In Their Own Words: Officials Refuting “Rigged” Elections Allegations
During the 2016 election cycle and afterwards, there have been repeated claims that elections in this country are "rigged." This rhetoric around voter fraud has been debunked in study after study. A long list of legislators, election administrators, and others from all political stripes have spoken out against these false claims. A regularly-updated list is included below.
Deputy Majority Whip Representative, Tom Cole (R-OK), a former Secretary of State, said: “[Voter fraud] doesn't occur on a scale vast enough to change the outcome of the presidential election. So this system broadly renders the opinion of the American people. It's done so consistently for literally hundreds of years -- I think it will do it again in three weeks,"
Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) in a debate: “Our elections may not always be completely perfect, but they are legitimate, they have integrity and everyone needs to respect the outcome.”
Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) in a statement after the third presidential debate: “Talking about rigged elections with zero evidence is dangerous because it erodes trust without justification and kindles cynicism that undermines self-government.”
Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) office released a statement in October saying he is “confident” the election will be carried out fairly.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, said the election system is “actually more secure than it’s ever been in our nation’s history.”
Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican, said: “You would have to have a conspiracy of such grand scale that I think we would have much bigger problems than whether this election is rigged.”
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican, said: “This state has a pretty darn good track record, and I really resent anybody trying to blemish it… They’re not demonstrating there’s any proof that there’s these issues.”
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, a Republican, said: Georgia’s “battle-tested voting equipment and the election officials who manage the system have earned voters’ confidence… As Georgia’s chief elections official, I have worked tirelessly to ensure Georgians have safe, accessible, and fair elections in our state.”
Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, a Republican, said: “But by and large, here in Tennessee, based on what I know, elections have been run in a very fair, honest and transparent fashion and in a very bipartisan way, frankly.”
Senator John Kasich (R-OH), when asked if the election is rigged, said: “No! ... Look, to say that elections are rigged and all these votes are stolen, that’s like saying we never landed on the moon, frankly. That’s how silly it is,"
Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, a Republican, said she has "full confidence" in Michigan elections: “In Michigan, we have the checks and balances to make sure that the elections will be done properly, with integrity,”
Ben Ginsberg, national counsel to Romney for President, when asked if there was proof of widespread voter fraud, said: “Not in-person voter fraud. No.”
Mark Braden, a Republican election lawyer, said though there have been occasional cases of voter fraud, “the election system in the United States generally works extremely well, and fraud, although real, is modest.”
Chris Ashby, a Republican election lawyer, posted this article in Vox. He wrote: “To the contrary, our election laws anticipate human error and cheating, and guard against them at multiple levels. The result is a system of voting that is one of the cleanest and best in the world — in which all citizens should have faith and confidence.”
Al Schmidt, Vice Chairman of the Philadelphia City Commissioners, a Republican, in a press conference: “The real threat to the integrity of elections in Philadelphia isn't voter fraud, though it does rarely occur… And it isn't even Russian hackers, though they may certainly exist. The real threat to the integrity of elections is irresponsible accusations that undermine confidence in the electoral process.”
Trey Grayson, a Republican and the former Secretary of State of Kentucky, said: “It is so irresponsible because what he’s doing really goes to the heart of our democracy,” when commenting on Trump’s claims of voter fraud. “What is great about America is that we change our leaders at the ballot box, not by bullets,”
Sherrie Swensen, Salt Lake County Clerk, when asked if voter fraud would occur said: “No. Because we have so many people working on various aspects of the election.”
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said: “No one has suggested to me there’s evidence of what he said,” in response to Trump’s Nov. 27 tweet alleging widespread voter fraud. Graham added: “And if there is not evidence, please stop saying that.”
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, a Democrat, tweeted: “His [Trump's] unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud in California and elsewhere are absurd. His reckless tweets are inappropriate and unbecoming of a president-elect.”
Tom Rath, former Attorney General of New Hampshire, a Republican, tweeted: “This will probably cost me my spot in the Cabinet but there was no fraud, serious or other, in this election in NH. There just wasn't.”
Virginia Commissioner of Elections Edgardo Cortés said: "The claims of voter fraud in Virginia during the November 8 election are unfounded... The election was fair and all votes cast by eligible voters were accurately counted."
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, when asked if he sees evidence of millions of illegal votes cast said “no.”
Utah Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox, a Republican, who oversees elections, called Trump’s voter fraud claims “dangerous” and said that he is “very, very confident that the results are what the results are... It's unfortunate that those are being brought up without any evidence, completely unsubstantiated. It does erode confidence in what is the bedrock foundation of our democratic republic, of our country.”
David M. Scanlan, New Hampshire Senior Deputy Secretary of State and head of the Election Division, in response to Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud said: “There’s no indication of anything that widespread taking place in New Hampshire....The perception and the reality are both very important in this process,” he said, “so if the President-elect has information that suggests there’s something going on that is contrary to what we understand, he ought to present that information so it can be acted on.” He added: “When comments like that are made we become very concerned about the perception, which sometimes is more important than the reality when it comes to conducting elections because the voters need to feel confident that their votes are counted accurately.”
Brian Buonamano, Assistant Attorney General of New Hampshire, said: “I do not see any indication of a coordinated effort to conduct voter fraud on a large scale in the state of New Hampshire.... There is no indication of that. That’s not to say there aren’t potentially isolated incidents in any election, but not the kind of massive coordinated thing the President-elect appears to be referencing, although I’m not sure exactly what he is referencing.”
New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, a Republican, said: “No evidence of voter fraud in this past election has been brought to my attention,”
Ruth Talmadge, Augusta (VA) County Electoral Board Chairwoman, in responding to Trump’s tweet accusing Virginia of voter fraud said: "I’m not being cocky, but we just don’t... We had no malfunctions at all, we had no hesitations and our officers of election, at our training sessions, we briefed them thoroughly and to make any note of any hiccup that our equipment showed."
James Kivlighan, Staunton (VA) Electoral Board Chairman, said: "I honestly have no idea how you can have voter fraud, we’re very very careful… I think that he’s just wrong… I just don’t see it, I take my job very very seriously."
Lisa Jeffers, Waynesboro (VA) Registrar, said: "I feel very comfortable and confident that the election was exactly as people wanted to see it turn out."
Brad Winter, New Mexico’s outgoing Republican Secretary of State, said: “We have such a great system, because everything is backed up by a paper ballot.” On the topic of Trump’s recent claim that “millions” committed voter fraud he said “There’s nothing on that scale.”
Chad Mayes, California Assembly GOP leader, said "I don't think there's widespread fraud in California,"
Matt Roberts, the spokesman for Arizona’s Secretary of State, said: “We haven’t received any complaints to our office or any word of suspicious activity, and we would definitely hear it."
Jim Tenuto, Assistant Executive Director of the Illinois State Board of Elections, when asked about instances of voter fraud in his state said: “Nothing at all, really.”
Meg Casper, the spokeswoman for Louisiana’s Secretary of State, on the topic of fraud claims, said: “You call up and say there are busloads of people being dropped off in multiple parishes, and we have to check it out, even though we hear it every election... We call up the precinct office and they say, ‘No, we haven’t seen anything like that.’”
Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, a Democrat, said: “It is frustrating for me… Among secretaries of state, we’ve been very concerned about the rhetoric around the conduct of the election… The process works.”
The National Association of Secretaries of State, in a press release, stated: “The members of the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) cannot allow unsubstantiated claims calling into question the systemic integrity of the election process to shake voter confidence or disrupt voting in the run-up to Election Day on November 8th… Voters must have no doubt that their votes – and votes alone – will determine the next President of the United States this November.”