In his persistent determination to gin up distrust of the integrity of the vote counting process across the country, Donald Trump is going to get people in trouble. We have already seen one Trump supporter charged with voter fraud this month for attempting to vote twice. Not to be deterred from his “Rigged!” dog-whistle, the Republican nominee doubled down at a campaign stop in Greeley, Colorado on Sunday appears to be actively advocating that his supporters vote twice.
Trump’s comments, which are available below, lack the typical nuance that would allow someone to vote more than once in an election; most notably is that once an elections official receives a ballot, it cannot be changed.
Trump in Greeley, CO on voting: “Now, in some places they probably do that four or five times but we don’t do that. But that’s great. “ pic.twitter.com/axpHoifJuG
— Sopan Deb (@SopanDeb) October 30, 2016
Suggesting to voters that they complete and turn in more than one ballot — you know, just in case — not only creates a mess for local officials to figure out but could get more voters who believe Trump and his surrogates that their vote will not count because of rigging, in serious trouble. Federal penalties alone for voter fraud are up to and including five years in federal prison and a $10,000 fine.
The imperative in Trump’s view of engendering the idea that a loss on November 8th is the result of a rigged election probably seems worth it to him.
The idea that votes are regularly rigged for one candidate or another is honestly laughable to anyone who knows what goes on at the precinct/town/county level on Election Day. As someone who has volunteered with the Decision Desk HQ for nearly every election since 2013, building contacts and learning about how each town or county functions across this vast nation, I can attest to how decentralized our voting system is. The number of elections officials (from precinct wardens to county clerks to secretaries of state) that would have to be in on rigging the final result of an election would be legion.
As mentioned above, voter fraud is real and does happen, but not in numbers significant enough to affect the national Presidential election.
Once again this is a case of Donald Trump being reckless in his speech. If Donald Trump loses next Tuesday, the fault lies with him and his campaign, not with the hapless voter who believes his rhetoric.