Experts and officials trash Trump’s claim of mass vote fraud
EXPERTS and officials on both sides of the political aisle dismissed Donald Trump’s claim that “millions” of Americans voted illegally on Election Day as efforts expanded to organise recounts in swing states.
The Republican billionaire’s shock victory on November 8 saw him clinch the crucial Electoral College count, which determines the presidency, but lose the popular vote to rival Hillary Clinton by more than two million votes.
Cloistered in his Florida resort for the long Thanksgiving weekend, the 70-year-old tycoon who has never previously held elected office took to Twitter to indulge in one of his customary tweet storms.
On November 27, before returning to New York to resume interviews with potential cabinet appointees, he claimed he would have won the popular vote if it were not for “the millions of people who voted illegally”.
“Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California – so why isn’t the media reporting on this? Serious bias – big problem!”, he followed up later.
Mr Trump, who spent the campaign warning that the result might be “rigged”, is now – with his aides – pushing back hard as the Green Party works to secure recounts in three states which Mr Trump won: Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The campaign of Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who won a tiny fraction of the vote in each state and where Mr Trump beat Ms Clinton by thousands of votes, said voters had filed recount requests in more than 100 (out of 9163) precincts in Pennsylvania – and more would follow.
The party requested a statewide recount in Wisconsin and plans to request a recount in Michigan.
But observers deny any evidence of widespread fraud and few expect any change the outcome of the vote, which Ms Clinton conceded to Mr Trump in an early-hours phone call on November 9.
On November 28, Mr Trump increased his Electoral College vote count to 306, compared to 232 for Ms Clinton, after Michigan finally certified its election results – and his victory there.
Republican, Democratic and independent lawmakers dismissed Mr Trump’s claims as totally unsubstantiated. Some experts warned they set a dangerous precedent by potentially undermining trust in democracy or confidence in his leadership.
“I have not seen anything in the millions, I don’t know what he was talking about,” Republican Senator James Lankford told CNN.
“There has been no evidence produced to substantiate a claim like that,” said White House spokesperson Josh Earnest.
Ms Clinton’s campaign has said it would join the process, but has also said it does not so far see any evidence of hacking or vote tampering.
Bernie Sanders, who ran against Ms Clinton for the Democratic nomination, called Mr Trump’s remarks “unfounded nonsense” that showed Republicans wanted to make it harder for people including minorities to register to vote. –