The front-page headline of the printed newspaper on Oct. 26 read: “ ‘Rigged’ vote claim splits state.” That headline and most of the article gives the false impression that a solid portion of the Minnesota electorate believes this election is rigged or that Donald Trump’s allegations in this regard are accurate. The actual question put to poll participants, however, was: “Do you think it is right or not right for him to raise doubts about the legitimacy of the U.S. election?” Whether Mr. Trump is correct in his assertion and whether he is “right” to bring up the question are obviously two different things. While few believe this election is actually rigged, any dolt has the “right” to raise the question.
While my friends on the right gleefully accuse this paper of slanting toward the political left, this article gives false support to unsubstantiated positions of the right. I can’t remember a worse example of journalism from this paper.
David George Johnson, Sartell, Minn.
• • •
The survey results reported that many believe the election may be “rigged.” The question, as posed, conflates two principles of the voting process:
1) Votes will be fairly counted as cast by legitimate citizens.
2) The process of judging candidates is subject to many influences.
I have served as an election judge for many years and have never witnessed any fraudulent attempts to vote. There are extensive checks on the possibility, and consequences would be severe if they occurred — fines and years in prison. Claiming that votes will not be fairly counted insults the sincere, diligent work of 30,000 election judges in Minnesota (and those throughout the country). Determining who deserves your vote is the democratic process.
Alexander B. Adams, Minneapolis
• • •
Mark Halvorson’s claim that “In Minnesota, we can have confidence in our election outcomes” is completely unfounded (“Five reasons why you can count on the state’s voting system to be accurate,” Oct. 25). In fact, the barriers against election fraud in Minnesota have been set so low that no one can prove or (in Halvorson’s case) disprove that fraud is occurring.
Mr. Halvorson supports his claim by citing lack of evidence for fraudulent voting and “safeguards [that] are in place to ensure that only eligible voters cast their ballots.”
In light of the fact that Minnesota election laws permit no-excuse absentee early voting, online and same-day registration, vouching, and no voter ID requirement, what “safeguards” against fraudulent voting is Halvorson referring to?
As for his contention that there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud based on the small number of convictions, it’s possible he is right. It’s also possible that fraud is so pervasive that it has overwhelmed the legal system’s ability to detect and prosecute it.
Despite Halvorson’s assurances, I lack the confidence that my vote will not be diluted or canceled by election fraud on Nov. 8.
Peter D. Abarbanel, Apple Valley
• • •
Rigged? I’m sick of it! After the hanging-chad fiasco in Florida, I had questions about our election process, so I became an election judge. Your neighbors, Democrats and Republicans, will be working more than 16 hours on Election Day to ensure that your vote gets counted. Before Election Day, judges will verify that the voting machines read accurately. On Election Day, we’ll be there early to set up. You may roll your eyes when we ask you to “sign here,” hand you a piece of paper and remind you to fill in the circle, but we’ll be comparing the number of signatures to the number of receipts to the number of votes read by the machine. Everything must match. As you try to rush out the door, we’ll be asking you to wait for the beep to ensure that your ballot was properly accepted.
After hand-counting paper ballots at several recounts, I can assure you our voting machines are amazingly accurate. The only discrepancy I ever found was when our eyeballs used the test of “voter intent” when a lazy voter had used a check mark instead of filling in the circle. We counted the check; the machine had not.
The most important fail-safe we have is day-of-voting registration. In some states, if your name is not on the roster, you can’t vote. In Minnesota, no one can affect the election by altering the list. Whether there is a computer error, or some Russian hacker deleting names from the roster, we can fix it. With proper verification, and the law requires very specific documentation, you can register and vote at the polls.
Your state, county and city employees, plus volunteers, are working diligently to insure a fair election. Rigged? Baloney!
Rochelle Eastman, Savage
• • •
Is Donald Trump right in raising questions about the legitimacy of the election? Absolutely. Consider the facts:
• Presidential elections are decided by the Electoral College, not the popular vote. Since every state has a minimum of three electoral votes, residents of less populous states are overrepresented in choosing our president.
• Election Day is on a Tuesday, rather than a Sunday, as in most other democracies. This can make it difficult for low-wage workers to cast their votes. (Though Minnesota is among the states to address this problem through early voting.)
• Many states discourage voting by the urban poor through voter ID laws, which make it difficult for those without driver’s licenses to vote.
• Media bias: Trump’s rise to the Republican nomination received crucial early aid from his free coverage by the media.
While I would call these facts biases in our electoral system, rather than “rigging,” they do increase the possibility of a Trump presidency.
Allan Campbell, Minneapolis
PAISLEY PARK MUSEUM
Thanks, from afar
Regarding “Paisley Park wins museum bid” (Oct. 25): Thank you, city council and community members in Chanhassen who have finally worked through your concerns and issues surrounding the museum operation. No one ever expects to accommodate a Graceland or Abbey Road in their neighborhood, but when life deals you an iconic artist and opportunity, the world expects you to embrace it! My friend and I and our wallets will be there to personally thank you in November! If you want to return the favor, come visit our Mormon Tabernacle Choir someday. We can offer about the same amount of traffic, noise and musical talent, but perhaps less funk.
Michael Brehm, Salt Lake City
Oh, ye of sour grapes
The Bard of Lake Wobegon came down hard (Opinion Exchange, Oct. 26) on the Bard of Hibbing, who only wrote “a few good love songs and some memorable phrases,” “is embarrassed” and merely “picks up a check and boards the bus” after his performances. My, my. Which bard should be embarrassed? Not the one from Hibbing.
Patricia Calvert, Rochester