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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Trump comments of ‘rigged election’ denounced by officials running them

Donald Trump’s claims that the presidential election could be “rigged” was denounced as irresponsible by Washington’s chief elections officer and next to impossible by her counterpart in Idaho.

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican, said she had “full and complete confidence” in the elections system, despite recent comments by her party’s nominee.

“This kind of baseless accusation is irresponsible and threatens to undermine voter confidence on this most basic foundation of democracy,” Wyman said in a statement Tuesday. “Every eligible ballot will be handled securely and tabulated carefully and accurately.”

Tim Hurst, chief deputy secretary of state for Idaho, bluntly rejected Trump’s claims of possible voter fraud.

“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” Hurst said. “It’s almost, but not quite, impossible to do that.”

The two states have very different voting systems, but Wyman and Hurst said separately that each is secure.

Washington counties started mailing a ballot to every registered voter Tuesday, and most should arrive at a voter’s listed residence by the weekend. There are no polling places; voters can either mail back their ballot or deposit it in a drop box by 8 p.m. on Nov. 8. Any ballot received by county elections officials with a postmark on Nov. 8 or earlier will be counted in the two weeks after the election before results become final.

Idaho counties operate elections and have a variety of ballot systems, Hurst said. To tamper with the results “would take an army of people and a conspiracy,” he said. Besides, Trump is expected to win Idaho, which traditionally is one of the nation’s most Republican states.

“Our biggest concern isn’t rigging the election as much as disrupting the election,” Hurst said. Trump has called for his supporters to go to polling places to make sure people don’t vote multiple times and has a page on his website devoted to recruiting volunteer election observers.

But people in Idaho can’t just show up at a poll site and sit around. “You have to be certified as a poll watcher,” Hurst said, and each party is allowed only one per polling station.