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Officials say despite Trump's claims, elections can't be rigged

FARGO--Election officials scoff at Donald Trump's repeated claims that the election will be rigged against him. They say there are too many safeguards built into the system to allow for any races on Tuesday, Nov. 8--national or otherwise--to be c...

Voters cast their ballots Monday, Oct. 31, 2016, at the Baymont Inn in south Fargo.David Samson / Forum News Service

FARGO-Election officials scoff at Donald Trump's repeated claims that the election will be rigged against him.

They say there are too many safeguards built into the system to allow for any races on Tuesday, Nov. 8-national or otherwise-to be compromised significantly, despite the Republican presidential nominee's insistence for months that the election is vulnerable to fraud.

"It's virtually impossible," said North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger, a Republican.

A test is done on every ballot scanner before the election and again after the election to make sure the equipment works properly, Jaeger said.

On top of that, the machines are kept secure and are never connected to a network.

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"There's nothing to hack," Jaeger said, adding that it isn't clear to him what people mean when they talk about a rigged election.

"Does it mean in 53 counties (across North Dakota) somebody is going in and manipulating something? It just isn't going to happen," Jaeger said.

Cass County Auditor Michael Montplaisir, the top election official in North Dakota's largest county, said each election judge in the county's precincts prints a paper record that shows the results so an official from both the Republican and Democratic parties can have a copy.

"We want two copies going somewhere else so you can't disappear all of them and you can't change all of them," Montplaisir said.

The picture is similar in Minnesota, said Clay County Auditor Lori Johnson, who said numerous safeguards make sure the process is not tampered with.

"The notion that it's rigged is just ridiculous, really," said Johnson, noting that there are physical barriers to prevent tampering with ballots and vote tallies.

To help protect against voter fraud, Trump has encouraged supporters to join poll-monitoring efforts.

Johnson pointed out that in Clay County, election judges always have partisan balance.

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"If there's three election judges, there has to be one Democrat and one Republican, at least," Johnson said.

Federal law protects against election fraud and voting rights violations during elections.

Christopher Myers, the U.S. Attorney for North Dakota, issued a statement last week in which he said stressed that the Department of Justice "will act promptly and aggressively to protect the integrity of the election process."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Rick Volk, whose office is in Bismarck, will be on duty during Election Day to handle calls relating to complaints of election fraud or voting rights abuses. He can be reached at (701) 530-2420.

In addition, the FBI will have special agents available in each field office and resident agency throughout the country to handle election-related concerns.

The local FBI field office can be reached at (763) 569-8000.

Also, complaints about possible violations of federal voting rights laws can be made directly to the Civil Rights Division's voting section in Washington by calling 1-800-253-3931, or by email at: voting.section@usdoj.gov .

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Voters cast their ballots Monday, Oct. 31, 2016, at the Baymont Inn in south Fargo.David Samson / The Forum
Clay County officials recently found two voting booths stored in the county courthouse that date back to the 1940s. The booths were cleaned up and put to use during absentee voting at the courthouse. Dave Olson/The Forum

Voters cast their ballots Monday, Oct. 31, 2016, at the Baymont Inn in south Fargo.David Samson / The Forum
Clay County officials recently found two voting booths stored in the county courthouse that date back to the 1940s. The booths were cleaned up and put to use during absentee voting at the courthouse. Dave Olson/The Forum

Related Topics: AL JAEGER
I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com
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