No, Mr. Trump. This election is not rigged and neither were the Emmy Awards. That “mainstream media bias” you’re complaining about now granted you billions of dollars worth of free airtime over the past couple years–far more exposure than any of your opponents–and is arguably the only reason you got this far. The reality is that voter fraud is essentially non-existent and it would be virtually impossible to rig the election.
One of the two major candidates running for President seems to have already accepted defeat and moved straight to whining and assigning blame with claims that the election is rigged. The reality—whether we’re talking about an enemy nation-state hacking election results, a coordinated effort to cast fraudulent votes in the election, or simply the perceived media bias stacking things in favor of one candidate over the other—is that there is no evidence to support the allegation. For all practical purposes, the election can’t actually be rigged. It can, however, be adversely influenced.
Voter Fraud vs. Voter Registration Fraud
Let’s start with a look at claims of vote fraud. First, we need to separate fraudulent votes from fraudulent voter registration. They are completely different things and one does not lead to the other. There have been cases—the ACORN issues in 2008 and the recent instances in Indiana—where there appear to be a number of fake voter registration forms submitted.
In the case currently being investigated in Indiana, the Indiana State Police are investigating voter registration applications submitted by a group called Patriot Majority. There is suspicion that some of those voter registration applications contain elements of fraud, including possible forged signatures.
Voter registration fraud seems to be a result of lazy workers or volunteers who want to hit quotas or meet deadlines without putting in the work to actually find people to register to vote. Instead, they make stuff up. It is an issue and it is a crime, but voter registration fraud is unlikely to have any impact on the actual election. If someone turns in a voter registration form for a fake person that doesn’t exist, there is no way for someone to show up on election day claiming to be that person.
OK. So, we’ve cleared up that fraudulent voter registration forms are completely different and separate from fraudulent votes. When it comes to actual vote fraud—votes being cast that are actually illegitimate—a 2014 study analyzed over a billion votes cast and found evidence of only 31 credible instances of vote fraud. That means there is realistically only a 0.0000031 percent chance of a vote being fraudulent. As President Obama recently explained, your odds of winning the Powerball are higher than the odds of voter fraud.
Rigging the Election
Even if we set all facts and evidence aside, which it seems we often do in this election cycle, the simple fact is that there is no way to rig the election on a national level. Elections are controlled at a state level, and implemented and managed at a county level. Some of those states and counties are overseen by Republicans. Some are overseen by Democrats. Many different voting systems are employed across the country. To coordinate an attempt to rig the election on even a statewide—never mind national—scale would require some sort of bi-partisan cooperative conspiracy.
See the full story on Forbes: The Election Can’t Be Rigged, But It Can Be Influenced.