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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Donald Trump’s “rigged election” shtick is the product of years of conservative fear mongering about voter fraud and election stealing, and it poses a unique challenge to journalists who want to ensure voter confidence in the election process.

Faced with dismal polling numbers in the final weeks of his presidential campaign, Trump has resorted to telling his supporters that the election will be “rigged” — stolen from him because of widespread voter fraud. He’s repeated that warning frequently on the campaign trail, and nearly half of his supporters now believe him.

The voter fraud talking point – the idea that Democrats will use voters who lie about their identities, dead voters, or undocumented immigrants to cast fraudulent ballots — has been debunked ad nauseum in research, court decisions, and expert testimony. Politifact rated Trump’s “rigged election” claim a “pants on fire” lie, stating there’s simply no evidence that widespread voter fraud is a real problem, especially in presidential elections.

But even before Trump’s campaign, a growing number of primarily Republican voters began to believe that voter fraud is a widespread problem.

That’s thanks in part to conservative media’s near-constant, baseless fear mongering about voter fraud over the past few election cycles. Right-wing outlets, and especially Fox News, have bombarded audiences with exaggerated or misleading claims of voter fraud to create the impression that Democratic victories at the ballot box are largely the result of illegal election rigging. Stories about dead or non-eligible or non-existent voters appearing on voter rolls are regularly touted as proof of nefarious activity, even though those voter registrations never actually translate into votes.

The most memorable example of this kind of fear mongering came during the 2008 controversy surrounding the non-profit group ACORN. A number of ACORN voter registration employees had been discovered submitting false or duplicate voter registration forms (the laws in many states require third parties who register voters to submit all forms they receive). Fox News devoted countless segments to the story in order to hype hysteria about widespread voter fraud, despite the fact that those forms never produced an actual fraudulent vote. ACORN was eventually cleared of charges of orchestrating voter fraud, but half of all Republican voters still believed ACORN helped steal the election for President Obama in 2012 — two years after ACORN had closed down.

Misinformation about voter fraud isn’t only the fault of conservative media. As GOP statehouses across the country have pushed for restrictive voter ID laws — laws aimed at disenfranchising typically Democratic voters — local news outlets have repeated Republican talking points about the threat of voter fraud without fact-checking them.

That kind of round-the-clock saturation helps explain why so many voters have started to doubt the integrity of elections without evidence that it is a problem. And that doubt poses a real threat to a democracy, which relies on voters trusting and accepting the outcomes of elections.

Trump’s “rigged election” shtick is just one element of a broader problem with media coverage of voter fraud. Regardless of who wins in November, journalists are going to have to be a lot more aggressive about fact-checking right-wing horror stories if they want to restore voter confidence in the election process.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Photo: A sample ballot is seen in a photo illustration, as early voting for the 2016 general elections began in North Carolina, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, U.S. October 20, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Drake

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42 responses to “Debunking The ‘Rigged Election’ Horror Story”

  1. PrecipitousDrop says:

    The states convinced a high percentage of Republican voters of the “peril” of voter fraud in order to pass voter ID laws that really are designed to suppress typically Democratic voter in the states. Trump is just taking advantage of the fiction they’ve fostered ever since a black man was elected to the White House.
    Maybe now we can finally put the myth of voter fraud behind us, along with ‘The Wall’ and a ‘Muslim Ban’ and every other unhinged piece of doggerel we have, too long, endured.
    I am so glad that the failed Trump campaign is also taking his party down to certain defeat. We can never let any Republican forget that they are the party of Trump.

    • Eleanore Whitaker says:

      IN and NC tried that and ended up in the SC being told what they were doing was a violation of U.S. Constitutional voting rights.

      There is no voter fraud. That sacks of scum Pence tried to reduce the number of polling places in minority districts. Is this their version of a fair election?

      The only fair election they are demanding like spoiled punks is an election where they win even when the votes say they do not.

      • candice.swann says:

        Get paid 90 bucks /day for working online from your home office for few hrs every day… Get regularly paid each week… Everything you need is a personal computer, connection to the web, as well as a little free-time…

      • Blueberry Hill says:

        Republicans are the ones who “rig” the elections with their Voter ID laws, gerrymandering, all kinds of nonsense restrictions to keep people from voting. That is what needs to be put to a stop NOW. We need one set of voter laws for the whole country. We are not 50 countries, we are one country and the government should set up the same laws for all the states to follow, and end gerrymandering altogether. Let all the states use voter registration cards complete with photo, the size of driver licenses, given out free at the time of registering and it can be done at driver license bureaus. The same in all 50 states, and photos taken right on the registration, just like a driver license, that cannot be altered, and all for free.


        • Eleanore Whitaker says:

          The U.S. Constitution provides for states’ rights. Like everything else Republican states do to divide the country, they use “states’ rights” to ensure they can act in opposition to anything the federal government tries to do to provide security, safety and unity.

