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Trump's warning of voter fraud


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Apr 24, 2012
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Trump's warning of voter fraud prompts Iowa supporter's attempt to vote twice

The Guardian

A Des Moines woman charged with committing voter fraud has said she voted twice because she was afraid her vote for Donald Trump would be changed to a vote for Hillary Clinton.

Participating in early voting in Iowa, registered Republican Terri Rote allegedly cast two ballots for the Republican presidential nominee. Arrested and charged with election misconduct, she was released from jail on Friday on a $5,000 bond.

“I wasn’t planning on doing it twice. It was spur of the moment,” Rote told Iowa Public Radio.

Echoing Trump’s repeated remarks about widespread voter fraud, disputed by Republicans and Democrats and made without evidence, Rote added: “The polls are rigged.”

Trump’s campaign has said he is referring to the influence of “the mainstream media” and the Washington “establishment” on the race, in which poll averages show he trails Clinton by about 4.6 points nationally, but Trump has alleged direct fraud at the polls as well.

Evidence of such criminality in the US is scarce. According to a study by Loyola Law School, for example, there have been 31 cases of voter impersonation in more than a billion ballots cast from 2000 to 2014. His claims of fraud in Philadelphia in 2012 have similarly been debunked, including by Republican officials in the city.

Related: The lies Trump told this week: voter fraud and the 'rigged' election

Nonetheless, the Trump campaign has loudly and repeatedly raised the issue, and the candidate has refused to say whether he will accept the result of the election.

A number of Republican state governments have passed laws designed to prevent voter fraud that civil rights activists say are really aimed at suppressing the vote among traditionally Democratic demographics. Some such laws have been struck down by federal courts. The decentralized electoral college system makes concerted voter fraud a nearly impossible endeavour: elections are run at the state and municipal level, by local officials of both parties. Thirty-one governors are Republicans, including Iowa’s Terry Branstad.

“I think in the 25-plus years that I’ve been doing this job, this maybe the third [time] we’ve had some irregularity that’s resulted in a criminal charge,” Polk County attorney John Sarcone told Iowa Public Radio of the Rote case.

“People aren’t voting more than once. And if they do, or attempt to do it, they will get caught because there are safeguards in place,” Sarcone added. “We want everybody to exercise their right to vote, but only once.”

The Des Moines Register reported that three instances of suspected voter fraud were reported to police in Polk County. Rote, it said, cast votes at two locations. The other cases involved the casting of mail-in ballots alongside attempts to vote in person.

“I think it shows that our voting system works in Iowa, that we’re able to catch it,” Polk County auditor Jamie Fitzgerald told the newspaper, adding that as election day approaches, “tensions are running high on both sides”. The Des Moines Register said court records showed Rote to be due to appear on 7 November, a day before the election.

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