Politics

Maine Gov.: Voter ID Needed To Ensure Fair Election

| by Robert Fowler
Republican Gov. Paul LePage of MaineRepublican Gov. Paul LePage of Maine

Republican Gov. Paul LePage of Maine agrees with GOP nominee Donald Trump that the November election could be rigged through voter fraud, although neither has offered evidence that the fix is in.

On Oct. 18, LePage told a local Maine radio station that he was convinced that voting in his own state would be rigged against Trump, CNN reports.

“I am not confident we’re going to have a clean election in Maine and I’ll tell you why,” LePage said. “The left, the Democratic party, insists on not having IDs. And will people from the cemetery be voting? Yes. All around the country.”

LePage was referring to Democratic opposition to the strict voter ID laws that have cropped up across the country since 2013. Democrats charge that GOP lawmakers favor the ID laws as a tool to keep racial minorities from being able to vote, The Daily Beast reports.

For instance, five states that will have newly enforced voter ID laws this year — Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia — have both Republican-controlled legislatures and have become increasingly diverse over the past 10 years, with Latino immigration and African-Americans registering to vote for President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

The courts have agreed that these laws have a racial component. When North Carolina’s strict voter ID provisions were struck down by Judge Diana Gribbon Motz of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Motz wrote that the law’s “new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”

LePage, who is a vocal Trump supporter, said “the media and the Democratic party want everybody to vote whether they’re citizens or not… I don’t think that elections in the state of Maine or the United States are legitimate.”

LePage won his office in 2011, and did not clarify whether or not his election was fair.

Trump has been charging that the November election could be rigged. On Oct. 16, the business mogul took to Twitter to tell his supporters “The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest media and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary — but also at many polling places. SAD.”

The business mogul has not produced any evidence that the presidential election will be rigged against him. Elections are not run by the federal government but by the individual states, with precincts staffed by private citizens, according to NPR.

Even if there was a coordinated conspiracy, the crucial battleground states of Florida, North Carolina and Ohio are all run by Republican governors.

“I am in charge of elections in Ohio, and they’re not going to be rigged," Republican Secretary of State John Husted, who openly supports Trump, said. "We make it easy to vote and hard to cheat.”

While Trump and LePage have charged that the election will be rigged by voter fraud, there is no historical precedent.

A study conducted by Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt found that there were only 31 incidents of voter fraud from 2000 through 2014. That means that LePage’s accusation rests on an average of eight people being able to swing an entire national election.

Despite the lack of evidence, a Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 73 percent of Republican voters believe that the election could be rigged against the GOP nominee, Salon reports.

Other polls indicate that Trump’s support has been crumbling since a 2005 tape of the business mogul bragging about groping and kissing women without consent surfaced. While Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton had been polling very closely in September, she has overtaken him by a wide margin in the past two weeks.

Aggregating the last nine national polls released since Oct. 10, after the audio emerged, RealClearPolitics found that Clinton leads a four-way race by an average seven percentage points.

Sources: CNN, The Daily Beast, NPR, RealClearPoliticsSalon, Twitter / Photo Credit: Maine Department of Education/Flickr

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