Officials Fight Donald Trump’s Claims of a Rigged Vote

Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 10.34.17 AMJONATHAN MARTIN


Monday, October 17, 2016

Good Monday morning.
Republican leaders and election officials from both parties sought on Sunday to combat claims by Donald J. Trump that the election is rigged against him, amid signs that Mr. Trump’s contention is eroding confidence in the vote and setting off talk of rebellion among his supporters.
In a vivid illustration of how Mr. Trump is shattering American political norms, the Republican nominee is alleging that the news media and the Democratic Party are conspiring to commit a vast election fraud. He has offered no evidence to support his claim.
“The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary — but also at many polling places — SAD,” Mr. Trump wrote of Hillary Clinton on Twitter on Sunday.
Mr. Trump made the assertion hours after his running mate, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, tried to play down questions about the fairness of the election. Mr. Pence said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he and Mr. Trump “will absolutely accept the result of the election.”
Mr. Trump’s words appear to be having an effect on his supporters, and they are setting off deep concern among civil rights groups. According to an Associated Press poll last month, only a third of Republicans said they had a great deal of confidence that their votes would be counted fairly. And election officials are worried that Mr. Trump’s continued pressing of the issue could dampen turnout or cause his supporters to deny the legitimacy of the results if he loses.
Last week, Mr. Trump called the presidential election “one big fix” and “one big, ugly lie.”
Jon A. Husted, the secretary of state of Ohio, said it was “wrong and engaging in irresponsible rhetoric” for any candidate to question the integrity of elections without evidence. Mr. Husted, a Republican, said he would have no reason to hesitate to certify the results of the election.
American elections are, unlike those in many other democracies, largely decentralized, rendering the possibility of large-scale fraud extraordinarily unlikely. Further, the balloting in many of the hardest fought states will be overseen by Republican officials, who would be highly unlikely to consent to helping Mrs. Clinton rig the vote.
Mr. Trump’s claims, a little more than three weeks before the election, are once again forcing elected Republicans into a difficult spot as they try to balance offering assurances of the integrity of the election while not undercutting a standard-bearer many of their voters fervently support.
A couple watched the first debate between Donald J. Trump and Hillary Clinton through windows in Times Square last month.

George Etheredge for The New York Times

As the run for president veered to Donald J. Trump’s treatment of women, and whether Bill Clinton’s was worse, Americans collectively shook their heads.

Hillary Clinton campaigning last week in Seattle.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

She told a Goldman Sachs event in 2013 that she had no problem acting secretly inside Syria if that course provided the best chance of success.

Damaged campaign signs on Sunday at the Orange County Republican Party headquarters in Hillsborough, N.C.

Jonathan Drew/Associated Press

Graffiti painted nearby depicted a swastika and the warning, “Nazi Republicans leave town or else.”

Jen Hatmaker, an evangelical motivational speaker, on Saturday in Tampa, Fla. She typically shies from politics but recently called Donald J. Trump a “national disgrace.”

Loren Elliott for The New York Times

While most of the religious right’s old guard has chosen to stand by Donald J. Trump, its judgment and authority are being challenged by evangelicals who are younger, minorities and women.

On the Trail

Before the final debate on WednesdayMrs. Clinton is off the trail, as is her running mate, Tim Kaine.
Mr. Trump has one rally, in Green Bay, Wis., and his running mate, Mr. Pence, will be in Ohio for two events.
An attendee at a Trump campaign rally in West Palm Beach, Fla., last Thursday.

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Former President Bill Clinton at a presidential campaign event for Hillary Clinton on Friday. The Clinton Foundation’s ties to foreign governments and financiers have long been fodder for Mrs. Clinton’s critics.

Ty Wright for The New York Times

An email, released by WikiLeaks, indicated that representatives from the Persian Gulf country hoped to meet with Bill Clinton to present him with $1 million for the foundation.

Hillary Clinton during a fund-raiser in California last week.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Mrs. Clinton has been scarred by old missteps and paralyzed by her husband’s history of facing accusations of sexual misconduct.

Cheryl Mills, left, with Hillary Clinton, then the secretary of state, attended the grand opening of a new industrial park in Haiti in October 2012.

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What We’re Reading Elsewhere

USA Today writes that The Arizona Republic has been getting death threats since its conservative editorial board endorsed Mrs. Clinton.
NBC News says that Republican leaders in Arizona are warning that the state could turn Mrs. Clinton’s way. Mr. Trump, however, continues to hold a small lead in state polls.
Daniel Horowitz argues in the Conservative Review that if Mrs. Clinton defeats Mr. Trump, conservatives will need to form a new political party.