          I already have a photo driver’s license. Not all elderly voters over the age of 75 still own cars or drive. Will someone pay for them to get voter IDs they never had before?

          First of all, voter ID is BS. Here’s why: When I registered to vote in NJ back in 1966, out of sheer rebellion to my Democrat Mom, I registered as a Republican. I never changed that until 2004.

          Here is what happened. I went to my local municipal clerk. She instantly found my name on the voter registration rolls from back in 1966. I filled out several papers using my non-photo driver’s license with the same address I’ve had since 1966. She didn’t need a photo. She already had a record of my prior registration and my NJ driver’s license.

          When I go to the polls, all I am asked to do is sign the register for that particular election. No ID asked for. Why? I am a taxpayer.

          Those who would DARE insist some 80 year old who has voted in every election find some way to get to a motor vehicle agency or spend $125 for a passport to get that photo ID are nothing more than meanspirited rotten nasty people who just want to force their will on others.

          • dpaano says:

            The same thing happens in California…..when I go in person to my voting site, I’m only asked to sign the registration. Sometimes they ask for an ID, but they accept my driver’s license or my retired Army ID card, or any other form of ID that I can provide with my name on it. I’ve NEVER had a problem voting, even when I was registered as a Republican. And, when I re-registered as a Democrat many years ago, I had no problems either. It’s the individual states that cause the problems, and I’m just glad I live in one that gives every citizen their constitutional right to vote.

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            My way would be for every winger out there demanding IDS, I’d make them pay the cost of transporting the handicapped and vulnerable elderly voters. I’d make them put their money where their big mouths are.

            Sometimes, these morons never learn. Their idea is to demand IDs so that more than half of the seniors who no longer drive cannot vote. How is that not violating our voting rights? It is time to make them face the SC for this. If they are trying to stop voters who have been voting their entire lives just because they no longer drive and have no transportation to get an ID, it is time to hold their moron feet to the fire.

            I get so fed up with these bossy, overbearing right wingers. Tarring and feathering is what they deserve.

          • dpaano says:

            Unfortunately, as long as the SC is in the hands of the conservatives, nothing will get done. The most we can hope for is that Hillary gets a couple more liberals in there, but even the Congress is saying they’re going to NOT vote for any of her choices even if it’s for 4 years!!! There HAS to be something that the Supreme Court can do to stop that from happening!

          • PrecipitousDrop says:

            Why, yes, there is something we can do about it.
            It starts with a lawsuit pointing out the Senate’s failure to adhere to their oaths of office, to “support and defend the Constitution,” which REQUIRES their “advice and consent” to appoint Supreme Court Justices.
            Washington DC is absolutely lousy with smartassed lawyers just aching to argue this point of law. It goes to the very backbone of our divisions of power. Think of it! What other case in the last century has included the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches all at the same time?

          • dpaano says:

            The problem is getting the Attorney General to file the lawsuit. Unless he does this, nothing can be done by the average taxpayer. The Supreme Court should take this up on their own since it’s THEIR job to make sure that the Constitution is followed. Not sure why they haven’t done anything about it even now!! There’s NO reason why the Congress should be dragging their feet in reviewing President Obama’s nominee.

          • PrecipitousDrop says:

            Why does it have to be the Attorney General?
            Why can’t it be any of the entities whose final rights of appeal before the Supreme Court were thwarted by a 4-4 deadlock perpetuated by the obstructionist Republican Senate?
            I’ve no idea why this situation has been allowed to fester, but I do know that President Obama and AG Lynch are about 100 times smarter than I am, and much more intimately aware of every consequence, pro and con. Speculation isn’t useful here.

          • dpaano says:

            I’m not sure how it works. You’d think that President Obama or AG Lynch would have done something about the Congress blocking a review of President Obama’s nomination to replace Scalia. If I were in his shoes, I’d go after Congress for blocking this….especially now that they are saying that if Clinton is elected, they’re going to block all of her nominations, even if they have to do it for 4 years! That’s preposterous! It should NOT be allowed to happen. The most we can hope for is that the Democrats take back either the Senate or the House or both. Otherwise, we’re going to be in the same situation with Congress as we’re currently in.
            As for any other entity going after the Supreme Court or Congress for not doing their job….that would be interesting, and I’m not sure WHY no one has thought of it or broached the subject. After all, it’s our taxpayer money that pay their salaries….they need to get off their butts and do their jobs or be questioned about it!

          • PrecipitousDrop says:

            Current dismal approval ratings confirm that millions have an historically low opinion of the Legislative branch. But! Maybe this election will bring some needed change.
            Either way, the new President, House, Senate — and HER Attorney General — will tackle it in January.
            Sec. Clinton thrives on fierce opposition. She’s remarkable that way, isn’t she?

