Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has refused to say he’d accept the outcome of next week’s election if he loses. He has claimed, despite lack of evidence, that the ballots will be “rigged” against him.
If that does happen, a crowdsourcing tool invented in Kenya is prepared to document it.
Kenya knows a thing or two about contested elections, which some speculate may be a situation the U.S. finds itself in next week. In response to violence following the country’s 2007 presidential contest when Raila Odinga refused to acknowledge the victory of opponent Mwai Kibaki, a group of coders developed a platform to document where protests were occurring. They named the crisis map Ushahidi, which means “testimony” in Swahili.
The organization thinks the technology will be useful in the American election.
“There has been unprecedented conversation in the 2016 USA election about issues with the voting process, and even some potential worry of violence on election day,” Ushahidi COO Nat Manning wrote. “While there is no evidence of voter fraud in America, there are instances of voter suppression and voting issues on election day. As citizens, let’s raise our voices and help to report any issues on election day as well as celebrate all those who run a tight ship and bring trust to the underpinning of our democratic systems.”
Trump caused alarm in both political parties when he created doubt about the integrity of the election as well as his likelihood of accepting an unfavorable result. Both Democrats and Republicans have rejected his claims of a rigged election as a danger to American democracy and the constitution.
Worry has also been raised by reports that Russia is attempting to influence the results of the election, favoring a Trump win. The U.S. government said it believes the country has engaged in cyberwarfare to help Trump, which has raised fears that electronic voting methods could be attacked. There is no evidence polling stations can be hacked.
Russia did request permission to post election monitors at American polling places, which the State Department dismissed as a “PR stunt.”
People can use the USA Election Monitor site to report instances of voter suppression, violence, ballot problems, not being allowed to vote and lines that are too long. Voters can also text, email or Tweet any problems and they will be recorded on the map. The monitor also tracks people who say they had no problem trying to vote.
Ushahidi said it is nonpartisan and said it is a citizen-led effort “to ensure transparency.” Citizens can sign up to verify reports on the site and will receive training before Election Day.
Ushahidi said the project isn’t meant to compete with other Election Day monitoring efforts from the campaigns, local governments, the Democratic and Republican National Committees and other third parties who will all work to verify the validity of the vote.