Capitol Alert

Padilla denounced voter fraud claims: ‘Now I know how Elizabeth Warren felt’

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla gestures while speaking before the California Democrats State Convention in San Jose, Calif.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla gestures while speaking before the California Democrats State Convention in San Jose, Calif. AP

After President Donald Trump recently alleged widespread voter fraud in the November election, the National Association of Secretaries of State, run by a majority of Republicans, issued a statement saying it was unaware of any evidence supporting his claims.

In Washington for the group’s first meeting since the election, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla tried unsuccessfully Friday to get his colleagues to support a resolution essentially saying the same thing.

Specifically, Padilla wanted the association to express its confidence in the systemic integrity of the 2016 election process: “Let it be resolved that claims of massive voter fraud are without merit and undermine the public’s faith in the foundation of our democracy,” it stated.

“Let it be further resolved that the National Association of Secretaries of State calls for an end to unsubstantiated allegations about voter fraud.”

Padilla persisted, but walked away empty-handed after the association refused a vote on his proposal.

“Now I know how Elizabeth Warren felt,” Padilla, a Democrat from Los Angeles, said in a reference to the Massachusetts senator not being allowed to read a letter from Coretta Scott King.

Padilla’s push comes as the Trump administration continues to claim widespread voter fraud. Last weekend, the president’s senior adviser, Stephen Miller, appeared on Sunday public affairs shows to assert, without evidence, that Massachusetts residents were bused into New Hampshire to vote illegally there.

New Hampshire stressed the charges were unfounded.

Padilla said he settled on the latest version of his resolution after speaking with his colleagues, some of whom expressed concern over an earlier draft that mentioned Trump by name, and called on the president “to cease his baseless allegations about voter fraud.”

The association is comprised of 27 Republican elections chiefs and 13 Democrats.

A counter-measure to Padilla’s included a line that the group could not affirmatively guarantee no illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election in states without so-called protections, including voter identification.

While that resolution wasn’t voted on, either, Padilla said he “can’t help but think” it was a reaction to California and its rejection of voter-roll purges and ID laws.

“Part of what’s appalling about it is it finally exposes their agenda in writing,” Padilla said, calling the inaction on his measure “shocking” and singling out GOP Secretary of State Kris Kobach of Kansas.

Concluded Padilla: “Here was an opportunity to take an action as a body and they wanted nothing to do with it.”

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

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