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The Journal Gazette


  • Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
    Suzie Jaworowski, center, director of Donald Trump's presidential campaign in Indiana, talks with Trump supporters Wednesday at a rally at Allen County Republican Party Headquarters.
October 19, 2016 5:12 PM

Trump's Indiana followers: Voter fraud is real

Brian Francisco | The Journal Gazette

Donald Trump's top surrogates in Indiana said Wednesday that voter fraud is "very real," the media are biased in favor of Hillary Clinton and polls don't reflect how popular Trump is.

About 30 supporters of Trump attended a rally at Allen County Republican Party Headquarters to pick up yard signs and find out what they can do to help the campaign of the GOP presidential candidate.

Tony Samuel, vice chairman of the Trump campaign in Indiana, instructed the audience to be "watchers at the polls, work the polls, look for any kind of, you know, funny business and report it. Because the elected officials are doing a good job, but they can't catch everything. And there's always stories about some ballots that were tossed away in a closet that are found later, things like that."

Samuel said, "You've got to guess that there's a lot more going on that you don't catch."

Suzie Jaworowski, Trump's state director, said about voter fraud, "We know it's real; it's very real." She also said, "We know there is an orchestrated effort to cheat the system."

"There are some organizations out there that are finding people's information and then they'll go and do an early vote with that person's information or they'll send in an absentee ballot, and so that's one way they are doing that," Jaworowski said.

The Journal Gazette later called Beth Dlug, director of elections for Allen County, and asked whether she has any evidence of voter fraud locally.

"I have no evidence of anything like that going on," Dlug said.

She said there are three Republican poll workers and two Democratic workers – an inspector, two judges and two clerks – at every voting site. The GOP gets the advantage because Indiana's top elections official, Secretary of State Connie Lawson, is a Republican.

"So it's all bipartisan, and there's a reason for that – so that the alleged funny business that is going on doesn't, because everybody is there to protect their party," Dlug said.

She said each party can have at least one poll watcher – with proper credentials – at every voting site. Poll watchers "can observe, but they can't interfere with the process," Dlug said.

What will she do if other people turn up at voting sites on Nov. 8 to act as poll watchers?

"If they're not credentialed, they have to be at least 50 feet away from the polling location," she said.

Dlug was skeptical that absentee votes could be fraudulently cast for people without their knowledge.

"If we have people that are registered (to vote) and request an absentee ballot, we have processes in place to verify that the person who was requesting the ballot is the same person that is registered," Dlug said. "When the ballot comes back in, we have a process where we verify that the person who has signed the ballot is the same person who has also asked for the application."

At GOP headquarters, Samuel said a recent poll by Monmouth University showing Trump ahead of Clinton, the Democratic nominee, by only 4 percentage points in Indiana is "impossible."

He said enthusiasm for Trump's campaign around the state is "just unbelievable, and there is not that enthusiasm for Hillary Clinton there. It's not even comparable."

Trump "is doing better" than national polls indicate because many people do not respond to surveys, Samuel said. Most polls show Clinton leading Trump by between 4 percentage points and 12 percentage points.

Jaworowski said newly registered voters who support Trump are not being called by pollsters.

Trump's poll numbers "took a hit," Samuel said, after Clinton took the campaign "into the gutter" in their first debate.

He said Trump's numbers are only gradually bouncing back because "ever since then, you've seen the national media in full force aiding the Clinton campaign, working with the Clinton campaign, colluding with them."

He said the media are "spending six to seven, even more times, as much coverage on what they perceive a scandal on (Trump's) part versus the true Hillary Clinton scandals."

A woman in the audience said she had "read in the news" that President Barack Obama "could inject himself into the election process and actually run for a third term." Another person in the audience correctly said that the U.S. Constitution prohibits a president from serving more than two terms.

bfrancisco@jg.net