LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Despite Donald Trump's claims that the upcoming presidential election is rigged, one member of the Oklahoma State Election Board said everything is fair and running exactly like it's supposed to.
While it's simple for us as voters, the voting process is unbelievably complicated when you try to understand everything that goes into it. Every aspect of election day is carefully planned, from the technology used to only allow the correct votes to be counted to the people who are there sitting at the polls when you vote.
That process begins with a high-tech database like a USB drive that has a file written on it that will only read the ballots at one particular polling place. If someone tries to corrupt that file, it will delete itself, causing none of the ballots to be counted at that time. They test the equipment early in the morning of election day to ensure it is up and running when the polls open.
"Not to mention the fact those electronic storage devices are kept under lock and key before the election," Public Information Officer for the Oklahoma State Election Board Bryan Dean said. "So for someone to try and rig those, you'd have to physically break into 77 different county election boards, steal all the electronic storage devices, reprogram them, somehow get around the security measures themselves and return them all without being noticed. It's a very involved scenario, with the security measures in place it's just not realistic."
Dean said even with that technology all but eliminating the possibility of an election being rigged, they still take the extra steps with their staffing to ensure everything is as bipartisan as possible.
"We have people from both parties involved in every step of the process," Dean said. "At every polling place, there are at least three poll workers, one is required to be from each of the 2 major parties. The county election board, which actually uploads the results, they are a three-member board and again have at least one republican and one democrat. Same with the state election board."
There has been a concern that the talk of a rigged election will drive some voters from the poll, but in fact, Dean said he expects it to be the exact opposite.
"Our voter registration numbers are higher than they were in 2012 and we've gotten record numbers of absentee ballot applications. So all of the indications are, we expect at least a better turnout than in 2012, I don't know if we'll quite get to 2004 or 2008 levels but it's a possibility," Dean said.
Dean said they do experience voter fraud periodically like we did in Lawton back in March, but for the most part, those cases happen when voters apply to vote absentee and then show up at the polls on election day to vote again.
"It's not something that you're going to see swing the outcome of a presidential election where you need thousands of votes to change hands," Dean said. "And part of the issue there is it's a felony to vote illegally and it's a felony to register illegally. Most people do not want to go to prison to vote one extra time and most people do not want to commit a felony in broad daylight in front of dozens of witnesses. So, it's not an effective way to try and steal an election."
If you want to get out and vote in the upcoming elections but don't want to deal with the lines, you can vote early at the Comanche County Courthouse next Thursday and Friday, November 3rd and 4th, from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. or next Saturday, November 5th, from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m.