State rep debunks Trump voter fraud claims

Angelo Angel

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump voiced concerns during last week’s presidential debate about the election the possibility of the election being rigged against him, claiming the voter registry was filled with millions of illegitimate voters.
 
“If you look at your voter rolls, you will see millions of people that are registered to vote — millions, this isn’t coming from me,” he said. “This is coming from Pew report and other places — millions of people that are registered to vote that shouldn’t be registered to vote.

The report Trump attributes to is a 2012 Pew Center study where it found approximately 24 million voter-registration records in the U.S. were inaccurate, 2.8 million people were registered in two or more states and 1.8 million registered voters were deceased.

An analysis conducted in August 2012 by News21 — a student reporting project based at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism — found that out of 146 million registered voters in the United States, only 10 cases were discovered to be instances of voter fraud.
 
“We have our presidential candidate on the Republican side saying that the election will be rigged and that there will be widespread fraud at the polls.” said Ohio State Rep. Kathleen Clyde. “But there’s just no evidence that voter fraud happens in Ohio or in any other states.”
 
Clyde added it would be best to look into Trump’s assertions, and to assure the individuals who voice concern over voter fraud that there is no substantial evidence to their claims.
 
When asked about the Republican nominee’s calls to his supporters to monitor the polls on Election Day, Clyde said that it’s important to assure voters that casting ballots should be a smooth process and shouldn’t be slowed down by individuals with questionable fears. 

When it comes to identifying what constitutes as voter fraud, Theresa Nielsen, deputy director of the Portage County Board of Elections, said voter fraud occurs “anytime a voter doesn’t vote their own ballot, falsify identification information or attempts to vote out of their county.”

Voter fraud should be identified, Nielsen said, and the individual committing fraud must knowingly be aware of their actions.

Nielsen said Trump’s comments discredit the work she and her staff put into assuring the ballots are legitimate.

“It does feel like it’s a personal attack because we take our jobs here very seriously,” she said. “We have multiple checks to ensure that the ballots aren’t compromised.”

 The board has a two-person system to ensure voter fraud within the board of election remains nonexistent, Nielsen said. Two individuals open the absentee ballots —  a Democrat and a Republican —  so even if one individual were to conspire to commit fraud, the other would be able to keep that person in check.

Katie Moorman, president of the Kent State Political Science Club, also feels Trump’s statements of the election being rigged and imploring his supporters to monitor the polls is concerning. 

“You’ve never had a candidate who pushed people to the polls to defend them,” she said. “Let’s say, for example, that some of … (Trump) supporters do get organized; I fear for states that have open carry laws, where I think that some intimidation could be go on.”

Moorman said it wouldn’t be conducive to what a free and fair election should be if individuals motivated by Trump’s statements show up at the polls out of fear of voter fraud. 

“If someone who waits until Election Day to go to the polls and sees these people who are monitoring the polls can be intimidated,” Moorman said. “it could lead to them thinking that voting isn’t worth it.” 

Angelo Angel is a senior reporter, contact him at [email protected]