Officials Fight Donald Trump’s Claims of a Rigged Vote

Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 10.34.17 AMJONATHAN MARTIN

ALEXANDER BURNS

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.
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George Etheredge for The New York Times
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MEDIATOR
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Ty Wright for The New York Times
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