Trump ramps up voter fraud claim, slams women ac­cusers

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WASH­ING­TON: Repub­li­can can­di­date Don­ald Trump said yes­ter­day he ex­pected wide­spread voter fraud in the Nov 8 US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, ramp­ing up his warn­ing of a rigged elec­tion with­out pro­vid­ing any ev­i­dence and de­spite nu­mer­ous stud­ies that show the elec­toral sys­tem is sound. Trump has tried to whip up fears of a flawed elec­tion as he has fallen back in opinion polls against Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton. He is also strongly deny­ing al­le­ga­tions from mul­ti­ple women that he has sex­u­ally as­saulted or oth­er­wise be­haved in­ap­pro­pri­ately with them.

“Of course there is large scale voter fraud hap­pen­ing on and be­fore elec­tion day. Why do Repub­li­can lead­ers deny what is go­ing on? So naive!” Trump said on Twit­ter yes­ter­day. Trump, a New York busi­ness­man mak­ing his first run for public of­fice, has wor­ried a num­ber of Repub­li­cans over his al­le­ga­tions of elec­tion fraud. Some of them have urged him pub­licly to show proof or drop the as­ser­tions. Early vot­ing and vot­ing by mail have be­gun in many states.

While Trump’s vice pres­i­den­tial run­ning mate, Mike Pence, and his cam­paign man­ager, Kellyanne Con­way, have tried to re­shape the can­di­date’s com­ments as be­ing aimed at an un­fair news me­dia, Trump’s own words have tar­geted the le­git­i­macy of the elec­tion sys­tem. Even after Pence said in a tele­vised in­ter­view on Sun­day that Trump would ac­cept the re­sults of next month’s elec­tion, Trump tweeted that the “elec­tion is ab­so­lutely be­ing rigged by the dis­hon­est and dis­torted me­dia push­ing Crooked Hil­lary - but also at many polling places - SAD.”

Clin­ton is ly­ing low ahead of the fi­nal de­bate to­mor­row, ap­par­ently re­ly­ing on Trump self-de­struc­t­ing. “She is try­ing to avoid is­sues for the next 22 days in the hopes that this will just end up be­ing about Mr Trump,” Con­way told CNN yes­ter­day out­side Trump Tower in New York. Con­way also added fuel to her boss’ con­tention that the elec­tion could be stolen. “If there’s com­pelling ev­i­dence of voter fraud, ob­vi­ously as early vot­ing goes on... cer­tainly we would take ac­tion,” she said.

Trump has tried to por­tray Clin­ton, a for­mer US sen­a­tor and sec­re­tary of state, as a cor­rupt life­long politi­cian who is vested in pre­serv­ing the sta­tus quo. His cam­paign pounced on the re­lease yes­ter­day of FBI doc­u­ments that cited an FBI of­fi­cial as say­ing a se­nior State Depart­ment of­fi­cial sought to pres­sure the bureau in 2015 to drop its in­sis­tence that an email from Clin­ton’s pri­vate server con­tained clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion. Clin­ton’s de­ci­sion to use a pri­vate server while sec­re­tary of state from 2009-13 has drawn crit­i­cism that she was care­less with na­tional se­cu­rity.

The coun­try’s top elected Repub­li­can, House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Speaker Paul Ryan, has tried to counter Trump’s mes­sage about elec­tion fraud. Spokes­woman Ash­Lee Strong said yes­ter­day that Ryan “is fully con­fi­dent the states will carry out this elec­tion with in­tegrity”. Ryan last week dis­tanced him­self from Trump, say­ing he was go­ing to fo­cus his elec­tion cam­paign ef­forts on try­ing to pre­serve the Repub­li­can ma­jori­ties in Congress.

In the tra­di­tion­ally closely fought state of Ohio, the top elec­tions of­fi­cial, a Repub­li­can, said con­cerns about wide­spread voter fraud were sim­ply not jus­ti­fied. “I can re­as­sure Don­ald Trump: I am in charge of elec­tions in Ohio and they’re not go­ing to be rigged, I’ll make sure of that,” Ohio Sec­re­tary of State Jon Husted told CNN. Nu­mer­ous stud­ies have shown that voter fraud in US elec­tions is very rare, ac­cord­ing to the Bren­nan Cen­ter for Jus­tice at New York Univer­sity School of Law. In a re­port ti­tled “The Truth About Voter Fraud,” the cen­ter cited voter fraud in­ci­dent rates be­tween 0.00004 per­cent and 0.0009 per­cent.

An Au­gust study by The Wash­ing­ton Post found 31 cred­i­ble cases of im­per­son­ation fraud out of more than 1 bil­lion votes cast in elec­tions from 2000 to 2014. Ari­zona State Univer­sity stud­ies in 2012 and 2016 found sim­i­larly low rates. “De­spite this over­whelm­ing ev­i­dence, claims that voter fraud is ram­pant con­sis­tently gar­ner me­dia at­ten­tion, be­cause per­ceived threats to elec­toral in­tegrity - even those with no ba­sis in fact - frighten vot­ers by strik­ing at the core of our democ­racy,” Bren­nan Cen­ter coun­sel Jen­nifer Clark wrote in a blog last month.

Clin­ton cam­paign man­ager Robby Mook told re­porters that Trump’s as­sault on the vot­ing sys­tem was an act of des­per­a­tion. “He knows he’s los­ing and is try­ing to blame that on the sys­tem. This is what losers do,” Mook told re­porters. “It’s not true. The sys­tem is not rigged.” The Real Clear Politics av­er­age of na­tional opinion polls put Clin­ton cur­rently lead­ing Trump by 5.5 per­cent­age points, at 47.7 per­cent sup­port to his 42.5 per­cent.

Trump’s cam­paign has been strug­gling with sex­ual mis­con­duct al­le­ga­tions from sev­eral women since a 2005 video­tape emerged on Oct 7 show­ing him boast­ing about grop­ing and mak­ing other un­wanted sex­ual ad­vances on women. “Can’t be­lieve these to­tally phony sto­ries, 100% made up by women (many al­ready proven false) and pushed big time by press, have im­pact!”Trump said in another Twit­ter post yes­ter­day. Trump has re­peat­edly de­nied the al­le­ga­tions but has not pro­vided any proof they are false. — Agen­cies

— AFP

NEW YORK: Ac­tivists rally dur­ing a protest against Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Don­ald Trump over his ‘treat­ment of women’ in front of Trump Tower yes­ter­day.

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