If the election is really rigged, 33 states are rigged by Republicans

Only 17 states and the District of Columbia have Democratic-controlled electoral systems.

CREDIT: Dylan Petrohilos
CREDIT: Dylan Petrohilos

Donald Trump continued on Monday to push his claims that the election is “rigged” against him, falsely suggesting widespread voter fraud and raising the specter of a conspiracy of media outlets scheming to provide negative coverage of his candidacy.

But while he may believe that he only way he could possibly lose would be for for “1.8 million deceased people” to cast ballots against him and an array of other other vote-rigging techniques, many of those who oversee elections in the states have pushed back against his claims.

And most of those chief elections officers are Republicans — some of whom have publicly endorsed Trump.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 26 states have an elected secretary of state or lieutenant governor who oversee elections and 7 more have those officials share authority with a commission or board. Eight more states have a chief official selected by the legislature or governor; the rest are run by an appointed electoral commission of some sort.


In Hawaii, Illinois, New York, and Wisconsin, these are bipartisan boards. In other states, like Maryland and North Carolina, the majority on the boards goes to the current governor’s party.

In all, 29 states have GOP-controlled elections processes, representing 302 electoral votes. 17 states and the District of Columbia have a Democratic-controlled process, representing just 173 electors. The remaining 4 states, with a total of 63 electoral votes, have bipartisan boards.

In other words, if the election were truly “rigged,” it would have to be a Republican rig. Swing states like Florida, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, and Ohio are all overseen by GOP chief elections officials.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) and Idaho Secretary of State Lawrence Denney (R) have said they will vote for Trump. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) endorsed Trump in February. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate (R) even had Trump headline a 2015 campaign fundraiser for his own re-election. It seems unlikely these or other Republicans would secretly be working to rig an election for Hillary Clinton.

If anything, many of these Republican secretaries of state have moved to suppress the votes of Democrats and racial minorities — groups that are among the least likely to vote for Trump.


Perhaps this is why even Trump’s closest advisers are trying to push back against his claims. National campaign co-chair Sam Clovis told the Boston Herald on Tuesday, “I have a lot of faith in the secretaries of states across the country.”


And Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN), Trump’s own running mate, said on Sunday that the campaign would accept the results of the election and that the only “sense of a rigged election” came from the “obvious bias in the national media.”

An earlier version of this map incorrectly flipped Alaska and Arkansas.