Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

While Trump Warns of Vote Fraud, Experts Say It's Rare

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

While Trump Warns of Vote Fraud, Experts Say It's Rare

Article excerpt

On Twitter, Donald Trump said: "Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day."

In the third presidential debate on Wednesday he said that he would "keep you in suspense" about whether he would accept results of the Nov. 8 election.

Experts say there has never been evidence of the type of election rigging that Trump has obsessed over.

Voter fraud happens, just not on the scale that could swing a presidential election. For example, a Post-Dispatch investigation last month pointed to irregularities in absentee voting in the Democratic primary for a state House seat. A judge ordered a new election because the St. Louis Election Board accepted 142 absentee ballots without envelopes.

Absentee ballot manipulation is rare, but it's still the most common type of election fraud. It can occur in a tight local election, when dozens of votes could swing the result, said Rick Hasen, an election law expert and professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine, who also organizes the Election Law Blog.

In perhaps the most extreme case, thousands of absentee ballots were fraudulently cast in the mayoral race in Miami in 1998.

A scheme to fix a presidential election in a battleground state would take thousands of votes. Despite Trump's comments, John Hancock, chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, said he's not concerned about that.

"I don't think there is the kind of widespread, multimillion- vote fraud that occurs in this country," he said, "precisely because elections are administered at the local level."

About the GOP nominee's vote-fraud allegations, Hancock said he couldn't speak for Trump. But he said Trump's campaign has been clear that the comments about the election being "rigged" are in response to his opinion that the news media is biased in favor of Hillary Clinton.

Studies show that many Americans are worried about voter fraud.

In a 2012 Washington Post poll, 48 percent of respondents said voter fraud was a major problem and 33 percent said it was a minor problem. Polling during the 2014 elections showed that substantial percentages of Americans continued to believe voter fraud was a problem. …

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