California Secretary of State Urges Trump To Present Proof Of Voter Fraud

Nov 28, 2016
Originally published on November 28, 2016 6:28 pm
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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now, in one of his tweets yesterday, Trump singled out three particular states where he claimed there was, quote, "serious voter fraud" - Virginia, New Hampshire and California. Trump lost all three of those states. Again, Trump and his team have not provided any evidence of widespread fraud in this year's election.

I spoke with Alex Padilla, the California secretary of state. He's a Democrat. I started by asking him to respond to Trump's claims.

ALEX PADILLA: His allegations are completely unfounded. I think it's a big disservice to our country and to our democracy to continue to raise these doubts. If anything, a message back to Mr. Trump is, if you have proof, if you have evidence, please bring it forward. Procedures are in place to investigate any real voter fraud. But as the evidence has shown, the cases of voter fraud across the country are statistically minimal if you go back decades.

CORNISH: Can you talk about what is in place to prevent voting by immigrants who are in the country illegally, especially in a state where such people can get a driver's license? I mean is it essentially an honor system?

PADILLA: Let's remind ourselves that offering an opportunity for somebody to register to vote at the Department of Motor Vehicles has been required by federal law for decades now. We know it as motor voter. So whether it's motor voter and people registering on paper or online voter registration, we have the protocols in place to keep people who are not eligible to register to vote from registering, whether it's for citizenship status, whether it's for age or any other reason.

CORNISH: So essentially they volunteer that information, though. I mean it's...

CORNISH: Exactly, when...

CORNISH: Nobody's going around double-checking and random sampling.

PADILLA: Look. When anybody and everybody registers to vote, they do so under the penalty of perjury. They're signing a contract that they are 18 years of age or older and they're citizens of the United States. But the facts are very, very clear. Incidents of voter fraud in California and across the country going back decades is statistically minimal.

CORNISH: What else have you heard from other state officials in your position in Virginia or New Hampshire, other states that have been brought up in this conversation?

PADILLA: Look. We've - we heard a lot from state secretaries of state and other elections officials from all states in the nation, both Democrat and Republican. Before Election Day, we heard for weeks concern about the election being rigged or the election being hacked.

And all of us in a bipartisan manner went out of our way to explain to the voters how our election systems are secure, the fact that voting systems are not connected to the Internet - not the machines that we use to mark ballots, not the machines that we use to count ballots, the fact that our election counting procedures are very transparent.

Anybody from the public can come in and observe ballots being processed and those votes being counted in elections officials' offices in any county in any state in the nation. The very fact that it's decentralized makes it literally impossible to try to hack or rig the results.

CORNISH: What kind of damage has been done to public perception of the electoral process to your mind these last couple months?

PADILLA: Look. If California is any indicator, I'm proud that the public here saw right through it and registered in record numbers and voted in record numbers. I wish that was the case for every state in the nation. And I'm hoping that between now and two years from now and four years from now and future election cycles, people have gotten past the hype and the hysteria of these most recent allegations. And they'll be reminded of the integrity of our election systems and the confidence that they deserve to have.

CORNISH: Alex Padilla is California's secretary of state. Thank you for speaking with us.

PADILLA: All right, thank you, Audie. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.