By October 2016, when the election campaign was nearing its finale, both US presidential candidates were publically accusing each other of lies and cheating. Donald Trump was firm in his opinion that he’s competing in an unfair race, where his opponents are not only using the corporate media to attack him, but also intend to manipulate the vote at the polling stations.
During a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Trump blamed the mainstream media for being an extension of the Clinton campaign, fabricating stories against him, and diverting attention from other issues:
“Remember, we’re competing in a rigged election. This is a rigged election, folks, Ok? They even want to try to rig the election at the polling booths, and believe me, there is a lot going on. Do you ever hear these people? They say “There is nothing going on.” People that have died 10 years ago are still voting, illegal immigrants are voting. I mean, where are the street smarts of some of these politicians?”
Hillary Clinton responded during the next televised debate. She said her competitor is known for accusing his opponents of cheating, and the presidential campaign is not the only time when Donald Trump has done so:
“Every time Donald thinks things are not going in his direction, he claims whatever it is is rigged against him… There was even a time when he didn't get an Emmy for his TV program three years in a row, and he started tweeting that the Emmys were rigged against him.”
By then, Clinton’s camp was already being bombarded by Wikileaks publications suggesting unfair play on her side. Ironically enough, among the intercepted messages there were some emails regarding Clinton’s TV appearances. According to the emails of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, CNN contributor Donna Brazile fed Camp Hillary questions ahead of her televised debate with Bernie Sanders.
The final battle between Trump and Clinton, however, will take place far away from the TV studios, at the polling stations.
Pessimists warn of the condition of the voting equipment, which in the majority of US states is far from perfect. In September 2015 the Brennan Center for Justice released a report saying that 43 states are using some machines that are at least 10 years old. In 14 states, some of the voting equipment is even older – 15+ years, with finding spare parts an uneasy task for election officials, since these computers are no longer being produced.
Optimists say that hackers will not be able to influence the US presidential election on a major scale, since the system has numerous safeguards. Besides an army of volunteer election officials who work at the polling stations, there are also canvassers, representing both parties, who go over the results to make sure everything was done right.
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