PHILADELPHIA – Election officials in dozens of states representing both political parties said there is no evidence that fraud or other irregularities played a role in the outcome of the presidential race, which amounts to a strong rebuke of President Trump’s image of a rigged election.
Over the past few days, the president, members of his administration, Republicans in Congress and his allies on the right have made the false claim that the election was stolen from Mr Trump and refused to accept results that showed Joseph R. winner.
But top election officials across the country said in interviews and statements that the process had achieved remarkable success despite the record turnout and the complications of a serious pandemic.
“There is a tremendous human capacity to invent things that are not true in an election,” said Frank LaRose, the Republican who is Secretary of State for Ohio. Conspiracy theories, rumors, and all of this are rampant. For some reason, elections generate this kind of myth. “
Steve Simon, a Minnesota Democrat and Secretary of State, said: “I don’t know of a single case where someone argued that a vote counts when it shouldn’t or isn’t counting. There was no fraud.”
A spokeswoman for Scott Schwab, the Republican secretary of state in Kansas, said in an email on Tuesday: “Kansas has not encountered any widespread systemic problems with voter fraud, intimidation, irregularities, or voting problems.” “We are very happy with the way the elections have reached this point.”
The New York Times contacted the offices of top election officials in each state on Monday and Tuesday to ask if they suspected or had evidence of illegal voting. Officials in 45 states responded directly to the Times. For four of the remaining states, The Times spoke to other statewide officials or found public comments from secretaries of state; None reported any major voting issues.
Statewide officials in Texas did not respond to repeated inquiries. But a spokeswoman for the top election official in Harris County, the largest county in Texas and with a population larger than many states, said there were only a few minor issues and that “we had a very smooth election.” On Tuesday, Texas Republican Vice Governor Dan Patrick announced a million-dollar fund to reward voter fraud reports.
Some states described small problems common to all elections, which they said they address: a few cases of illegal or double voting, some technical errors and some minor errors in mathematics. Officials in all states conduct their own voting reviews – a standard component of the Certification process.
Perhaps none of the Trump campaign allegations have received more attention than one made over the weekend in Pennsylvania, the personal attorney for President Rudolf Giuliani. On Saturday, Mr. Giuliani held a press conference in the landscaping company parking lot in Philadelphia and claimed that the elections in the city were riddled with fraud.
The state’s chief law enforcement office said there was no evidence to support Mr. Giuliani’s claims, and that the state’s elections were “fair and secure.”
“Many of the allegations against the Commonwealth have already been dismissed, and the repetition of these false attacks is reckless,” said Jacqueline Rhodes, a spokeswoman for Josh Shapiro, a Democratic Attorney General in Pennsylvania. “There is no active lawsuit to claim, and no evidence presented so far has shown widespread problems.”
What emerged in the Times reports is how Republicans in several states, other than the president, have engaged in a widespread effort to delegitimize the nation’s voting system.
Some Republicans even resorted to flogging their own party members who, in their view, had not shown sufficient dedication to root out the fraud. In Georgia, where Biden is leading Republican Senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue, both in the run-off for re-election, He called for the resignation of Republican Secretary of State Brad Ravensberger. “The Secretary of State’s failure to conduct fair and transparent elections,” the senators said in a statement.
In Washington, the losing Republican candidate for governor, Lauren Kolb, questioned the Republican secretary of state’s decision that the elections there were free of fraud. Foreign Minister Kim Wyman challenged Mr. Kolb, 14 percentage points behind In the results, To provide evidence. “It’s just throwing grass on the fence at this point,” she said in an interview. “Look what is commented.”
The Democrats were more vulnerable to criticism. Last week, the Republican leadership called the Pennsylvania state legislature On Cathy BukfarDemocratic Foreign Minister to step down. in a WisconsinThe Republican president of the assembly announced that he would set up committees to investigate voter fraud in the wake of Biden’s narrow state victory, although there is no evidence of this. Republican lawmakers voted in Michigan on Saturday Issuance of notes to bring documents Searching for “electoral irregularities.”
Indeed, Republicans in all three “Blue Wall” states have begun “investigations” or have called for audits – which is redundant given the certification work already underway. Democrats say this is just a way to undermine confidence in the results.
On Monday, the Trump campaign accelerated their legal efforts, filing a lawsuit in the seven Pennsylvania counties where the president lost alleging that mail voting had created an unfair “two-tier” system during the election – although the system also exists in counties and the president won. The campaign also announced plans to file another lawsuit in Michigan.
The president maintained a barrage of posts on Twitter with false allegations of wrongdoing in Nevada and Pennsylvania, predicting that he would win in Georgia, where he was left behind, and said that Wisconsin “needs a little time legally,” although he did not provide any explanation for this. He meant it.
