Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The election will NOT be ‘rigged’

The US election will NOT be rigged. In fact, it’s impossible to rig the US presidential election, so anyone—including Donald and his fervent fans—who claim otherwise either don’t know what they’re talking about or they’re flat out lying, end of story.

The video above is the latest from the Vlog Brothers’ John Green, and goes into great detail about why it’s impossible to rig the presidential election. It does a great job of explaining why this is, including some very simple and clear reasons.

First, the popular vote doesn’t elect the president, the Electoral College does. In order to win the presidency, a candidate has to win at least 270 Electoral Votes, and to do THAT, they need to win the largest number of votes—called a plurality—in enough states to add up to 270.

Each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia have their own election laws. But, it’s not merely 51 elections that have to be rigged, because each state is further divided into smaller units that administer elections (for example, in my native Illinois, it’s county clerks), and that's broken down further to thousands of polling places in individual states.

So, to “steal” an election, a conspiracy would have to rig the election in literally thousands of elections around the country, including areas controlled entirely by Republicans. This is utterly impossible.

In-person voter fraud—that is, where someone votes in place of someone else, living or dead, votes more than once, or votes without being eligible—is incredibly rare. In fact, the frequency of both the lightning strikes that John mentioned and also shark attacks is greater in a single year than in-person voter fraud has been for decades combined.

Absentee vote fraud happens at roughly ten times the frequency of in-person voter fraud, but even it is exceedingly rare, more like the frequency of lightning strikes/shark attacks—both of which are, of course, themselves extremely rare.

So, without people to commit voter fraud, there would have to be a massive conspiracy to somehow intercept and destroy ballots that are for the other candidate before they’re counted. That can’t happen. Or, they could somehow insert hundreds or perhaps thousands of pre-marked ballots into ballot boxes in counties throughout a state they want to “steal”, without anyone noticing. That, too, is impossible.

That leaves some sort of manipulation of voting machines in the places that use them. But there has never been a verified case of that actually happening. Such claims turned out to be simple, run-of-the-mill malfunction, or tinfoil hat conspiracy theories, utterly without supporting evidence.

But even if it was possible to somehow manipulate a voting machine, they’d have to do that in counties throughout a state they wanted to “steal”, and repeat that in enough states to ensure victory. Moreover, they'd also have to skew the results enough to ensure victory, but not so much that they'd attract attention. A polling place serving an electorate that's 98% Republican, for example, would be suspicious if it returned 98% of votes for the Democrat. At the same time, they'd have to ensure they had enough votes to cover for any unexpectedly high turnout—again, without having too many votes. That’s clearly not even remotely possible, especially when it would have to be replicated thousands of times.

The important point here is that the presidential election isn’t national, and it’s not even done in 50 states and DC: It’s done in hundreds or thousands of jurisdictions within each of those 50 states. That gives as close to 100% certainty as possible that the election will be free and fair.

When Donald and his surrogates deliberately lie about how the election will be “rigged”, that’s nothing less than an attack on the very Constitutional foundation upon which US democracy is built. Donald playing coy about whether he will participate in the 228-year-old tradition of the peaceful transfer of power is completely un-American. Inciting violence among his supporters for when he loses is seditious.

And speaking of sedition, Donald is also engaged in that when he incites his most frothing fans to interfere with the election, to disrupt the process and prevent lawful voters from exercising their constitutional right to vote. That’s where real election fraud could happen: Donald’s fans using intimidation and even violence to prevent people from lawfully voting.

But regardless of whether or not Donald’s fans behave themselves and obey the law, we know one thing for certain: The US presidential election will NOT be “rigged”.

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