TIME

HOW REAL ARE THE RISKS OF A RIGGED ELECTION?

WHEN DONALD TRUMP began telling crowds this summer that if he loses the race for the White House, it will be because Democrats “cheated,” he was doing more than hedging his bets. He was tapping into a powerful theme of this election cycle: that the voting system is rigged.

“She can’t beat what’s happening here,” Trump told a crowd in Altoona, Pa., in August, referring to Hillary Clinton. “The only way they can beat it, in my opinion, and I mean this 100%, is if in certain sections of the state they cheat, O.K.?” In Wilmington, N.C., he went on to suggest that some people might vote “15 times for Hillary” and pledged to his supporters, via email, to “do everything we are legally allowed to do to stop crooked Hillary from rigging this election.”

That kind of in-person voter fraud has little historical precedent, and there is no reason to expect such fraud in 2016. According to a 2014 study by Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt

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