Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could lock up the Democratic nomination today. But her path to the White House has been riddled in controversy and accusations of cheating.
Supporters of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders have claimed the Clinton campaign is guilty of nearly every dirty trick in the book, including outright election fraud. Former President Bill Clinton is facing a lawsuit that alleges he’s guilty of electioneering in Massachusetts, while in New York actress and political activist Susan Sarandon recently complained that “thousands of peoples’ votes disappeared.”
Critics say the same bag of dirty tricks is being dipped into in Rhode Island, the only state Clinton is polling poorly in.
Rhode Island, run by close Clinton ally Gov. Gina Raimondo, is the only state with an open primary of the five states voting today. That means independents in the state — who in poll after poll strongly favor Sanders over Clinton — are permitted to vote in the Democratic race.
But according to reports, polling locations in the state have been slashed by a massive 66 percent today, in what seems to be a clear attempt at voter suppression. In a primary that is expected to draw record turnout, that could mean staggeringly long lines — and countless people not casting their votes.
Sanders supporters complain this will unfairly hurt their preferred candidate, and could swing the state’s election to Clinton’s favor.
Political analysts say they have a right to be outraged. Much of Clinton’s support comes from older voters, who are disproportionately more likely to cast early or mail-in ballots. First time voters are more likely to be discouraged by long lines — which in Arizona held voters captive for up to five hours.
“I think the general public has no idea there’s going to be a lot fewer polling places come Tuesday,” political analyst Joe Fleming told local station WPRI. “It could possibly cause a lot of confusion.”
Sanders himself has taken his complaints about the unfair treatment to the public.
Moderator Chuck Todd asked the Vermont senator in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, “Do you think this process has been fair to you? The Democratic nomination process?”
“Yes and no,” Sanders said, going on to criticize the mainstream media for failing to focus on the “real issues facing America.”
Todd pressed Sanders, “So it sounds like the party, though, you feel like its been fair to you?”
“No,” Sanders responded. “I think we have — look, we’re taking on the establishment. That’s pretty clear.”