Questioning whether an election will be "rigged" strikes at the heart of democracy

“If the polls in November look like they do now, then I don’t see much of an issue,” Hetherington said. “No one will find credible charges of election fraud if it looks like a blowout in advance.”

In a “blowout,” there would be little evidence to convince a broad swath of people that the election truly was illegitimate.

But, he added, “If the polls are close as Election Day approaches, then it is a different ball of wax. Charges of fraud would have much more resonance.”

(Charging that an election is “rigged” also could create an interesting quandary for Trump should he win.)

If the election is close, though, there may not be evidence of the kind Trump is talking about to suggest “rigging.” Trump specifically told the Washington Post this week that he thinks rigging will take the form of voter identification fraud. But, as Hasen told NPR this week, the kind of fraud that voter ID laws are intended to counter just doesn’t seem to exist.