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As Trump claims fraud, officials say this election was ‘the most secure’

President Trump and his allies continue to sow doubt over the American electoral process, questioning the intentions of election administrators and poll workers and falsely claiming rampant voter fraud. How do these essential workers, who represent both parties, feel about their jobs, Trump’s accusations -- and the integrity of the election? William Brangham talks to several of them to find out.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    President Trump and his allies continue to sow doubt in the electoral process, at times questioning the intentions of the election administrators and poll workers.

    Yesterday, William Brangham spoke to election officials across the nation, both Democrats and Republicans, about their work and why they are confident in the integrity of the 2020 election.

  • Benjamin Hovland:

    My name is Ben Hovland. I'm chairman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, which is a federal agency dedicated to studying best practices in election administration.

    As far as everyone who works in the space, everyone who's a committed professional to elections, this was the safest election we have ever had and the most secure election we have ever had.

  • Natalie Adona:

    My name is Natalie Adona. I am the assistant clerk-recorder and assistant registrar of voters for the county of Nevada.

    The one thing that we all have in common is that we care really deeply about democracy and making democracy work. If we need to, for example, register a voter, it does not matter what that voter's opinion is about politics. What we care about is, is the person qualified to register to vote?

  • Reynaldo Valenzuela:

    My name is Reynaldo Valenzuela. I am the co-director for Maricopa County, and I oversee early voting and election services.

    We're agnostic to the political party when you go through these doors. And we couldn't do it without having that kind of commitment from our staff that knows that this is important work to do.

  • Maggie Toulouse Oliver:

    My name is Maggie Toulouse Oliver, New Mexico's secretary of state and president of NASS.

    If you see a state election official who is of one party or the other, and you see the outcome for the candidate of the other party, the same at the county level, that just goes to show you, when it comes to these jobs, that nonpartisan attitude of making sure that outcomes are accurate and that votes are counted and counted fairly is absolutely essential.

  • Lauri Ealom:

    My name is Lauri Ealom, and I'm the Democratic director at the Kansas City Board of Elections.

    I don't know that any of us signed up to risk our lives for people to vote. It made me feel really good when I looked in the distance down past the train tracks, and I could see 200-plus cars of COVID-positive people that we were ensuring would vote. I realized that what we were doing was huge. It was — it's a part of history.

  • James Young:

    My name is James Young. I'm a regional manager for Inclusion Solutions.

    Previously, I served as elections administrator in Louisville, Kentucky, and a special assistant to the Kentucky secretary of state.

    Part of what I do today is, I travel the country full-time. I work with election administrators. This idea that ballots are showing up in the back alley at 4:00 a.m. is very insulting to the integrity of not just these career professionals, but also to the poll workers that oversee the process.

  • Benjamin Hovland:

    When you look at the way our election system is designed, all of the pieces of it have checks and balances, have bipartisan teams of Republicans and Democrats working together to ensure that the process is fair and accurate.

    If there's any credibility, any facts to these allegations, we should see that. But it needs to be presented in the appropriate place, in a court of law, where a fair arbiter can make that decision. And we just haven't seen anything that rises to any level of real concern.

  • Reynaldo Valenzuela:

    Arizona has a hand-count audit. We looked at over 47,311, to be exact, ovals. We went from arrows to ovals, our new ballots, but 47,311, and not one had a discrepancy. That's amazing. And that's a large volume.

    So that, in and of itself, at least gives us the confidence that we have checks and balances. So, somebody that says, I don't believe, we have the data.

  • Natalie Adona:

    We just want people to vote. It doesn't matter to me what your political leaning is vs. somebody else. What I just want you to do is vote.

    I have nothing but the utmost and deepest respect for people's political leanings and their beliefs. The question is, do people believe that I find that important? I hope so.

  • Maggie Toulouse Oliver:

    I think, like any election, there were hiccups. There were issues that came up. That's not unusual.

    But I think, given all of the threats to this election, whether it be from the cybersecurity point of view, to just the fact of COVID-19 and its spread, and all of the hurdles that that erected, the fact that you had a smooth-flowing election process on Election Day, that you had record numbers of Americans turning out to vote, that, in and of itself, demonstrates the fact that the election ran just about as well as it possibly ever could.

  • James Young:

    It's important to remember, I'm a registered Republican. I voted a certain way that may not be reflective of the outcome of the election. That doesn't mean the process should be burned to the ground and that we should question the individuals who counted the actual ballots.

  • Lauri Ealom:

    I get choked up talking about it, because this was really important. And my team really stood for something. I'm proud to be a part of this team. At least I know that, for a time in my life, I truly lived with a real purpose.

  • William Brangham:

    So, Judy, that is just a cross-section of the tens of thousands of people who work every single year in every single election, to try to make sure our elections are safe and fair and transparent and as equate as possible.

    And, as you mentioned, I talked to all of those people yesterday. And we reached out to them today since this news that Senator Lindsey Graham might have been contacting election officials, and in one case might have suggested to one official that he toss out certain mail-in ballots.

    And all of them expressed or many of them expressed a concern that any political pressure was being exerted on secretaries of state in a study, especially because these people are already facing these bogus allegations that they're part of some massive conspiracy.

    Many of them are receiving death threats and violent e-mails and things like that. And the secretary of state from New Mexico, who you heard and hear, Mary (sic) Toulouse, Mary (sic) Toulouse Oliver, said, if these accusations are true that mail-in ballots were being encouraged to be tossed out, she called that, if that was true, disenfranchisement at its worst — Judy.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    William, so glad to hear from all of these election officials, as you say, across party lines and around the country.

    William Brangham, we thank you.

  • Credit:

    Images provided by The Beacon

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