Irresponsible blurt sows doubt

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October 20, 2016 12:21 PM

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What on earth was Secretary of State Connie Lawson thinking when she blurted out that there were thousands of cases of potential voter fraud in Indiana?

After being criticized by a member of her own party – Hamilton County elections administrator Kathy Richardson – for the unsubstantiated hyperbole, Lawson backtracked, saying it was possible that many voters, wary that they may be disenfranchised if their registration contained any errors, filed paperwork to correct them.

That’s quite a leap, seeing fraud in the conscientious act of voters who wanted to ensure they could vote in this important election.

Despite Lawson’s reversal, the damage was done. Whether or not she was intentionally carrying water for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has recklessly charged that the election is rigged, Lawson may have raised the same specter.

Just as Trump’s irresponsible statements have sown doubt among his followers, Lawson’s rush to a questionable conclusion may cause some Hoosiers to think fraud is common. The opposite is true, of course, and a public official in charge of elections ought to know better than to cause Hoosiers to question the most fundamental function of our democracy.

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