Our mailbox has been inundated with questions regarding the voting process in 2016. So we figured now would be as good of a time as any to answer them!
Over the last few weeks, we’ve been getting a lot of questions regarding the voting process and the claims against it. While some of these are ripe for longer pieces, a lot of these questions not only overlap each other, but can be answered in a couple of sentences. So we created five questions, based on the numerous questions we’ve been getting as of late about the election process, and decided to answer them in this quick format.
We’re thinking of doing more of these, so if you have any questions regarding the 2016 elections or just political questions in general, send them to either our email address at contact[AT]thepostturtle[DOT]com or leave a comment in this post.
Is there any legitimacy to Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud?
This was usually our reaction after receiving multiple messages asking us to weigh in on this question.
Short answer, no.
The real reason Donald Trump is trying to claim that it’s a “rigged election” is because he’s losing and needs an exit strategy that doesn’t make him look like a loser. After all, Trump’s “brand” has always been connected to success and losing a presidential contest is a VERY public defeat. The “rigged” talk from Trump is just trying to find a way to sidestep being branded as a loser if when he loses.
What about the Trump’s claims of deceased individuals being registered voters?
In Gettysburg, PA, Trump says dead people are registered to vote, "and some of them are voting."
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) October 22, 2016
Well… in a literal sense Donald Trump is right, there are millions of registered voters that are currently deceased. As Pew Research reported some time ago, there are currently 1.8 million individuals that are registered to vote in 2016. However, being registered to vote and actually voting are two completely different things!!
While Trump is right about the literal facts – that there are currently dead people registered to vote – that doesn’t mean they’re all going to vote come Election Day. In actuality, voter fraud is basically a non-existent problem in US elections. While the problem of recently deceased individuals still being on voter registration lists do cause problems with reporting voting statistics and waste tax payer dollars, saying these numbers prove that voter fraud exists is just plain misguided and wrong!
What’s the deal with write-in candidates?
US elections have a long history of people putting in write-in candidates. While there are a few exceptions of individuals actually winning an electoral contest through a write-in vote, usually a write-in vote acts as a protest vote for most voters; hence why you get popular write-in candidates like Mickey Mouse or Stephen Colbert. In most cases, the write-in option gives an unsatisfied voter the chance to vent about the candidates on a ballot. Most local voting laws even treat it as a protest vote because in the majority of cases – 34 states – for write-in candidates to be counted, they have to be first registered as such; like the case with Green Party candidate Jill Stein on the North Carolina ballot.
How has early-voting effected the 2016 election thus far?
Currently there are 36 states (including Washington DC) that offer some form of early-voting, making it easier for people to vote. As of this writing, here are some of the facts and figures from early-voting in 2016.
- More than 7.3 million people have already voted in the US. Which is historically a ton more people than past years!
Political analysists are giving Democrats a slight lead in the battleground states of North Carolina and Arizona. But Republicans have done well in Iowa, a state that President Obama had carried in the last election cycle.
Democrats have outpaced Republicans in early-voting by just over 4,000 votes, which isn’t much.
Overall, early-voting totals show the Democrats having a better turnout especially when it comes to Millennials and other minority groups (especially Latino voters) in states like Arizona and Florida. But as FiveThirtyEight points out, even though early-voting has become more popular this year, it doesn’t really tell us much about the eventual results. While it can tell us general trends of the electorate, hard results are always revealed on Election Day.
What is the best way to do research on candidates before I go and vote?
We’ve been getting this question a lot and honestly, the easiest way of finding information on the candidates in your ballot – especially local candidates where information can be tough to find – is to type into Google “what’s on my ballot?” and then typing in your address for the specified area. It should give you a ballot that looks something like this:
From the few tests that we ran, the ballot looks to be relatively accurate to the one you’ll see when you go vote. While you’ll have to do a bit more digging to find out more about specific candidates, finding out who’s on the ballot – especially those running for local office – is a good starting point.
(Photo Credits: Pixabay.com, Google Images)