Republican voting experts have overwhelmingly rejected President Trump’s claims that the 2020 election is going to be rigged, giving firsthand accounts to Yahoo News that frame the president’s rhetoric as a form of disinformation.
Two of the most experienced and talented election lawyers in the Republican Party — including one who was an adviser to Vice President Mike Pence until recently — told Yahoo News that Trump’s claims are not based in reality.
Multiple Republicans who oversee elections in different states said the same.
“The idea that a massive conspiracy could be undertaken that could actually change the result of a governor’s race or U.S. Senate race — or certainly a presidential race — is a very far-fetched idea and beyond, really, the realm of possibility,” Frank LaRose, the Republican secretary of state of Ohio, said in an interview.
Michael Adams, the Republican secretary of state of Kentucky, echoed that expert opinion.
“You’re not going to see widespread fraud in a presidential or a Senate or a governor’s race. It’s just not feasible,” Adams said in a separate interview with Yahoo News.
Adams is an election law attorney who has advised Republican campaigns across the country for more than a decade. In 2017, he became an election law adviser to Pence through his PAC, the Great America Committee. Adams contacted Yahoo News Wednesday to say he was no longer an adviser, but did not say when that relationship ended.
Benjamin Ginsberg is one of the Republican Party’s other top election law attorneys. In fact, he has been one of the GOP’s foremost operatives when it comes to navigating the law in the world of politics. Ginsberg oversaw the party’s legal campaign to win the 2000 presidential election during the recount in Florida. He has advised four of the last six Republican presidential nominees.
Ginsberg retired on Aug. 31 from law practice, and began speaking out a few days after that to warn America about the danger of Trump’s false claims of a rigged election.
In an interview, Ginsberg described Trump’s sustained verbal assault on the integrity of the American election as unprecedented in American history.
“For the first time, a president of the United States is saying our elections are rigged and fraudulent,” Ginsberg said. “And I’ve been looking at polling places for 38 years as part of my duties and passion for the Republican Party doing well in elections. We’ve been looking for fraud. And I know what evidence is available, and there’s not anything like enough evidence to make the bold assertion that our elections are rigged and fraudulent.”
“It is a perilous thing for a president of the United States to be saying,” Ginsberg said.
And Kim Wyman, Washington state’s top election official, described how two major components of American elections are big obstacles to cheating: decentralization and accountability.
“We have a very decentralized election system that has over 10,000 election officials just like me who are either appointed or elected. They answer to their voters. They answer to their constituents,” said Wyman, a Republican who is Washington’s secretary of state.
“We’re very committed to making sure we have an accurate and fair election. States are working right now to make sure we’re balancing access and security so voters can have a safe voting experience and people can have confidence in the results,” Wyman said. “That’s what our profession is, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
Asked specifically about Trump’s claims of a rigged election, Wyman said: “I would categorically disagree with the president on that claim.”
Cheating and fraud do happen in elections on a small and localized scale, but not on a statewide or national scale. (Yahoo News is tracking incidents of mistakes, malfeasance or fraud in this election.) And the wrongdoers are usually political insiders — not voters. That’s the consensus view not only of Republican voting experts, but also of the nation’s top law enforcement officials.
“We have not seen, to date, a coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray in congressional testimony on Sept. 17. “[We] certainly have investigated a voter fraud committed by mail. It’s typically been at the local level.”
In that testimony, Wray said his greatest concern is “the steady drumbeat of misinformation” about the integrity of the election. “I think Americans can and should have confidence in our election system and certainly in our democracy,” Wray said. “But I worry that people will take on a feeling of futility because of all of the noise and confusion that’s generated.”
Wray and top officials from three other federal agencies — all of them tasked with preventing foreign interference in elections, and with prosecuting any cases of fraud — released a video statement on Oct. 6 to fight back against this “noise and confusion.”
“There’s been a lot of talk about efforts to hack our elections over the last four years, and some of you might be wondering whether the 2020 elections will be secure,” said Chris Krebs, the director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency. “Well, I’m here today to tell you that my confidence in the security of your vote has never been higher.”
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