By Jonathan Van Niel
As his poll numbers have dwindled throughout the tail-end of his campaign, presidential candidate Donald Trump has made a series of statements claiming that the election is “rigged.”
Trump’s efforts to delegitimize the electoral process hinge on his assertion that voter fraud is running a muck.
“So many cities are corrupt and voter fraud is very, very common,” Trump said at a rally in Green Bay.
Trump claims “people that have died 10 years ago are still voting,” citing a Pew Research report that found 1.8 million deceased people remain on voter registration rolls. But the report did not find any evidence of rampant voter fraud.
But facts have rarely – if at all – deterred Trump from making outlandish accusations.
During a meeting with representatives from the National Border Patrol Council on Oct. 7, Trump said the United States is “letting people pour into the country so they can go and vote.”
To assume that undocumented immigrants are lining up in droves at the polls to cast their ballots is both a grotesque generalization of noncitizens and a grave mischaracterization of our electoral process.
For clarity sake, yes, voter fraud does occur, and yes, even noncitizens are sometimes able to register. But this does not happen anywhere near the rate Trump asserts.
According to Victoria Taft, a reporter for the Independent Journal Review, there have been 14 cases of voter fraud this year.
To place that number within a more reasonable context, the National Weather Service reports that 36 people have died from being struck by lightning as of Sept. 25.
In spite of the statistical unlikelihood of rampant voter fraud, Trump has urged his supporters to monitor polls to prevent it from happening.
“Watch other communities, because we don’t want this election stolen from us,” Trump said.
Having a group of Trump supporters monitoring polls doesn’t prevent voter fraud – it is merely a tactic used to intimidate those who disagree with Trump’s platform. Impeding on another voter’s freedom fundamentally contradicts upholding the electoral process’s integrity.
Perhaps the most ironic case of voter fraud that has arose this year is of Iowa resident Terri Lynn Rote.
She voted twice for Donald Trump.