Whatever the results of Tuesday’s elections, it is all but certain that they will accurately reflect the wishes of Maine voters.

That’s a testament to the hard work of the many people who help operate the hundreds of polling locations across the state, and to the safety of a process with so many checks and balances that the possibility of it being infiltrated seems laughable, despite what you may have heard from Gov. LePage and Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president.

Trump has been particularly unrelenting in making this bogus claim, using an appearance in Maine to call the nation’s voting system “rigged.” Le-Page followed that up by saying, with no proof, that some counties in the U.S. have more voters than residents, and that Maine elections aren’t “clean,” because voters don’t need identification to cast a ballot. Noncitizens and even the dead can vote here, he said, again without any evidence.


That’s an affront to the municipal clerks and their staff, as well as to the Secretary of State’s Office, who together on Tuesday at sites around the state will conduct elections in a way that we should be proud of, producing high turnout with few problems.

In fact, any issues are usually the result of honest human error, and those are rare, and easily fixed.

The secretary of state maintains a statewide master voter list connected to databases from the Social Security Administration and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, to catch voters who die or move. All absentee ballots are tracked, so people cannot vote more than once.

In fact, the ballots are guarded from beginning to end, mailed to clerks in each municipality sealed with a receipt. They are then counted, verified and placed in a container with a tamper-proof seal. They’re opened on Election Day in front of a witness from each party – poll watchers who oversee the entire process, from when the polls open to when the official winner is certified, ensuring that all the rules are followed.

All Maine voting is done on paper ballots, then counted by hand or by a standalone machine that is password protected and not connected to the internet, so hacking is not a possibility.

And after the election, an audit accounts for each ballot issued.

Gaming that system is highly unlikely, though any kind of election fraud is rare.

One nationwide study found 31 credible instances of fraud out of more than 1 billion votes cast between 2000 and 2014. Another, covering all elections from 2009 to 2011, found just 150 cases of alleged double-voting, 56 cases of noncitizen voting, and 10 cases of voter impersonation.


More prevalent than voter fraud is voter intimidation or purposeful vote suppression. In North Carolina, for instance, Republican lawmakers worked to close early voting sites during hours used heavily by minority and Democratic voters.

Allowing private citizens to challenge the eligibility of other voters also can be disruptive, especially in states where the burden of proof is on the person being challenged. Maine, on the other hand, has justifiably stringent regulations on Election Day voter challenges: People must make challenges in writing and swear under oath that they have “personal knowledge” that the person they’re challenging may not be eligible to vote.

Anyone who witnesses or experiences voter fraud, harassment or other issues can contact the Secretary of State’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Maine, or the ACLU of Maine.

But if patterns hold, nothing beyond the exercise of franchise will happen Tuesday.

The last time a possible case of election shenanigans surfaced in a significant way was in 2014, when 21 uncounted ballots in an extremely close state Senate race were found days after the election, prompting all manner of conspiracy theories.

After an investigation that lasted a month, it became clear that the ballots had been counted twice. The cause? Human error, detected just as it should have been by a series of checks and balances. It took four weeks, but the right outcome was reached.

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