Rigged? Fraudulent? Excuse me, but as Donald Trump might interject: “Wrong!” In Minnesota, we can have confidence in our election outcomes. For the past 12 years, Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota (CEIMN), a nonpartisan, nonprofit group, has worked to ensure accurate, transparent and verifiable elections in Minnesota. As the founder of CEIMN, I helped organize seven statewide observations of Minnesota’s postelection audits and recounts. Here are five reasons you can be confident that the results of next month’s election will be accurate and verifiable.
1) Routine audits of voting machines: After each general election, audits are conducted in about 200 randomly selected precincts statewide. Ballots are counted by hand to check the accuracy of voting machines. These audits are public events, and anyone can attend. Malicious attempts to influence the election through voting equipment would be difficult because we use paper ballots and we audit them.
2) Robust recount law: Minnesota’s recount law is one of the best in the country. We are one of only five states to require a hand count of paper ballots for all recounts. Hand counting is the only way to get a complete and accurate determination of the voters’ intent. According to Verified Voting, a nonpartisan, nonprofit voting-security organization, this year more than 75 percent of voters across the nation — including Minnesotans — will cast their votes on paper ballots or on voting machines with voter verifiable paper records, an increase over previous years.
3) Competent and diligent election officials and election judges: We will have more than 30,000 well-trained election judges from all political perspectives working together in more than 4,000 precincts to maintain integrity in the process. They are your neighbors, and they care.
4) Strong safeguards to prevent ineligible voting: More than a dozen safeguards are in place to ensure that only eligible voters cast their ballots and that those who are not eligible are prosecuted for fraud. At the same time, Minnesota laws do not discourage voter participation through the creation of unnecessary barriers for legitimate voters. Cases of alleged voter fraud are investigated by law enforcement agencies and prosecuted by county attorneys.
5) The evidence: A 2010 survey CEIMN conducted of Minnesota’s county attorneys showed that nine ten-thousandths of 1 percent (0.0009 percent) of the voters in 2008 were convicted of fraud. Minnesota’s voting system was under intense scrutiny during the U.S. Senate recount of 2008. The claims of widespread voter fraud were not confirmed. In fact, the lead attorney for Norm Coleman in the 2008 U.S. Senate recount, Fritz Knaak, stated, “We were looking for fraud, but we did not see it.” And, nationally, Justin Levitt, a law professor at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, conducted a comprehensive review of voter impersonation from 2000 to 2014 and found, out of 1 billion votes cast, 31 credible incidents.
The bottom line is clear. Minnesota’s voting system is accurate, verifiable and transparent. Go out and vote for the candidates of your choice, and do it with confidence.