'Practical World' True News Magazine by American Road Radio

'Practical World' True News Magazine by American Road Radio
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#Election2016 : Translating Donald Trump's voter fraud talk into reality

It is with a heavy heart that I must announce that Donald Trump is at it again.

After an apparently staff-mandated hiatus from Twitter, the Republican presidential nominee's official Twitter account has been sending tweets from an Android device, a good sign that it came from Trump himself. On Tuesday afternoon, it offered this tweet:


You would be justified in being a bit baffled by the contents of the tweet. Utah officials are saying ... there are problems across the entire country? How do they know that?

Well, they don't. There's one county in Utah, Washington County, in which a number of voting machines were having significant problems, forcing voters to use paper ballots. Votes were still cast, and there was no evidence of any fraud (as there almost never is). The problem being discussed on CNN was isolated to the county that tallied the fifth-most votes in the state in 2012, 50,000 in total. That year, those votes made up 0.03 percent of all votes cast nationally. Not what you'd call a widespread problem.

Why did Trump suggest it was a national problem? Well, it seems likely that he misread a chyron on CNN.

But he also tweeted it because he is continuing to insinuate that the vote is being rigged on Election Day.

Earlier, he appeared on Fox News to discuss the day's voting.

"It's largely a rigged system. And you see it at the polling booths, too," he said. "There are reports that when people vote for Republicans the entire ticket switches over to Democrats. You've seen that. It's happening at various places today. It's been reported. In other words, the machines, you put down a Republican and it registers as a Democrat. They've had a lot of complaints about that today."

Not that we've seen. Washington Post reporters have been tracking reports of voting irregularities, and note one report from outside Pittsburgh of machines switching votes -- but that was a bug in the machine that was addressed. Voting machines, like those in Utah, are often flaky and problematic (we've been seeing reports like this for some time). There's nothing to suggest that what's at play isn't simply government infrastructure being subpar and crappy, something Trump has railed against in other contexts.

"These machines are just degrading," said Wendy Weiser of the Brennan Center for Justice, which tracks concerns about the voting process.

On a radio show Tuesday morning, Trump offered a vaguer warning about vote fraud, as CBS' Sopan Deb notes.

The "Chicago voting is rife with fraud" theme is a long-standing pillar of arguments that in-person voter fraud is rampant, which it isn't. Trump is referring to a comment President Obama made on the campaign trail in 2008, when he pointed out Chicago's history in response to a question from a voter worried about the election being stolen. The question came in Ohio, where members of Obama's party were worried that the election four years earlier in the state had been rigged for President George W. Bush. There's no evidence it was.

There's no evidence that significant fraud is happening this year, either. Trump likes to point to Philadelphia, implying that a dearth of votes for Republican Mitt Romney in some precincts there in 2012 was the result of fraud. Election officials thoroughly dismissed that charge. The real problem was that Romney simply wasn't very popular in the heavily Democratic (and heavily black) precincts at issue.

That's the problem with democracy: It's built to show you which of two options people like better. And that's certainly part of what's driving Trump's fraud complaints today. Better that the machines are broken than to accept that millions of people like Hillary Clinton better than you.
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