On CNN, Republican Campaign Lawyer Denounces Trump's Rigged Election Claims As “Unfounded” And “Dangerous”

Chris Ashby: “This Really Has The Potential To Have A Destabilizing Effect On The Orderly Administration Of The Election”

From the October 18 edition of CNN's New Day:

Video file

ALISYN CAMEROTA (HOST): Let's get the facts on voter fraud. You have looked into this. What have you found about whether or not voter fraud and widespread voter fraud exists? 

KATIE SANDERS: Voter fraud is rare. This is not what you've heard from Donald Trump this week or even a few months ago when he said a similar claim. But unlike what he said, voter fraud is exceedingly rare and there are multiple studies backing up that fact.

CAMEROTA: You voted what he said -- go ahead.

SANDERS: We rated what he said “pants on fire,” which is our worst rating for statements made by politicians. 

CAMEROTA: And that's because what you found is that there's just only isolated incidents and that it's so rare that it was pants on fire? Why did you go to that extreme? 

SANDERS: Well, he said it's happening on a large scale on and before Election Day. And there's just no evidence to back that up. When we contacted the campaign, they sent us a few reports about sloppy bookkeeping on the part of local election supervisors who have had people on the ballot rolls who have died. But it's not happening in person at the polls to the extent that he says. 

CAMEROTA: OK. Chris, you are a Republican. You're a campaign lawyer. You were so incensed by these words of Donald Trump's that you sort of launched out this tweetstorm in the past couple of days. You sent out 33 tweets. I'll read one of them here. You say, “Ordinary citizens, not government bureaucrats, serve as election officials and conduct the election. They check in voters, they confirm IDs, they keep the records.” Why did you feel so exercised by his claims? 

CHRIS ASHBY: Well, I think as a lawyer, and particularly for me as a Republican lawyer, I have an obligation to the rule of law and to our system of laws, and the voting system is one part of that. And in this case, Donald Trump's attacks on our system of voting are unfounded, and they're dangerous, and I thought that somebody needed to put that out there. And I thought that I had the experience of observing elections for 15 years and representing candidates to say what I knew. 

CAMEROTA: And so when you say they're dangerous, what do you mean? What could happen if people think that there's voter fraud? 

ASHBY: Well, one thing that you've seen Donald Trump and his surrogates do is they're seizing on these isolated instances of voter fraud that Katie mentioned, and they're conflating that with the rigging of the system. And they're telling people, they’re telling their supporters, to go to the polls and watch in “certain places,” as they call them. And when these people show up at the polls, they're going to find out that they're not actually allowed in the polls in most states. And in the states where they are allowed in, they're not going to be allowed near voters. They're not going to be allowed near the election officials. And if they try to interfere with voting, if they try to communicate with voters or election officials, they're going to be removed. And that's going to play into the suspicions that they have that there's something going on in there that they're not supposed to see. And that's just not the case, and I think on Election Day, played out in polling places across the country and then amplified on the news and the internet and social media, this really has the potential to have a destabilizing effect on the orderly administration of the election. 


CAMEROTA: So Chris, when you say that you really worry that this will have a destabilizing and dangerous effect, what happens if Donald Trump loses and people feel as though the election was stolen or they feel as though they were disenfranchised somehow? 

ASHBY: Well, that's an attack on the legitimacy of our government and the legitimacy of the representatives and leaders who we elect, because public faith and confidence in our electoral system is foundational to our government. And so what I think people need to know is that the system is not rigged. It's quite the opposite. It's designed to stop this, to prevent it, to catch it, and to guard against it. And instances of voter fraud, which do happen, are not the same thing as a rigging of the system. A rigging of the system is intentional and by design, and what Trump is saying is that the system has been corrupted, people's votes don't matter, and they won't count because someone else has already predetermined the outcome of the election. That's what a rigged election is. It's the opposite of a free election, and that's just not the case. 


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