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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Opinion >  Syndicated columns

Gary Crooks: Election isn’t likely to be ‘rigged’

Donald Trump claims the election is rigged against him, but he’ll win anyway and clean up the mess. That’s what his ads say on TV and across social media.

OK, so it’s not the most logical message, but it is a destructive blast against the integrity of American elections. Republicans further down the ballot probably wish he would shut up, because it’s a disincentive for people to vote.

“Rigged” suggests an inside job. But elections are state-by-state ventures run by secretaries of state, and 28 of them are Republicans. So maybe he means voter fraud. After all, he did say, “People are going to walk in and they’re going to vote 10 times, maybe, who knows?”

Donkeys could vote. Maybe. Who knows?

Trump told talk show host Sean Hannity, “I’m telling you, Nov. 8, we better be careful because that election is going to be rigged and I hope the Republicans are watching closely, or it’s going to be taken away from us.”

Doesn’t this just set up a scenario under which a huge swath of Americans simply don’t accept the results? Even if Trump wins, it’s rigged, according to him. So there’s an excuse for Democrats to disregard the results.

Maybe all of the races are rigged – governor, county commissioner and secretary of state! Who knows?

Of course, I wouldn’t make such a charge without evidence. I have none, so please vote.

VOTER FRAUD? The Carnegie-Knight News21 program is part of a voting rights project. It investigates fraud claims and produces a report that is must reading for anyone who believes elections are rigged. Here is a summation of its latest report:

“A News21 analysis four years ago of 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases in 50 states found that while some fraud had occurred since 2000, the rate was infinitesimal compared with the 146 million registered voters in that 12-year span. The analysis found only 10 cases of voter impersonation, the only kind of fraud that could be prevented by voter ID at the polls.

“This year, News21 reviewed cases in Arizona, Ohio, Georgia, Texas and Kansas, where politicians have expressed concern about voter fraud and found hundreds of allegations but few prosecutions between 2012 and 2016. Attorneys general in those states successfully prosecuted 38 cases, though other cases may have been litigated at the county level. At least one-third of those cases involved nonvoters, such as elections officials or volunteers. None of the cases prosecuted was for voter impersonation.”

Trump: “People are going to walk in and they’re going to vote 10 times, maybe, who knows?”

Now you know.

QUESTION FOR READERS. I overheard this discussion in the newsroom, and I’d thought I’d share it here. Is there a complaint about Spokane that isn’t a complaint in any other medium-size to large city? Sometimes I have to wonder: “Is this the only place you’ve ever lived?”

We hear a lot of griping about paying to park downtown. Is there a city where that doesn’t occur? Is there a city where the newspaper is universally beloved and respected? Where the mayor and city council work hard for the citizens without “playing politics”? No potholes? No disruptive road construction? No traffic?

Or, are people really thinking of small towns as paradise? “You just pull right up and park – free!” Wow. Sounds like heaven. It’s a wonder everyone doesn’t move there. Then again, if they did, you wouldn’t be able to park. Must be some reason – aside from masochism – that people cluster in these centers of aggravation.

Aren’t these really just complaints about the unavoidable realities of urban settings? And aren’t there drawbacks to suburbs and small towns, too?

I’d love to get readers’ thoughts on this. Is the city so horrible, it deserves “only in Spokane” criticism? What city should we emulate?

Send me an email with your name and town. Contact information is at the end of this column. Please be brief.

Opinion Editor Gary Crooks can be reached at or (509) 459-5026. Follow him on Twitter @GaryCrooks.

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