On CNN, Republican Ohio Secretary Of State Debunks Trump’s “Irresponsible” Claim The Election Will Be Rigged

Jon Husted: “Our Institutions, Like Our Election System, Is One Of The Bedrocks Of American Democracy. We Should Not Question It Or The Legitimacy Of It. It Works Very Well.”

From the October 17 edition of CNN's CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello:

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CAROL COSTELLO (HOST): It's really great to have you here, because I really think what you're about to say is so important. You are in charge of the election process in the state of Ohio. What do you tell to constituents like Bryan there about the system, about the institutions of government? 

JON HUSTED: Well, I'll say a couple things. 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. But to people like the gentleman you just spoke to, look, I understand the frustration that they have with our institutions, because our institutions have let them down over the course of the last 30 years. Times have gotten tougher for a lot of people who've seen their incomes drop during a period where many people have gotten very wealthy, and so they're frustrated by those kinds of things. But our institutions, like our election system, is one of the bedrocks of American democracy. We should not question it or the legitimacy of it. It works very well. In places like Ohio, we make it easy to vote and hard to cheat. We have a bipartisan system of elections. Frankly, it's the only place you can find Democrats and Republicans working cooperatively together. They work that way in our election system to make sure that the integrity of our election system is upheld and that people feel good about the process of voting. 

COSTELLO: How would you characterize Mr. Trump's comments when he says things like “the election will be rigged?” 

HUSTED: Well, it's irresponsible. He should focus on issues that matter to people like the gentleman you just mentioned, the people that feel that they're losing hope. Give them some hope, don't create hopelessness in our country. Don't make people feel despair. Make them feel uplifted and hopeful that there is a better day ahead for all of us. I think that's what we want from all of our candidates. 

COSTELLO: OK, because I think this is so important to assure people that the elections are not rigged, and you're keeping a close eye on things just as the secretaries of state are across our country. So I like the way this former Republican chair put it, his name is Al Cardenas. He says, “How do you proclaim fraud before the incident takes place? It's like my calling you a robber before you rob the bank.” Can you relate to that statement? 

HUSTED: Yeah. Well, 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. But right now we're not aware of any systemic problems in our voting system. Are there cases of voter fraud? Absolutely there are cases of voter fraud, but it's rare, and we catch these people. Most times we catch them before their vote is even counted, and we hold them accountable, and we're building a better system every single day. 

COSTELLO: Please, I want you to -- because when I went to Ohio last Friday to do my stories, I talked to a lot of people who think that there really are people who are going to vote ten and twelve times, and they won't be caught. How do you prevent something like that? 

HUSTED: We have safeguards built in to the system, everything from identification rules to removing deceased voters from the rolls, meaning keeping the voter rolls up to date. We have the ability to make sure that only one vote is cast and counted. There are occasions where people do fraudulent behavior. We had a lady in the last presidential election who voted five times. She was caught. She went to prison for it. It's not worth committing a fifth degree felony to cast an extra vote. Most people understand that, and they don't even attempt to try to misuse the system. But we have so many safeguards in place in our election system. It's bipartisan. It's transparent, and there's just no justification for concern about widespread voter fraud. 

COSTELLO: And just a final thing, because some Trump supporters will say, clearly he's a Democrat. Are you? 

HUSTED: No. I actually intend on voting for Donald 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. He should focus on trying to reach people, to give them hope that he can be a leader that will ultimately move America forward. This kind of conversation though moves America backwards, and it should be dismissed. And it shouldn't be part of the presidential campaign. 

COSTELLO: Now I have to ask you one more question. So you're going to vote for a guy who's making your life harder frankly and is trying to disenfranchise voters? 

HUSTED: Yes. I understand it's a very difficult thing, but look, I care about second amendment rights. I care about the Supreme Court. I care about issues. I'm a policy-oriented person because these are the things that are going to move America forward. I'm hopeful that in the next few weeks that he will be able to change the direction that he is trying to take this campaign, but time is growing short. 


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