Of­fi­cial pushes back against voter fraud talk

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - NEWS - By Marc Levy

Penn­syl­va­nia is im­mune from any al­le­ga­tion of voter fraud by Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Don­ald Trump, the state’s top elec­tions of­fi­cial de­clared Thurs­day, and Penn­syl­va­nia’s vot­ing ma­chines and tab­u­lat­ing sys­tems can’t be hacked be­cause they aren’t con­nected to the in­ter­net.

Sec­re­tary of the Com­mon­wealth Pe­dro Cortes, a Demo­crat, said claims of voter fraud are with­out proof in the mod­ern his­tory of Penn­syl­va­nia’s elec­tions.

“We run good elec­tions in Penn­syl­va­nia, we have done so his­tor­i­cally, we will do so again,” Cortes told re­porters at a Capi­tol news con­fer­ence.

He said ev­ery vot­ing ma­chine prints out an au­dit of votes cast on that ma­chine dur­ing the day, and copies are given to the judge of elec­tions and elected mi­nor­ity and ma­jor­ity in­spec­tors.

Elec­tion night re­port­ing of re­sults is run through a se­cured net­work that is not con­nected to the in­ter­net, Cortes said.

Cortes’ com­ments came in re­sponse to sug­ges­tions by Trump and oth­ers that elec­tion re­sults could be rigged, hacked or bent by voter fraud, such as by peo­ple cast­ing bal­lots in the name of dead peo­ple still on voter rolls.

Polls show Trump clearly trail­ing Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Hil­lary Clin­ton in Penn­syl­va­nia by mid- to high-sin­gle dig­its.

Trump has fo­cused re­cently on cer­tain ci­ties, in­clud­ing Philadel­phia, as be­ing sus­cep­ti­ble to voter fraud, and urged his sup­port­ers to keep a close eye on “other com­mu­ni­ties,” a call that has stirred fears of voter in­tim­i­da­tion and con­fronta­tions at the polls.

Cortes said it is dis­heart­en­ing that any candidate would cast such doubt onto the elec­tion sys­tem.

In court cases chal­leng­ing Penn­syl­va­nia’s 2012 law re­quir­ing vot­ers to show an ac­cept­able form of photo iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, of­fi­cials from then-Repub­li­can Gov. Tom Cor­bett’s ad­min­is­tra­tion pre­sented no ex­am­ples of voter im­per­son­ation. The law was struck down in the courts.

Even­tu­ally, the names of peo­ple who’ve died are re­moved from voter rolls by coun­ties, al­though it may not be for sev­eral years if the county does not have proof of a per­son’s death.

Cortes also said he had heard of no re­ports from county elec­tions of­fi­cials of any higher-than-nor­mal in­ter­est in reg­is­ter­ing as poll watch­ers af­ter Trump urged his sup­port­ers to watch Philadel­phia closely.

Cortes said poll watch­ers must be iden­ti­fied in ad­vance, re­ceive a cre­den­tial from the county and as­signed to a spe­cific precinct or di­vi­sion.

“We run good elec­tions in Penn­syl­va­nia.” — Sec­re­tary of the Com­mon­wealth Pe­dro Cortes

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