The insanity of the 2016 presidential election will be over ... at least, the voting part will be over ... in just a few weeks, but the drama is likely to continue because GOP candidate Donald Trump is convinced that the only way he can lose is if the election is "rigged" and "stolen" from him. But at least he'll accept the results ... if he wins.
So, can a presidential election be rigged and stolen?
I suppose that it's theoretically possible, but the odds of it happening are infinitesimally small. Here's why ...
1. We do not have a single, centralized system of voting. Because of our federal structure, each of the 50 states manages voting in its own way. Consider the issue of equipment: some states use voting machines, but not all voting machines are of the same type (there are about 15 different manufacturers). Some voting machines provide a paper audit trail, and others don't. Some states use "direct recording electronic" devices which store votes in an electronic memory and may or may not provide a paper audit trail. Some states rely on paper ballots marked by hand and tabulated by optical scanners, and some use paper ballots which are counted by hand. Some use punch-card ballots (remember the infamous "hanging chads" in Florida in the 2000 election?). You can read more about the various kinds of voting systems here.
2. Since each state has its own voting processes and equipment, consider the infrastructure of people and expertise that would be needed to manipulate tens of thousands of voting machines across hundreds if not thousands of individual precincts.
3. There are urban legends about thousands of illegal immigrants and other unqualified and unregistered voters being bused from precinct to precinct to cast multiple votes. As far as I can tell, no one has ever actually positively identified such a large scale effort or identified or photographed a fraud bus.
4. Even assuming that everything above is true, can you imagine every one of the people involved keeping the secret?
5. If the election is said to be "rigged" in favor of Secretary Clinton and the Democrats, how does that square with the fact that elections are administered at the state level, and the majority of state governorships and legislators are controlled by the GOP? Check it out here.
6. Finally, considering that Congressional districts are gerrymandered beyond all bounds of reason and common sense in order to either maximize or minimize the impact of certain voting groups, it seems that any "rigging" has been done by those in both parties ... but mainly the GOP ... who have crafted the electoral map to their advantage. Want to fix "rigging?" Draw Congressional districts fairly. Check it out here.
This is what rigging is ...
Quit whining and cast your vote.
Have a good day. More thoughts tomorrow.