Ohio’s Top GOP Election Official Calls Trump’s Rigging Rhetoric ‘Irresponsible’

Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted – the state’s top election official – said that Donald Trump’s recent allegations that the election will be rigged were “irresponsible.”

“Our institutions like our election system is one of the bedrocks of American democracy. We should not question it,” Husted said Monday on CNN. Noting his state’s bipartisan election system, Husted added “that people feel good about the process of voting.”

For months Trump has pushed the conspiracy theory that the election might somehow be rigged against, but has amped up the language in recent days, as his poll numbers have plummeted. His surrogates have tried to spin his remarks as being about the media coverage of the campaign and not any precinct-level tampering, but the GOP nominee made clear he was talking about voter fraud as well.

Husted pushed back on claim Monday.

“First of all, I can reassure Donald Trump, I am in charge of elections in Ohio, and they’re not going to be rigged. I’ll make sure of that,” he said. He challenged Trump to clarify what kind of fraud, exactly, he was worried about.

“The idea of widespread voter fraud would require some systemic problem in our system, and so, if there’s a systemic problem, please identify it. Don’t just make an allegation on Twitter, tell me, tell the secretaries of state around the country what the problem is so that we can fix it,” Husted continued.

Even before Trump, some Republicans pointed to the threat of fraud to pass voting restrictions like voter ID and other election laws that critics say target minorities. In-person voter fraud is very rare. A 2014 survey found only 31 incidences of voter impersonation in a billion ballots cast.

“There’s just no justification for concern about widespread voter fraud,” Husted said Monday, while touting some of the actions he has taken as secretary of state.

Husted, nevertheless, said he planned to vote for Trump.

“But, I’m just remorseful or regretful that he’s saying things like this, which really undermine the potential that he has as a candidate. They are not the kinds of things that he should be saying,” Husted said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tierney Sneed is a reporter for Talking Points Memo. She previously worked for U.S. News and World Report. She grew up in Florida and attended Georgetown University.
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