Indiana Daily Student

Bloomington residents weigh in on election rigging allegations

<p>Chris Wesley fills out a ballot during 2016 the presidential primary election in May at Cedar Hall.&nbsp;</p>

Chris Wesley fills out a ballot during 2016 the presidential primary election in May at Cedar Hall. 

At rallies and the final presidential debate, Donald Trump has claimed the election was never in his favor.

“Remember, we are competing in a rigged election,” Trump said at a Wisconsin rally Oct. 17.

However, Monroe County residents and politicians are calling the validity of these statements into 

Tree Martin, the chief deputy of the Monroe County Clerks Office, said that she cannot speak for the United States; however, for Monroe County, it is highly unlikely election-rigging is going on because of the bipartisan system used at the polls.

At every station, from greeting, check-in, printing and initialing to scanning the voter ballot, the poll workers are equal parts Democrat and Republican to ensure fraud doesn’t occur. The employees are friendly, but they keep each other in check, Martin said.

“It sounds to me like sour grapes,” Martin said on Trump’s rigging allegations.

Martin said she is lucky to have a great team from both the Democratic and Republican parties, which has made early voting smooth sailing in Monroe County thus far.

The only fraud at the polls Martin said she could think of was human error, such as employees incorrectly entering voter information, such as name, address or date of birth, accidentally or because it was illegible and they were forced to guess the spelling.

William Ellis, chairman of the Monroe County Republican Party, said there are always rumors about dead people voting, particularly in Chicago, but those have never been fully investigated. Voters are discouraged from voting by the fraud because they believe it makes their votes less valuable, he said.

Ellis said he would like to see further investigation today because he has read about multiple instances of electronic ballots switching from Republican to Democrat in Texas.

Lisa Houlette, a resident of Arlington, Texas, posted on Facebook on Monday that she tried to vote a straight Republican ticket. However, the machine selected Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine under the presidential vote, she said. Houlette said she tried to fix the selection but had to ask for help from two employees before her vote could be corrected.

Because Monroe County uses paper ballots instead of electronic, voter fraud is less likely, but not impossible, Ellis said. For example, absentee ballots are done by mail and require no ID, 
he said.

Martin said absentee ballots are a good option for the elderly, disabled and those who cannot make it to the polls on election day. However, she has no control over what happens to the ballot once it is mailed to someone’s house, so they should ensure their ballot is filled out how they like.

Mark Fraley, chair of the Monroe County Democratic Party, said Trump’s comments were not surprising because anytime he fails, including with the campaign, bankruptcies or his reality television show “The Apprentice,” Trump blames somebody else. There is no evidence to suggest the election in Monroe County is rigged, he said.

“I think this is one of those things we can toss alongside conspiracy theories like the moon landing and Area 51,” Fraley said.

Norman Horrar, a Bloomington resident who voted early Thursday, said Trump’s allegations are 

“It’s propaganda,” Horrar said. “People should laugh.”

Based on his experience with early voting, Horrar said he saw no signs of fraud or how it could occur.

Bloomington resident Adam Breneman, who also voted early Thursday, said citing the 2000 election fraud is a possibility but based on his experience with early voting he did not believe the election was rigged.

“This is just another example of Trump talking out of his ass,” Breneman said.

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