In the closing section of last night’s unhinged presidential debate, moderator and Fox News anchor Chris Wallace raised a discussion about election integrity. What are you prepared to do to reassure the American people that the next president will be the legitimate winner of this election? he asked. In keeping with his prior statements and tweets, Donald Trump made clear that he will offer no reassurance of any kind. Instead, he launched into an extended assault on mail voting filled with nearly a dozen false claims.
As he has repeatedly in recent months, Trump mischaracterized, exaggerated, and lied about the risks of fraud in mail voting. And he doubled down on the idea that any delayed results caused by the extra time it takes to count mail ballots will inevitably signal a “rigged” election—an assertion that election officials and researchers strongly dispute, given that it can take time to process and count mail ballots accurately and fairly. That Trump did so in so bright a spotlight has election-watchers especially concerned.