Trump’s voter fraud con­cerns should not be ig­nored

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary -

Don­ald Trump cre­ated a me­dia firestorm when he gave an un­con­ven­tional and sur­pris­ing re­sponse on whether he would ac­cept the elec­tion re­sults. He said that he would “look at” it and ended “I’ll keep you in sus­pense.” Hil­lary Clin­ton called his re­sponse “hor­ri­fy­ing,” de­spite other Democrats who have ques­tioned our elec­tion re­sults and sys­temic fraud in the past.

While Mr. Trump’s re­sponse be­came the lead story and a dis­trac­tion for his cam­paign, he had an op­por­tu­nity to ad­dress the broader is­sue of how the United States can im­prove the vot­ing process to ben­e­fit our democ­racy over­all.

Fol­low­ing the de­bate, the me­dia, Democrats and some Repub­li­cans piled on with an on­slaught of crit­i­cism. Mr. Trump at­tempted to give a straight­for­ward an­swer, yet it quickly back­fired and his cam­paign sur­ro­gates spent 24 hours clar­i­fy­ing his po­si­tion and stat­ing that he would ac­cept the re­sults at the end. It gave his op­po­nents an­other rea­son to point the fin­ger at Mr. Trump and crit­i­cize him as “un­fit” to be pres­i­dent and a threat to Amer­i­can democ­racy and our elec­tion sys­tem.

Pres­i­dent Obama spoke at a Florida rally and stated that Mr. Trump talk­ing about fraud “un­der­mines our democ­racy,” yet sea­soned Demo­cratic political op­er­a­tive James Carville stated in an MSNBC in­ter­view “of course there is go­ing to be some fraud.” Pre­tend­ing that voter fraud does not ex­ist puts the in­tegrity of our vot­ing process at risk. It is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of both par­ties and the states to en­sure that the elec­tion is not “rigged,” and ap­pro­pri­ate steps are taken to re­duce voter fraud.

There are con­flict­ing re­ports on the ex­tent of voter fraud in the United States. The Bren­nan Cen­ter for Jus­tice claims that voter fraud is “very rare, voter im­per­son­ation is nearly nonex­is­tent, and much of the prob­lems as­so­ci­ated with al­leged fraud in elec­tions re­lates to un­in­ten­tional mis­takes by vot­ers or elec­tion ad­min­is­tra­tors.” Yet the Her­itage Foun­da­tion doc­u­mented 400 cases of voter fraud in their data­base. Re­ports have un­cov­ered in­ci­dents of dead peo­ple or il­le­gal im­mi­grants vot­ing in dif­fer­ent states. And now the new re­al­ity ex­ists that for­eign en­ti­ties could hack vot­ing ma­chines, which could im­pact the race.

The Amer­i­can peo­ple are aware of the pos­si­bil­ity of voter fraud and po­ten­tial cy­ber­at­tacks. Even Mrs. Clin­ton rec­og­nizes the sever­ity of pos­si­ble Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in our elec­tions. In a re­cent The Econ­o­mist/YouGov poll, 72 per­cent of re­spon­dents said they were very or some­what con­cerned about the se­cu­rity of the elec­toral sys­tem.

James O’Keefe from Project Ver­i­tas un­rav­eled the dirty tricks of the Democrats re­lated to voter fraud. In a re­cently re­leased video, New York Demo­cratic Board of Elec­tions Com­mis­sioner Alan Schulkins ad­mit­ted to voter fraud and con­firmed that es­pe­cially in mi­nor­ity com­mu­ni­ties, “they put them in a bus and go poll site to poll site.” Mr. O’Keefe also went un­der­cover in North Carolina and was able to ob­tain mul­ti­ple bal­lots with­out a photo ID, which is against the law.

While the United States is a prime ex­am­ple of fair elec­tions, there is room for im­prove­ment, start­ing with pass­ing voter iden­ti­fi­ca­tion laws across the coun­try. Both political par­ties and the states have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure that the elec­tion is not “rigged” and that voter fraud is re­duced. Voter fraud es­pe­cially mat­ters when elec­tions are close. We learned that les­son in the 2000 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. What makes Amer­ica’s elec­tion sys­tem unique is the fact that even when elec­tions are close, we find a res­o­lu­tion, which leads to the peace­ful tran­si­tion of power that re­mains one of the most im­por­tant tenets of our democ­racy.

Both Repub­li­cans and Democrats, in­clud­ing Mrs. Clin­ton, should not ig­nore that voter fraud ex­ists in our coun­try. The Democrats should not di­min­ish the con­cerns of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans and our own in­tel­li­gence agen­cies that our vot­ing process can be com­pro­mised both from within and out­side the United States. How­ever, Mr. Trump’s an­swer be­came part of a big­ger story that he was at­tempt­ing to un­der­mine our democ­racy by po­ten­tially not ac­cept­ing the elec­tion re­sults. A bet­ter re­sponse would have been to sim­ply say that he would ac­cept the re­sults win or lose and fo­cus on the voter fraud and voter se­cu­rity is­sue that Democrats are min­i­miz­ing.

If the elec­tion is close and Mr. Trump loses, the rigged elec­tion nar­ra­tive will re­main front and cen­ter.

Mercedes Sch­lapp is a Fox News con­trib­u­tor, co-founder of Cove Strate­gies and former White House di­rec­tor of spe­cialty me­dia un­der Pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush.

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