Capitol Alert

Trump’s unproven voter fraud claims get aired in California

California Secretary of Sate Alex Padilla meets with a delegate at the Democratic national convention in July. Padilla challenged President-elect Donald Trump to back up his claims of voter fraud in California and other states.
California Secretary of Sate Alex Padilla meets with a delegate at the Democratic national convention in July. Padilla challenged President-elect Donald Trump to back up his claims of voter fraud in California and other states. hamezcua@sacbee.com

California election officials reported Monday that they have processed all but about 962,000 provisional and late-arriving mail ballots cast Nov. 8, and the outcomes of all major races are decided.

But progress was overshadowed Monday by President-elect Donald Trump’s unproven suggestion Sunday that some of the 13.7 million ballots counted so far in California – where Democrat Hillary Clinton leads Trump by more than 3.9 million votes – were the result of people voting illegally.

Besides California, Trump singled out Virginia and New Hampshire as states where illegal votes helped deny him a victory in the popular vote. Monday, Trump’s team tried to back up his charges but offered no evidence.

In a round of interviews with national media Monday, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla called Trump’s claims “completely unfounded.”

“If you have proof, if you have evidence, please bring it forward,” Padilla said in an interview on National Public Radio.

Padilla’s office said no counties had forwarded voter fraud cases. The elections office in Los Angeles County, the state’s largest, also reported that no claims had been filed. Jill LaVine, Sacramento County’s registrar of voters, said there have been instances of some voters accidentally casting two ballots because they forgot they had already cast a mail ballot, or casting a provisional ballot because of worries their mail ballot would not arrive in time to be counted.

“I have seen nothing out of the ordinary,” LaVine said in an e-mail.

Harmeet K. Dhillon of San Francisco, a Republican National Committee national committeewoman and a former vice chair of the state GOP, said she thinks Trump’s claims are valid.

California has not done enough to protect against people fraudulently registering or casting ballots, she said, such as by not requiring voters to show identification, and she claimed the state has a “very insecure” online registration website. Dhillon said she feels “pretty comfortable” estimating that the number of fraudulent California ballots this month numbered more than a handful but fewer than one million.

Such fraud allegations have never panned out, Padilla told NPR. “Cases of voter fraud are statistically minimal if you go back decades,” he said.

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