POLITICS

Donald Trump Doesn't Seem To Understand How Voting Works

The GOP presidential nominee keeps complaining about "a rigged election."

Amid flagging poll numbers and controversy after controversy, GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday continued to blame his poor performance on a “rigged” election.

“It’s not a fair situation. It’s a rigged situation,” he told Fox News’ Greta van Susteren. “In a certain way, it’s rigged by the media, if you think about it.” 

The main argument that Trump has advanced in favor of his view involves the wave of GOP-backed voter ID laws. Trump believes that because courts have struck down voter ID laws in several states, there will be more voter fraud in this year’s election. But he seems to have no idea how voting works or what voter ID laws actually accomplish. 

On Wednesday, he called a federal court’s decision to overturn North Carolina’s voter ID law “very unfortunate” and wondered if, without the law in place, “does that mean anybody can just go and walk in and vote?”

Last week, he similarly said that in the absence of voter ID laws, “people are going to walk in there, they’re going to vote 10 times, maybe. Who knows? They’re going to vote 10 times.”

In the wake of the 2013 Supreme Court ruling that gutted key portions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, GOP-led state legislatures rushed to pass voter ID laws. They justified them as a means of preventing voter fraud, but very few cases of voter fraud, such as the repeated voting that Trump thinks is a problem, have ever been documented.

Instead, voter ID laws disenfranchise minorities and poor people, imposing greater obstacles to voting. The restrictions often involve stringent rules for obtaining the proper form of identification, making the process to become a registered voter costly and time-consuming.

The courts that have ruled against these laws have agreed that they are discriminatory. In North Dakota, a federal judge last week blocked the state’s voter ID law because it places “substantial and disproportionate burdens” on Native American voters compared to other voters in the state. Federal courts have also ruled voting restrictions in Wisconsin and Texas unconstitutional because they are racially discriminatory.

The federal appeals court that struck down North Carolina’s law last month issued a scathing ruling, arguing that the law targeted African-American voters “with almost surgical precision.” The judges who issued the ruling also called the law “one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history,” comparing it to Jim Crow-era segregation.

Examining the GOP’s history of voter suppression, “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah argued on Monday that Trump may be right that that the election could be “rigged” — but not in the way that he thinks.

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liarrampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims ― 1.6 billion members of an entire religion ― from entering the U.S.

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