Trump and Giuliani: Both wrong on vote fraud

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Donald Trump may be running down the electoral process just to manage the shame of defeat, writes Gene Lyons. | Evan Vucci/AP

WASHINGTON — Contrary to the escalating baseless charges from GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, there is no evidence of “large scale voter fraud’ in Chicago, the rest of Illinois or the nation.

On Monday, still with no evidence, Trump said in a tweet, “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!”

There also is no evidence to back top Trump adviser Rudy Giuliani’s claim Sunday on CNN: “To tell me that I think the election in Philadelphia and Chicago is going to be fair, I would have to be a moron to say that.”

As Trump falls behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the polls, he is questioning the legitimacy of what he is calling a “rigged” election.

FACT CHECK

Isolated problems are not the same as widespread fraud.

In the past 10 years, voters in Chicago have cast 9.078 million ballots in municipal, primary and general elections. From that pool, there have been 10 referrals to the Cook County State’s Attorney for “suspicious activity,” according to Jim Allen, spokesman for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. And of the 10, only one led to a prosecution.

Cook County Clerk David Orr oversees elections in suburban Cook County. In the 2012 presidential election there were three problem cases. There were no cases in 2008 and 2004.

Said Orr, a Democrat: “Like on most things, [Trump] doesn’t know what he is talking about.”

Former Chicago-based U.S. Attorney Dan Webb, a Republican, is endorsing Clinton while backing the rest of the GOP ticket.

“As far as Chicago is concerned, there has not been any evidence in decades of any improprieties in voting. Those allegations that exist in years gone past primarily involved ghost voters and the overall number was small,” Webb said.

“The last election in Chicago that anyone thought was ever impacted by voting misconduct was the 1960 presidential election involving Jack Kennedy. That is 55 years ago. To suggest that there is any evidence that vote fraud is going to occur in Chicago in this election is completely without merit and is irresponsible,” Webb said.

Tim Schneider, chairman of the Illinois Republican party, said he did not know about Trump’s claim of “large scale” fraud, but “To deny that voter fraud does not exist would be to deny that winter is cold in Chicago. Of course voter fraud exists and it is up to Republicans and Democrats to see that no voters’ properly cast vote is canceled by a fraudulently cast vote.”

PolitiFact, looking nationally, concluded, “Actual instances of voter fraud — such as voter impersonation, ballot stuffing and bought votes — are extremely rare, often unintentional and not on a scale large enough to affect a national election. Trump’s alarming claim, once again, is without proof.”

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