Elections

Trump's campaign seems to contradict president-elect’s claims of voter fraud

By Greg Hadley

ghadley@mcclatchy.com

Nicole Kirby looks over results during a statewide presidential election recount Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, in Milwaukee. The first candidate-driven statewide recount of a presidential election in 16 years began Thursday in Wisconsin. The Trump campaign is fighting to prevent a similar recount in Michigan.
Nicole Kirby looks over results during a statewide presidential election recount Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, in Milwaukee. The first candidate-driven statewide recount of a presidential election in 16 years began Thursday in Wisconsin. The Trump campaign is fighting to prevent a similar recount in Michigan. AP

While attempting to halt Michigan’s election recount on Thursday, the campaign of President-elect Donald Trump asserted that “all available evidence suggests that the 2016 general election was not tainted by fraud or mistake,” according to documents released by Michigan’s secretary of state’s office.

There’s just one tiny problem: Trump himself has argued that millions voted illegally in the Nov. 8 presidential election.

In tweets sent out Sunday, Trump asserted, without evidence, that he only lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton because millions of people voted illegally. Several media outlets have connected that claim to assertions from conservative commenters on Twitter and Facebook that as many as three million illegal immigrants voted, a theory multiple fact checkers, including Snopes, Politifact and the Washington Post, have said does not hold up to scrutiny.

The contradiction arose from Trump’s camp’s efforts to prevent Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein from forcing a recount in the states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, all states Trump won by narrow margins, propelling him to an electoral college victory.

Stein has raised nearly $7 million to fund her recount effort, which has been joined by Clinton’s campaign, which has said it is participating in the recount only because its candidate is involved, not because it has uncovered any evidence of voter fraud, despite a report from New York Magazine that several cybersecurity and election experts were pushing her to call for a recount.

Polling experts such as Nate Cohn of the New York Times and Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight have said it is extremely unlikely recounts would affect the results of the election, but Trump’s campaign tried to block them anyway. In Wisconsin, a machine recount began Thursday after a judge denied Stein’s plea for it to take place by hand, per Fox News.

But in Michigan, where the recount was slated to begin Friday, Trump’s team filed an objection with the Michigan Bureau of Elections, which automatically halts the recount until the objection is resolved. Michigan’s secretary of state office issued a statement saying consideration of the objection would take place Friday and Saturday.

In its objection, Trump’s lawyers also cited statements from President Obama’s administration saying there is no evidence of widespread security failures on Election Day. Obama’s press secretary Josh Earnest has since said there is also no evidence of Trump’s claim that millions voted illegally, according to Politico.

Trump also claimed on Twitter that there was “serious voter fraud” in Virginia, New Hampshire and California, all states he lost in the general election. His campaign has not filed for recounts in any of those states.

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