First Look

Trump extends 'rigged' election claims to mail-in ballots

Speaking at a rally in Colorado, Donald Trump expressed his concern with the state's mail-in voting system, arguing that it could rig the election against him. 

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    Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Golden, Colo. on Saturday.
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Repeating his claims that the election is “rigged” against him, Republican nominee Donald Trump took issue with Colorado’s mail-in voting system, questioning the legitimacy of the process.

Mr. Trump has consistently claimed he would lose the election only as a result of voter fraud, repeat voting, and ballot destruction. While such incidents are extremely rare, Trump’s argument has resonated with his supporters, and 43 percent of them say they’ll believe the election was rigged if he loses, according to a USA Today/Suffolk University poll released last week. To combat what he sees as an unfair system, Trump has called for his supporters to remain vigilant, and some worry that his rhetoric could spur overzealous voters to engage in racial profiling and voter intimidation.

“I have real problems with ballots being sent,” he he told a crowd at a Saturday rally in Golden, Colo. “If you don’t have a ballot, they give you another one and they void your one at home. And then, of course, the other side would send that one in too, but, you know, we don’t do that stuff. We don’t do that stuff.”

Colorado is one of three states, along with Washington and Oregon, that relies entirely on mail-in voting. While Trump has implored his supporters to act as unofficial “poll watchers” on Election Day, the remote voting system in Colorado doesn’t allow for in-person observation.

Colorado’s Secretary of State’s office has affirmed that the voting techniques in the state are secure.

While Trump’s criticism of the electoral process implies that a rigged system would only benefit his opponents, one of his voters was charged with a felony in Iowa Thursday after sending two absentee ballots in support of the candidate, arguing that the polls are rigged.

With election day nearing and some states already offering early voting, some worry that Trump’s claims could cause tensions in a divisive election year to boil over into chaos or violence at the polls. Last week, Democrats filed a motion to block the Republican National Committee from supporting any partisan poll watching initiatives spurred by Trump that could constitute intimidating minority voters, arguing that the GOP could be in violation of a decades-old legal agreement meant to protect minority voters from suppression by Republican operatives.

“The RNC is trying to distance itself as far as it can from Trump’s specific calls for poll watching," Richard Hasen, a professor of law and political science at the University of California, Irvine previously told The Christian Science Monitor. "The legal questions is whether Trump has crossed the line. I think there’s a good argument that he has.”  

Still, Trump has remained adamant that an unsecured system could cost him Colorado, a state polls predict Hillary Clinton will win.

“You can follow your ballot, make sure that ballot is registered, make sure that ballot is counted,” he said. “So follow your ballot, and if you do I, really think were gonna win Colorado and maybe win it big.”

 
 
 

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