Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, behind in the polls, has started claiming that the election will be stolen from him because it is “rigged.” When Trump talks about the election being stolen from him, he seems to be referring to a range of issues, from voter fraud to the media being allied against him. He also said this week that he expects more than a million “deceased individuals” to vote against him. These claims have the potential to resonate with many Americans who already question the integrity of this country’s elections. A September Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 46 percent of registered voters believe that electoral fraud happens at least somewhat often. But stealing an election in this country isn’t easy. In fact, experts say it’s nearly impossible given how voting works. And documented instances of voter fraud are actually very rare. Wendy R. Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, said the rate of fraud is smaller than the rate of Americans being struck by lightning.
… Rigging an election would require a widespread, nationwide effort with the two major parties colluding at every level. This is why election law experts say it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to “rig” an election. In this country, voting is an open, multi-step process with scores of witnesses from both parties each step of the way.
Chris Ashby, campaign finance and election lawyer at Virginia-based Ashby Law, points out that American elections are held in open, public rooms, such as school gyms, community centers and community centers. “There are no back rooms, secret doors or hidden hallways,” Ashby wrote recently. The ballots, voting machines and election materials are locked and sealed when they arrive in the voting place, and when they are removed after the election is over, they are locked and sealed again.
In most states, there are “poll observers” in each county who have been chosen and trained by both the Republican and Democratic parties to watch for problems or efforts to disenfranchise voters during the voting process. The poll observers are allowed to watch the poll workers and other election officials, who have also undergone training to run the polling places and help conduct the election.