          • PrecipitousDrop says:

            You’re a white lady, dpaano. White ladies — all except Sec. Clinton, Sen. Eliz. Warren, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, etc. — always ‘vote right’. The voter fraud conspiracists are worrying themselves about the overpowering hordes of brown and black women who have the unmitigated GALL to assert their phony ‘civil rights’. It makes their blood boil. They elected a black president, didn’t they?

          • dpaano says:

            They have a reason to be concerned about the “hordes of brown and black women” …..they are the ones that Trump has whined about during his entire campaign! Instead of catering to these minorities, he has repeatedly denigrated them to the point that NONE of them with brains will vote for him.

          • PrecipitousDrop says:

            The GOP will never be “concerned” about brown and black voters, no matter the gender. That’s why their party is shrinking and spinning itself apart. Remember “the Autopsy”?
            I know it’s cruel, but I do enjoy watching the slow and painful death of white privilege.

        • dpaano says:

          AND, they should find a way to get ID cards to those who are not able to get to registration sites; i.e., the handicapped, the poor, the people who don’t have a car or any way to get to the registration sites, etc. To vote is a right that we ALL have, and to suppress that right is unconstitutional!

        • Jon says:

          The problem with requiring a photo is the inability of many people to get to an office during the hours that office is open and the lack of adequate staff to process people in timely manner. Some people do not have any transportation to get to the offices. Some offices are located far from voters in rural areas. We have operated since the 13 colonies began their experiment in self-government without the need of photos as requirement for voting. There is no need to fix what isn’t broken.

      • dpaano says:

        Pence was and IS the worse governor ever. My relatives live in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and they are delighted that Pence is running with Trump for the VP slot… prevented him from running again for governor! They’re so glad to get rid of him as their governor….he did so much damage to the state, and I’m sure he will do just as much damage to the country if, God forbid, he’s elected with Trump. I’m not holding out much hope of that happening tho’. There are too many intelligent people out there who ARE voting and voting for Hillary.

    • Dominick Vila says:

      Don’t be surprised if Trump shifts his claims to Democratic strongholds, and “unrigs” the electoral process in states like Florida, Ohio, Iowa, and North Carolina, where he is either leading or competitive.

      • PrecipitousDrop says:

        Hey, Dom!
        Yeah, it’s still a contest, but I’m hopeful. A few million more Republican women fled to join Sec. Clinton’s campaign after the Newt vs. Kelly showdown.

  2. Dan S says:

    It’s rigged I’m sure. On my ballot they have The Democratic ticket at the very top followed then by the GOP ticket. The sheep that we’re presumed to be I voted Clinton/Kaine. I’m sure if Trump/Pence was at the top they would’ve gotten my vote instead ????

    • dpaano says:

      And I’m sure if it were the other way around, you’d STILL find something to whine about, wouldn’t you? It’s alphabetical, Dan…..get over it! But, I’m sure you’ll be glad in the end that you DID vote for Hillary and not Trump.

      • Dan S says:

        Ummmmmm that is what is called sarcasm. Of course I would never vote for Trump ????

        • dpaano says:

          Didn’t mean to sound sarcastic….was being facetious.

          • Dan S says:

            No prob. Quite often trying to inject some humorous sarcasm in the comments can be misconstrued. Anyone who reads my comments know that I’m the anti Trump. In addition to the popular euphemism for Liberal ( like that’s supposed to be a bad word to the right ) is ive been accused of being a paid troll. Too bad I really don’t get paid to comment here ????

          • PrecipitousDrop says:

            It’s a labor of love, isn’t it Dan?

  3. TZToronto says:

    Americans have always, until recently, assumed that voting in the United States is legitimate. We’ve all been brought up with the idea that in communist countries people could vote for anyone they wanted to–as long as it was the party candidate. If you tried to vote for someone else, you ended up in the gulag. Third-world countries had rigged voting–no matter who you voted for, the President For Life would always get your vote. This was not the case in the USA, the land of the free and the home of fair elections. From what I can see, since I submitted my absentee ballot a couple of weeks ago, election officials bend over backwards to ensure that votes are counted accurately and that no one knows who you voted for. It’s not easy, but they make sure that elections are free and fair. Now, for some reason (I can’t imagine what that reason is), Republicans are in a tizzy about rigged elections. They see hordes of Mexican Democrats–all illegally in the United States–appearing on voter lists. They see dead people voting en masse for Democrats. They see votes intentionally miscounted by Democrats who run polling places (with no Republicans in sight to ensure accurate counts). The fictions invented by the right to call into question what is a fair and honest election process have no end, but they are no different from the Trumpanistas’ claim that the United States is a total disaster–even as they open-carry their weapons to church and school, drink their beer, gorge on BBQ, and immerse themselves in endless duck-call reality and the silly lives of wealthy “housewives” of here and there.

