Secretaries of State Association Reaffirms Integrity of Electoral Process

With Donald Trump repeatedly suggesting that the election may be "rigged," the National Association of Secretaries of State has spoken out, emphasizing that the electoral process has numerous safeguards in place.

In the face of unprecedented criticism from one of the two main candidates, who asserts that voting integrity is lacking in the 2016 presidential election, one association is trying its best to reassure the public before November 8.

Last week, the nonpartisan National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), which represents elected secretaries of state and the offices they operate, released a statement defending their members’ ability to protect votes—something that has been called into question by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“Remember folks, it’s a rigged system,” Trump said on Friday, according to Reuters. “That’s why you’ve got to get out and vote, you’ve got to watch. Because this system is totally rigged.”

Additionally, U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials have raised concerns that hacks, such as those recently uncovered by Wikileaks, could lead the Russian government to release falsified documents that suggest widespread voter fraud. That, officials said, would be more likely than attempts to hack the voting system, which doesn’t rely on modern technology.

NASS says claims of voter fraud are “unsubstantiated,” and its members have numerous safeguards in place to prevent such actions.

“With concerns about ‘rigging’ and ‘hacking’ elections permeating media coverage of the presidential campaigns, state election chiefs want to assure Americans that our process is fairly administered and well-secured, with built-in structural safeguards to ensure honest outcomes and accurate results,” the association said in a news release.

Individual secretaries of state also spoke out regarding the integrity of the polling systems in their states. In Maryland, the state released documents explaining the security features of its voting system. Meanwhile, West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant pointed to her state’s infrastructure of electoral workers.

“I believe in the county clerks, and I believe in our poll workers,” Tennant told the Charleston Gazette-Mail. “If someone questions the process, why don’t they sign up to be a poll worker?”

NASS, whose members will be keeping an eye on 9,000 polling stations nationwide, emphasized that it treated issues of voting irregularity seriously, and that election officials could provide a resource to voters who have concerns about the process.

The group also pointed out the list of current laws [PDF] that help to define the activity of poll watchers.

“The nation’s Secretaries of State have an ethical mandate and a conscientious duty to deliver a voting process that is not only fair and secure, but also accurate and accessible,” NASS added. “Voters must have no doubt that their votes—and votes alone—will determine the next President of the United States this November.”

Donald Trump, who has raised concerns about the voting process. (Michael Candelori/Flickr)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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