Local leaders push back against ‘rigged election’ claims

In 20 days, you’ll go to the polls and cast your ballot.  Both President Barack Obama and those who run Kentucky’s elections are pushing back against claims the system is rigged.  Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who is behind in the polls, continues to make that claim while out on the campaign trail.

Trump has said, “You see what’s happening, the process is rigged," and "it’s a phony deal."

His twitter feed is also full of claims of large scale voter fraud, saying the election is absolutely rigged by the media, and there’s a coordinated effort to steal the election.

Obama responded to Trump’s claims Tuesday. He says every expert says instances of significant voter fraud don’t exist, and that Trump’s claim does not show the kind of leadership and toughness needed to be president.

Obama said: “I’d invite Mr. Trump to stop whining, and go try and make his case to get votes.”

State and local election leaders say widespread fraud is just not possible. Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes says widespread fraud isn’t possible, because Election Day is overseen by 15,000 people. Voting machines are not connected to the internet, making them impossible to hack, and the vote count is audited by a bipartisan staff.

In a statement Grimes says: "Such claims discount the good work thousands of Kentucky citizens and hundreds of thousands of Americans do to ensure everyone has a chance to exercise their right to vote and to make certain that our elections are fair and accurate."

With 20 days to go until Election Day, Grimes met with the Kentucky Election Integrity Task Force. It’s made up of the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear and Kentucky State Police. They working together to ensure a fair election.

Locally, election leaders say they follow the same guidelines. McCracken County Clerk Julie Griggs says every step of the voting process is certified by the state and double checked by local leaders. Griggs says there’s no way the system could be rigged.

“There’s checks and double checks all the way through to make sure numbers match, and we report those totals to the state board of elections in Frankfort," Griggs explains. 

Griggs says local bipartisan election board members inspect the machines well before the ballots are cast, and every ballot is cast on paper. She says only once all the ballots are counted and phoned in to the secretary of state’s office, only then are they sent to Frankfort online.

Voters who suspect something wrong on Election Day can call a toll-free number to report what they’re seeing. That number is 1-800-328-VOTE.

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