President-elect Donald Trump’s attorneys are now attempting to block a recount of votes in three states less than a month after his highly-publicized series of complaints that the presidential election was “rigged” before he won the presidency on Nov. 8.
The recount effort has been spearheaded by third-party candidate Jill Stein, and Hillary Clinton’s camp has thrown its support behind the move.
Trump is only the fifth president-elect to win the electoral college vote without winning the popular vote. The billionaire businessman has referred several times since the election to the margin of his electoral college win, despite the fact that rival Hillary Clinton received approximately 1 million more votes.
If Trump were to have lost, however, many people have wondered if he would have contested the results of the election, because he said he would only accept the results if he won. When asked this question in the third and final presidential debate, Trump said, “I will look at it at the time,” implying that if he perceived the election was rigged against him, he would contest the result.
Several of his advisors have admitted since election night they didn’t believe he would win, affirming what many saw as his attempt to lay the groundwork for challenging the outcome.
On Oct. 16, he tweeted, “The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary – but also at many polling places – SAD.”
But it should be pointed out that a Trump supporter was arrested for voter fraud.
History shows that isolated instances of voter fraud do occur, but to have the volume of fraud Trump was implying during his campaign is simply not possible, according to wired.com.
Kent Seamons, a BYU computer science professor, said the chance of major interference in an election is slim.
“Voting machine software has been examined and found to be weak, but the risk of a widespread attack is small. There are procedures in place to test many voting machines prior to each election,” Seamons said. “The system isn’t perfect, but it makes it harder to pull off a broad attack.”
Utah County Clerk/Auditor Bryan Thompson said, “A certain number of our (voting) machines after the election are selected for random audit.
During that audit, what we do is we check to make sure the votes on the internal memory, the votes on the card that was put in the server to do the count and the votes on the paper record that we have on the machines match up. I’ve watched that in my ten years here and I’ve never seen it be off once.”
Seamons said, “It would be very hard to attack our voting infrastructure and change the outcome of a presidential election.”
Trump himself, and his campaign staff, asked his supporters to poll watch on election day. There was a form on his website for supporters to voluntarily fill out in order to become, what his campaign called, a Trump Election Observer.
What was the reason for this? According to the website, Trump and his campaign wanted voters to help Trump stop “Crooked Hillary” from rigging the election.
Republicans have called Trump out on this, including Chris Ashby, a Republican election lawyer, who said, “That’s going to create a disturbance and, played out in polling places across the country, it has the potential to destabilize the election, which is very, very dangerous.”
The interesting thing with Trump asserting the election is at high risk of being rigged is that it is a baseless claim.
As Clinton pointed out in the third presidential debate, when things don’t go in Trump’s favor, he cries, “Rigged!” For example, Trump claimed the 2004 and 2005 Emmys were rigged.
“There was even a time when he didn’t get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged against him,” Clinton said.
Trump believed his show “The Apprentice” deserved to win.
Thompson said although there is much talk about accusations and “rigged elections,” he feels confident in Utah County’s voting system.
“No system’s infallible,” Thompson said, “and there are things that happen out there, but to the point that this is getting spread in the media, that there’s things going on — especially by a couple of the campaigns — I think that’s doing a disservice to the public.”
During his victory speech, Trump pledged to be a president for all Americans. He described his campaign as, “a movement comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs who want and expect our government to serve the people.” His victory speech had a different tone than he had throughout his campaign.
The morning after the election, President Obama addressed the American people saying he is going to make sure Trump will be at the receiving end of a peaceful transition of power, because that transition is a hallmark of our democracy ensuring when the president-elect takes over he can get right to work.
Obama said, “Everybody is sad when their side loses an election. But the day after, we have to remember that we’re actually all on one team.” Obama continued, saying, “We’re not Democrats first. We’re not Republicans first. We are Americans first.”