    • dpaano says:

      So true, TZ, but these people have been brainwashed into believing EVERY right wing conspiracy theory that comes along. The only “alleged” dead people who voted are people who mailed in their vote or voted early and then between that time and the actual election date, passed away. However, because they were alive when voting (of course), their vote still counts despite the fact that they were not alive on election day! But, apparently, the GOP just wants to use this type of vote as another conspiracy theory that isn’t altogether true!

  4. TMZ1928 says:

    Recently videos surfaced of operatives paid with funds that originated at the Clinton Campaign and passed through to them from the DNC describing their methodology for transporting people across state lines to vote a second time as well as ways to put illegal day workers on someone’s payroll in order to create pay stubs that could be used in some places for registration.

    • chino49p says:

      How can you be so infantile? The video you are talking about was made by a convicted con man and was edited together from many undercover videos in which the undercover people posed questions and scenarios which would elicit answers & statements that when edited together could be made to form a FALSE narrative. There is no evidence that anything that the false narrative UNCOVERED, ever happened.

      Illegal day workers do not get paid with checks or any kind of “pay stubs”, they get paid in cash “under the table” so to speak.

      • dpaano says:

        It was made by the same idiot that did the Planned Parenthood video, which was also debunked as being “edited” to show something that wasn’t actually the truth! Another act of the GOP to set up another conspiracy theory that wasn’t true!

    • dpaano says:

      Gee, do we not remember the first rallies that Trump held… was found out that he had paid each person $50 to attend the rally so that it looked like there were more Trumpsters than there actually were. Same crap….different day! The DNC is NOT transporting people across state lines to vote a second time. This is just another RW conspiracy theory and you’re believing it hook, line, and sinker! I feel sorry for you because you obviously believe everything you’re told and not what is the REAL truth!

    • Vernon Sukumu says:

      Obama won the the 2008, by 9 million and the 2012 by 5 million votes, that a lot of movement across state line. With all the cell phone and other devices no PICTURES, but you know that OBAMA he’s sooooo sneaky I bet he drove the buses across said state line himself. Not one tiny picture?

    • PrecipitousDrop says:

      “Recently videos surfaced…”
      Well, by all means, trot em out here!
      Let’s see this “damning evidence.”
      We’ll wait while you look for the links, OK?

    • I Am Helpy says:

      Yes those “videos” that … don’t exist. Weird.

  5. j_verria says:

    Let’s see, the republicans are passing all sorts of laws aimed at restricting the minority vote so that only the white vote (read republican) counts. There is a shitload of gerrymandering in districts designed to give more representation to white folks potentially disenfranchising untold thousands and thousands of non-white/non-republican voters thus having an actual effect on an election; HOWEVER, trump and his ilk are screaming that the democrats have rigged the election through voter fraud of which an actual investigation has found approximately 30 true cases of voter fraud out of millions of votes in the past few years! Hmmm…seems trump has no worries unless he thinks those 30 cases can outweigh his thousands upon thousands in advantage through the passing of rightwing election laws. He should win handily and he and his followers should just STFU since he claims he’s winning! If he doesn’t win…well, guess you should’ve cheated more!! lmfao!!

    • dpaano says:

      He HAS to say that the election was rigged because he can’t face the honest truth….no one wants him to be president!!

  6. PrecipitousDrop says:

    I have a question for all the diehard Believers in Democratic voter fraud:
    How come the Republican party holds the majority of US House and Senate seats?
    How come 24 out of 50 states have Republican Governors and majority Republican statehouses?
    How come 70 out of over 90 state legislative chambers are dominated by Republican seats?
    Based on the evidence, either a ‘vast Democratic Voter Fraud project’ doesn’t work — or it doesn’t exist.
    The only evidence we do have of election meddling is found in Republicans’ gerrymandering of districts, Republicans’ arbitrary purges of voter rolls, and Republicans’ voter ID suppression laws.
    Sadly, the Republican voter manipulation appears to be working.

  7. says:

    the only rigging of the election is and would be coming from DONNY DUMP him self any one find it strange that not one email B/S story has come out about the DUMPSTER clown ? not one do you thing his closet it that clean ? I don’t thing so . as for his takes there should be a law that any one running for the white house should have to show their tax returns . the people have to know just what the one running for the highest spot in the world should know all the dealings that person dose and has done . dose one think if a running for Pres. was to channel money to ISIS should the people know ? or anything really frauds ,cons , scams what ever should be known by the people . to not know is only to let one get to be POTUS and keep doing these thing all the time thy are in office . WIKILEAKS if your there for true story (or really any hacker ) will help the country’s people know what’s going on HACK INTO THE DONNY DUMP’S TAXES and send the info to the NBC news . id bet there are things in his taxes that would send the DUMPSTER CLOWN to jail

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