The violent mob that invaded the U.S. Capitol and killed a police officer was misled. 81 million eligible and qualified voters chose Joe Biden, while 74 million chose Donald Trump. More important in our system is the fact that majorities of voters in states totaling 306 electoral votes chose Biden. President Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Representative Mo Brooks, and many others have claimed this election was stolen. This claim is wrong, and these false statements led to death and destruction and undermined faith in our political system.
President Trump’s allies have admitted there was no election fraud. Trump supporter and golfing partner Senator Lindsey Graham admitted there was no evidence of fraud. Trump’s extremely loyal former attorney general, Bill Barr, said there was no significant election fraud. Gabriel Sterling, a long-time Republican campaign worker and political candidate who supervised election security for the Georgia Secretary of State, systematically refuted claims of electoral fraud or irregularities in the Georgia election.
President Trump has claimed that the elections in Georgia and Arizona were stolen. However, both these states have Republican governors and secretaries of state who supported Trump for re-election. These are the officials who supervised the election and the subsequent audits in their states. They were motivated to find problems with the election but they didn’t find any.
Although the president and his legal team have claimed in tweets and speeches that the election was stolen by voter fraud, in courtrooms (where they could be punished for lying) they have repeatedly said they are not claiming fraud. Lead Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani admitted in federal court “This is not a fraud case.” Another Trump lawyer, Kory Langhofer, told a Pennsylvania court “We are not alleging fraud.” In a different county in Pennsylvania, Trump lawyer Jonathan Goldstein admitted he had no evidence of fraud. The reason Trump’s lawyers have not claimed fraud is because there is no evidence of fraud.
Instead of fraud, President Trump’s lawsuits have argued that state election laws or processes were implemented incorrectly. These lawsuits have been squashed by courts across the country. Judges appointed by Trump have ruled against his claims in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Texas, and on the U.S. Supreme Court. Other Republican judges in Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin also rejected Trump’s arguments.
Recounts and audits done in several states have shown that the votes were counted accurately. Georgia counted its votes three times, with virtually identical results each time. Recounts in Dane and Milwaukee Counties in Wisconsin affirmed Biden’s victory. The claims that some voting machines changed votes in favor of Biden has been investigated and found to be false and the news organizations that reported these claims have retreated or apologized for them. A hand recount of votes in Antrim County, Michigan confirmed the electronic tally.
President Trump’s lies about the election have already caused death and destruction and weakened the country’s faith in our democratic system. These lies must be emphatically rejected now to put the country on a path toward healing.
Joseph Smith is associate professor of Political Science at the University of Alabama. The views expressed here are his own, and do not represent the University of Alabama.