Kentucky election officials push back against Trump claims of rigged vote
Authorities say widespread fraud is not impossible, but highly unlikely
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- As Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is making claims that the election is rigged, local election authorities on both sides of the aisle are pushing back.
They say widespread fraud is not impossible, but with all the safeguards in place, it is highly unlikely.
Regina Hall has been voting for years. As she cast her absentee ballot on Monday, she had no doubts about the election system. “I have all the confidence in the world that it will be counted right,” said Hall.
But first-time voter Riley Nelson admits she is not quite so sure. “Maybe 70 percent. I want to be optimistic, but there's always that chance that things aren't fair,” she said.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been hammering the idea that the election can be stolen. “Hillary is running for president in what looks like a rigged election,” Trump told a campaign rally.
“I don't believe that our system is rigged here in Jefferson County,” said Republican Jefferson Co. Clerk Bobbie Holsclaw.
Holsclaw says hacking the system is impossible because the voting machines are not connected to the internet, and the vote count from every machine is audited by bi-partisan staff. “There's as many Democrats as there are Republicans, and they double-check each other,” she said.
Secretary of State Alison Grimes, who is a Democrat, points out that Election Day in Kentucky is actually 120 separate elections in 120 counties overseen by some 15,000 people. "Any claim as it relates to the process being rigged is not only inappropriate, it's unfounded,” Grimes told WDRB News.
Still some voters do agree with one aspect of Trump's claim, the influence of what he says is a biased media. “So, when you have that happening, then it's influencing other voters. And in that sense, it is rigged,” said voter Peter Frost.
But, even media skeptics say they still have faith in the system. “I don't think the votes will be changed in any way, so I have confidence in that,” said Frost’s wife, Angie.
Grimes released a full statement Monday night:
"Recent claims that our elections are 'rigged' strike at the heart of our democracy – the foundation on which our government has operated for more than 200 years. They are fanatical scare tactics and bear no resemblance to the truth. Such claims discount the good work thousands of Kentucky citizens and hundreds of thousands of Americans do to ensure everyone has a chance to exercise their right to vote and to make certain that our elections are fair and accurate. Indeed, the integrity of our Kentucky elections are preserved by the bipartisan work of 120 county clerks and 15,000 precinct election officials throughout 3,700 precincts. We all share a common determination to deliver free and fair elections every election cycle, no matter who is on the ballot. I strongly denounce this dangerous rhetoric and its implications."
Grimes has also formed an Election Integrity Task Force of federal, state and local authorities to investigate claims of voter fraud.
Voters who suspect something wrong can call the voter fraud hotline toll free at 1 -800-328-VOTE(8683).
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