Donald Trump accuses Democrats of voter fraud in Nevada

The remarks marked the most specific allegations of voter fraud that Donald Trump has made

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 November, 2016, 5:28pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 November, 2016, 9:35pm

Republican nominee Donald Trump, who has long suggested there is voter fraud in the United States, explicitly accused Democrats in Nevada in engaging in the practice.

Speaking in a convention centre hall in Reno, Nevada , Trump alleged that the long lines in Hispanic neighbourhoods on the last day of early voting in Las Vegas were the result of the machinations of “crazy broken Harry Reid and his political machine”, referring to the Senate minority leader, who hails from the state.

Trump alleged to a crowd: “It’s being reported certain key Democratic polling locations in Clark County were kept open hours and hours beyond closing time to bus and bring Democratic voters in.” He added, “folks, it’s a rigged system, it’s a rigged system” to loud boos, before insisting, “we’re going to beat it”.

The Republican nominee was apparently referring to a Las Vegas supermarket where voters, most of whom were Hispanic, stood in line for hours to vote on Friday night. The length of lines meant that the early voting site did not finally close until 10pm and turnout on Friday set records. On Friday alone, 57,000 people in Clark County, which is home to Las Vegas and majority of Nevada’s population, voted. In total, over 770,000 votes have already been cast in the swing state, making up roughly two-thirds of the estimated turnout, and Democrats are widely favoured to win the state , unless there is record Republican turnout on Tuesday.

The state GOP’s chair, Michael McDonald, made similar allegations while speaking before Trump arrived.

“Last night in Clark County, they kept a poll open until 10 o’clock at night so a certain group can vote,” McDonald said. “It was in an area that normally has high transition. The polls are supposed to close at seven. This was kept open until 10. You feel free right now? You think this is a free and easy election?”

The remarks marked most specific allegations of voter fraud that Trump has made. The Republican nominee has warned in recent weeks of fraud in cities like “Philadelphia, Chicago and St Louis”, and insisted on Twitter “there is large-scale voter fraud in the United States”.

Trump had long warned vaguely of voter fraud, in particular invoking a Republican dogwhistle about African-American voters in Philadelphia by warning about fraud in “certain areas in Pennsylvania”. The statement is a reference to a particular conspiracy theory that Mitt Romney was somehow the victim of voter fraud in 2012.

The theory was premised on the fact that in 59 precincts in Philadelphia, Romney did not receive a single vote. There are 1,687 precincts in the city and President Barack Obama received over 85 per cent of the vote there in 2012.

The Republican presidential nominee also mocked Obama for suggesting: “Donald Trump is hurting the foundations of our country by talking about rigging the system”.

He added dismissively, “give me a break”, and called Obama “a phony”.