October 18, 2016 10:14 AM
In the closing weeks of the 2016 presidential elections, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been suggesting that the elections process is rigged, and that voter fraud was likely. On Monday, he tweeted, “Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!” In one of his rallies, he encouraged his supporters to “go out and watch” polling places in parts of Pennsylvania, darkly alluding to the possibility of people voting multiple times for Democrats in certain precincts.
All of this has raised concern among elections officials, fearing not only that some voters might be intimidated from voting, but also that confidence in the fairness of elections could be shaken. The linked Washington Post story quotes Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted as saying, “Any time that your comments draw into question the legitimacy of the elections process, they have crossed the line, particularly if you can’t back it up with evidence.”
Despite efforts by most Republicans and elections officials to squelch Trump’s rumors of a rigged election, Georgia Republican National Committeeman Randy Evans was quoted in a Buzzfeed story as not being convinced the election would not be rigged:
“History has proven that some elections have involved serious questions and it remains a possibility in 2016,” Randy Evans, the chairman of the Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) and a partner at the global law firm Dentons, told BuzzFeed News. “Only the rule of law performed by election workers enforced by lawyers informed by citizens decided by courts is the only sure way of making sure elections are open, fair, and honest. Time will tell whether that happens in 2016.”
Asked directly about Trump’s comments, Evans said it was “premature to say now” whether the candidate’s words are appropriate or correct.
At a minimum, Evans’s comments do nothing to disavow Trump’s claims, and it’s even possible that Evans is adding a stamp of approval to the GOP candidate’s theory that there is and will be widespread voter fraud in this election, a theory that Politifact rates as “Pants on Fire.“