Saturday, 24 Oct 2020

America's nightmare foretold: Trump to call election results fraudulent no matter the margin

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump made it clear at the debate that he’ll continue to call the results fraudulent — and contest the outcome in key states — no matter how wide the margin. That’ll be amplified by a massive amount of disinformation, even though the platforms are trying to curtail it.

Why it matters: Back in 2000, we didn’t know Bush v. Gore was going to happen. We know this is going to happen.

  • Trump is telegraphing with clarity that even if he gets blown out, he’ll claim the election was rigged and votes were stolen.

Election officials, especially in areas with significant minority voting populations, need to prepare for an increased danger of "rogue Trump supporters taking matters into their own hands," said Rick Hasen, a national election law expert at UC Irvine.

Pennsylvania, with a GOP legislature that could try to bolster Trump in the case of contested results, is a major focus of both parties' post-election planning.

  • Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told Axios: "The president’s statements, in combination with real activity on the ground in Philadelphia, has us sounding an alarm today and escalating our efforts to understand what’s happening."

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon told Axios: "What is distressing about the president’s remarks is I fear his supporters will take it upon themselves to mobilize large numbers to go to the polls" as poll watchers.

  • Simon said they'll be denied access: Minnesota allows only one poll watcher (called a challenger) per political party at each polling station.
  • Simon added: "I fear, to be fair, that folks on the other side will feel the need to counter mobilize."

Margaret Talev and Alayna Treene contributed reporting.

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