If you have doubts, ask Donald Trump. He'll tell you the elections are rigged (especially if he loses), but his Republican party appeared more often to be implicated in voter suppression than its rival.
Campus political engagement specialists who spoke to the Dhaka Tribune in Washington DC said voter suppression was a major problem that tended to disadvantage Democrat voters.
“The right to vote is under attack each and every day,” the Dhaka Tribune was told in a presentation given by Catherine Fish of ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge, Emily Wirzba of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, political consultant Gabi Porter, and a representative of the New Leaders Council.
One example of voter manipulation they cited was the use of flyers circulated in the Latino community – many of whose members communicate primarily in Spanish not English – to falsely claim the date of the elections had been changed.
They said the high conviction rate of black men in America when taken together with the fact that convicted felons lose their right to vote, described the effective disenfranchisement of a significant community of voters.
Technical tactics included voter caging, in which a partisan organisation sends registered mail to addresses of registered voters identified as unfriendly to their candidate. Returned mail is used to challenge the right to vote of the intended recipients on the grounds that if the voters were unreachable at the address listed on their voter registration, their registration is fraudulent.
Roll purging, often carried out in a secretive manner, can be manipulated to affect the voter list in such a way that even when it is challenged, the remedy comes after the elections – and therefore too late.
In North Carolina, the purging of black Democrats from voter rolls is causing the Clinton campaign concern. President Obama recently drew attention to a list of 138 purged voters; 92 were black and registered Democrats.
A New York Times article published on November 4 opened with the line: “American elections have always been at least a little dirty.”
As proof of this, the article offered a litany of misdeeds from around the country aimed at manipulating the 2016 presidential elections.
Miami witnessed mailings appearing to support Democrats, but containing recommendations for Republican candidates and ballot issues.
The digital age's answer to fake flyers – fake campaign ads on the internet claiming it was possible to Tweet votes in – drew enthusiastic responses from gullible voters who thought they'd been spared the hassle of standing in queue.
More seriously, a California Republican campaign office and a Mississippi black church were firebombed this election season. The words “Vote Trump” were painted on the wall of the gutted church.
The campus engagement specialists explained that subtle limits, like a Texas law that doesn't allow college identification cards but does allow gun licenses as proof of identification, causes student voters to be turned away at the booth.
Other impediments to younger people – who are often highly mobile – casting their votes include the requirement for people moving across state lines to re-register as voters.
These tactics may not affect a majority of the electorate, but well-placed interventions could potentially the tip the results of an election that is fought at the margins.
America's democracy is as vast as it is venerable.
Some 540,000 elected officials serve the American people in various capacities at various levels of government. The average citizen is represented by no less than 40 elected officials, Brigade Media's Jessica Dahl, a civic technology app maker, explained.
Systematic attempts to rig votes in some constituencies, while they do not discredit the entire process, nevertheless tarnish the image of the United States as a beacon of democracy to the world.