directed to undermine Hillary Clinton. Other, less conspicuous indicators lay in the cyber world where some computer experts believe that some outside source attempted to manipulate election results at voting locations in the US.

If any political party, elected official, or voters had any indication about the following, the proper action would be to call law enforcement and initiate legal action:

1. Donald Trump alleged widespread voter fraud.

2. Hillary Clinton alleged Russian interference in collaboration with WikiLeaks.

3. Both now claim possible manipulation of results and voter fraud.

Since Hillary Clinton conceded the election to Donald Trump, there are new data and evidence that characterize the process and cast doubt about the outcome.

1. The national vote tabulations indicate that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a significant margin.

2. Indications in some states where the vote count are statistically close point to possible irregularities.

President-elect Trump's response is mixed, claiming that he disputes the national tabulation and claims to be the victor of the popular vote. Why does it matter? It matters because a big win in the popular vote may constitute a mandate for Trump policies that he otherwise would not have.

Trump claims that the national count is inaccurate. If so, then he should call for a recount. He doesn't because he has already won the electoral college vote, and that is definitive.

However, if there is fraud, manipulation, or inaccuracies in competitive states, then a recount is warranted. Before moving on, part of the American process is to get the count correct.

It isn't so much a question about rigging as it is about getting an accurate count of the votes. Is there evidence of wrong-doing?

1 comment:

  1. Joshua A. Douglas is a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law who specializes in election law and voting rights. He is the co-editor of "Election Law Stories." He contributed to and volunteered for the Hillary Clinton campaign. Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaADouglas. The opinions expressed are his own.

    “There is absolutely no evidence of widespread voter fraud, much less that there were millions of illegal voters. It diminishes the office of the presidency for the president-elect to peddle these allegations. Although meaningless to the outcome, Trump lost the popular vote. Accusations of voter fraud or election tampering, with no evidence whatsoever, cause unnecessary frenzy and put the focus in a dangerous place: thinking we need to do something to cure election issues that do not exist.

    Similarly, the recount in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania are harmful because they make people believe something was amiss, with no evidence in support and no chance of changing the result.

    News that Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein has requested a recount in Wisconsin, and will likely do the same in Michigan and Pennsylvania, has raised faint hopes among Hillary Clinton supporters that somehow Donald Trump will not become the next president of the United States.

    Now that Clinton's campaign has said it will participate in the recount efforts, those supporters' hopes have been lifted even higher.

    To put the matter bluntly: They should give up that hope.

    Trump falsely claims 'millions of people who voted illegally' cost him popular vote
    Donald Trump falsely claims 'millions of people who voted illegally' cost him popular vote
    There is essentially zero chance that the recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania will change Trump's lead, which number in the thousands, not hundreds, in all three states. Trump is winning Wisconsin by a little more than 27,000 votes; his lead in Michigan sits at around 11,000; and his lead in Pennsylvania is insurmountable at over 68,000.

    This is not Florida 2000. On Election Night in 2000, George W. Bush held a 1,784 vote lead over Al Gore in Florida's election for president, representing just 0.031 percent of the 5.8 million votes cast in the state. After a recount -- which the US Supreme Court halted by a 5-4 vote -- Bush ultimately won Florida by 537 votes, securing the presidency. Yet even if the Court had allowed the recount to proceed, the margin would not have swung by much.”