Nelly Gorbie, Rhode Island’s Democratic Secretary of State, said the amount of attention paid to the election would make illegal voting extremely difficult. “It will be nearly impossible to manipulate voters in this election because of the number of people who are caught,” she said.
Voting fraud in the United States is extremely rare. The irregularities that occur are often illogical and isolated in nature and are unlikely to alter the outcome of an election. The most significant episode of election fraud over the past several years has involved an alleged attempt to rig the ballot in favor of North Carolina’s Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris in 2018. Enforcement scheme New elections And an employee who worked for Mr. Harris, McCray Dulles, Under the indictment. Mr. Harris has not been charged with wrongdoing and has denied any role.
In the case of the 2020 elections, Biden’s margins in the Blue Wall states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin all run into the tens of thousands. Even in Georgia, where Biden is leading by more than 11,000 votes, it will be difficult to uncover enough voting irregularities to change the winner.
“We have seen no evidence of fraud or fraud in the actual conduct of the election,” said Jake Rollo, a spokesman for Jocelyn Benson, the Democratic Secretary of State for Michigan. “ What we saw was that it was smooth, transparent, safe, and accurate. ”
However, Mr Trump has been focusing on voter fraud since 2016, when he falsely claimed that vote theft cost him the popular vote, which he lost by about 3 million. In the aftermath of the elections, he set up a vote rigging committee that dissolved without any results amid accusations of secrecy, bias, and abuse.
Mr. Trump’s attack on the electoral system this year relied on either an outright fabrication or a gross exaggeration involving the kinds of minor problems that usually appear in elections.
In Ohio, for example, Mr. LaRose said that although it was not unusual to discover a few irregularities in statewide elections, the systematic fraud did not occur.
“In the past, I referred people to local prosecutors and the public prosecutor for whomever non-citizens vote,” he said. “It’s like tens or dozens of people, not hundreds. There is no acceptable level of voter fraud and we take every single one of these cases very seriously.”
Tension over the vote was evident in Georgia. Both the Trump campaign and two Republicans in the Senate have complained about the transparency, which Secretary of State Ravensburger called “laughable”.
He said in a statement: “We were actively offering to publish the results every hour at least.” “My office and I hold daily or twice daily press briefings to keep them informed of all the numbers. So this particular accusation is laughable.”
He added that although there were likely small instances of fraud, he did not expect them to be large enough to influence the outcome.
The lack of any major findings of fraud or wrongdoing, and even Republican election officials’ willingness to cast smooth operations, have undermined Mr Trump’s legal efforts.
In Michigan, the Trump campaign filed a lawsuit, saying polling observers were not allowed to properly monitor the vote count in Detroit. But election officials in the city denied this, saying it does exist Dozens of survey monitors From both campaigns inside the main count center there.
Last week, a judge denied the Trump campaign had attempted to stop the count, based on complaints about observers. Cashing The main evidence is that they are “vague” and “rumors.”
Accusations of fraud and the president and his allies have been noticeably absent from states where Trump and his Republican comrades have performed well.
In South Carolina, for example, Republican Senator Lindsay Graham beat Jaime Harrison with relative ease, despite the fact that opinion polls showed a checkered race there. South Carolina State Election Board Chairman John W. Wells said late Monday, “I have not heard of any” material allegations of fraud in the state, although he added that he will await a final decision in Testimony and protest Processing.
When asked whether Mr. Graham was concerned about the results in his country A state spokesman said the senator “discussed states where margins are close,” but called on South Carolina voters to come forward with any “evidence of fraud or wrongdoing.”
Mr. Graham, a close ally of Mr. Trump, took up the president’s case. He asked the Justice Department to investigate the allegations contained in a Trump campaign affidavit with him from a postal service employee in Erie, Pennsylvania. Irregularities at the local post office were based largely on a conversation he said he overheard.
Late Tuesday, the reliability of that statement came into question after the House Oversight Committee reported it On Twitter The worker retracted his story in discussions with the Office of the Inspector General of the Postal Service. The worker later denied that he had backed away in a video clip online.
One of the foreign ministers who did not respond to requests to comment on elections in his state was Cory Stapleton of Montana, an outgoing Republican. But Mr Stapleton released a letter that implicitly addresses the president’s ongoing fraud allegations. “I have supported you, Mr. President,” he wrote. “Embed a Tweet You accomplished some great things during your time at the office! But that time is now over! Tilt your hat, bite your lips, and congratulate @ Joe Biden. “
Michael Waynes, Mike Baker, Julia McDonnell Nieto Del Rio and Will Wright contributed to the reports.