Trump, Elder’s campaign falsely claimed fraud before California votes were counted — a growing GOP tactic

By Elise Viebeck and Tom Hamburger,
Washington Post,
September 14, 2021


Former president Donald Trump’s false voter fraud claims found new life in California’s biggest election this year.

The top Republican seeking to replace Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) in Tuesday’s recall declined before the election to say whether he could accept the results. A website affiliated with his campaign invites visitors to “sign a petition to stop the fraud of the California recall election.” And a previous version of the site — published before the election took place — blamed voter fraud for Newsom being “reinstated” as governor.

There is no evidence for these claims, which have nonetheless been amplified repeatedly this week by former president Donald Trump. But their arrival in the country’s largest blue state offered proof of their currency within the Republican Party, where some leaders have increasingly sought to undermine public confidence in Democratic victories by baselessly alleging that elections are vulnerable to manipulation.

With Newsom projected to defeat the recall, conservative radio host Larry Elder conceded the race early Wednesday morning, telling his audience to be “gracious in defeat.” But his campaign’s tactics in the lead-up to the vote — including open threats to raise doubts about the results in case of defeat — suggest the possibility of a new normal, where Republicans challenge election losses even in heavily Democratic states and without proof of serious fraud or rule-breaking.

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“California’s voting system standards and testing requirements are the strongest in the nation,” said Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation, noting that the state requires voter-verified paper ballots and post-election audits.

Asked whether she’d received reports of possible irregularities, Alexander said: “I have not heard any reports of election interference other than attempts by a former president and a current leading replacement candidate to discourage people from voting by making unsubstantiated claims about California election security.” (Full Story)