American Elections Are Not Perfect, But They Also Aren’t Rigged

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Loose talk aimed at discrediting the results of our elections has led to anxiety this week about a rigged election and vote-stealing. The problem is that too many citizens feel their vote may not matter. Voters should go to the polls today without fear of harassment, and with confidence their vote counts.

Yes, we face many challenges, but we have been here before — and we have always respected the results of elections. This time should be no different.

Republican nominee for Vice President Mike Pence reassured voters, saying the campaign would respect the outcome of the election. “The peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of American history.”

Indeed, America is one of the longest-standing democracies in the world, and voters should not succumb to fears about the possibility that divisive rhetoric will incite violence.

America has overcome an ugly history when Jim Crow politics enabled hate groups to use intimidation to suppress black voters after Reconstruction. Our country overcame poll taxes and literacy tests at the polls.

Fortunately today, most states permit only voters, election officials and credentialed poll watchers to remain at the polls during voting hours.

Our system is not perfect. We face challenges due to the failures of our government, but voter fraud is not one of them.

80% of voters in both parties believe the government and our political system is out of touch with the average citizens it’s designed to represent.

There’s plenty of blame to go around.

The Supreme Court is unable to recognize the corrupting influence of money in our political system. Government agencies like the FEC and IRS are incapable of enforcing campaign finance laws. These combined failures have created a government derided by liberals as a corrupted system favoring by the billionaire class, and derided by conservatives as a corrupted system of crony capitalism and Washington waste. That’s why we must hold government accountable to the people. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

Ballot measures from coast-to-coast seek to address this discontent. Missouri can vote to establish limits for campaign contributions. South Dakota can limit the gifts that lobbyists give public officials. Washington State can prevent public officials from immediately lobbying their former co-workers. California and Maryland voters can approve matching funds for local races.

These measures would reduce the stranglehold of special interests and broaden the avenues for citizen political participation. There’s plenty at stake today, with a total of 155 ballot measures across the country, the largest total in 10 years.

Fortunately, there’s no evidence of significant voter fraud, and rigging a presidential election is practically impossible. Talk of this conspiracy is simply fearmongering that’s been debunked by a peer-reviewed study.

Election officials of both parties have forcefully discredited concerns of a rigged election and the voter fraud theory. In-person fraud, which voter ID laws are supposedly designed to prevent, is so rare the Washington Post reported only 31 incidents out of one billion ballots cast over a 14-year study.

All politics are local. Polling places have overlapping methods in place to correct for human error, protect against voter intimidation and eliminate almost all in-person voter fraud. Vigilante poll watchers that intimidate voters will be arrested.

Across the country, poll workers of all political stripes have been trained by local election boards on how to assist voters. Many online resources explain clearly what voters must bring to the polls.

Whether people’s preferred candidate wins or loses, citizens have a responsibility to set a positive example for their kids by voting and telling them why voting matters. From one generation to the next, America has proven its greatness because its transfer of power takes place at the ballot box, not through violence or by defiantly denying the results of a close election.

Voters should educate themselves on what is on the ballot in their state — and vote without fear, because our system isn’t rigged. America can rest assured tonight; our democracy will live to see tomorrow morning.