Tom's Corner - On accusations of a 'rigged' election

Vote 2016

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Last night the debate season finally came to an end and voters--with just 19 days left--heard Donald Trump once again warn of a rigged election.

Tonight in tom's corner, our Tom Van Howe takes a look at the likelihood of sufficient voter fraud to tip the scales one way or the other.


There's almost no other way to interpret Donald Trump's fears of a rigged election: he knows he's going to lose, and is making a preemptory excuse.

Here's why I say that:

For starters, there are 3,100 counties in the United States. Eighty-three of them in Michigan. Each county has its own elections officials. Many republican, many democrat, and elections are monitored almost exclusively by tens of thousands of volunteers. Most counties have their own election equipment. There are 15 to 20 manufacturers. They're not all compatible. Some leave paper trails, some don't.

With that said, I'd like someone to tell me how you'd organize a "rigged" election across this country.

There are people--good, honest people who volunteer their time because they believe in the system--at virtually every polling station from coast-to-coast. You'd expect none of them to recognize evildoing and not report it.

It's a conspiracy theory that doesn't hold a drop of water.

But people like Trump, who seek excuses and create fear and confusion, know full well that all they have to do is keep repeating the same thing long enough and even doubters can start to believe.

A number states have passed voter ID laws. Only ID laws, the argument goes, can prevent cases of voter impersonation. And voter impersonation, the story goes, is rampant and taints elections.

Well, from 2000 to 2012, out of more than a billion votes cast in this country, there were 2,000 alleged cases of fraud. Many of them were caused by outdated equipment, insufficient numbers of, or poorly trained, elections workers, and lack of resources. The "actual" number of voter impersonations over 12 years? Thirty-one. Thirty-one! That translates to a fraud rate of .000000031 percent. Not enough votes to swing an election in Dorr.

Maybe we ought to give a little more thought to the fact that of 172 countries who regularly hold elections, we rank 139th in voter turnout.

Maybe that would go up a little if we held elections on weekends or on holidays, as they do in Austria, Belgium, France, India, New Zealand, and a number of other countries. That way people would simply have more time to get to a voting booth.

But getting back to Trump's warning of a rigged election on November 8. If Trump really wants to know why he's losing right now--and that could change by Election Day--but if he wants to know why he's in the fix he's in, he should look in mirror.

He's run a lousy campaign. He's ignored his own advisors. And has belittled and made jest of and has offended most of the powers in the very party he's trying to lead. He's ridiculed Hispanics, blacks, women, the handicapped, and anyone else who disagrees with him.

If anything at all, Trump has rigged the game against himself.

In this corner...I'm Tom Van Howe.

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