Donald Trump has begun claiming that the only way he can lose the 2016 presidential election is if the voting is rigged. But if there’s a threat to the integrity of the election, it’s coming from Trump himself, and the best response may be for Democrats and voting rights activists to take him to court to protect the franchise. Let’s start with a fair definition of “rigging”: An election is rigged when eligible voters are prevented from voting, when some voters can vote multiple times, when ineligible voters are allowed to vote, or when vote totals are changed, all with an intent to affect an election outcome.
Trump contends that without strict voter identification laws, people can vote five, 10 or 15 times. He’s offered no evidence to back up this assertion, and for good reason. Even in states with modest means of identifying voters, such as comparing voters’ signatures in the poll ledger and on registration forms, there are safeguards to ensure against multiple voting.
In recent memory, the only publicized case involving someone voting in high multiples was a supporter of Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker when Walker was up for a recall. The voter tried to vote five times in the recall and seven more times in four other elections. He was easily caught, well before Wisconsin passed its strict voter ID law. The voter claimed amnesia; his lawyer argued he suffered from mental illness. The case shows this isn’t a problem that’s going to happen on a grand scale.