Several Michigan Republican legislators have urged voters to respect the Democratic process while saying that all votes must be counted, as President Donald Trump has claimed “voter fraud” and argued to “stop” the counting of ballots.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden leads Trump in Michigan by 2.7 percent, or about 146,000 votes, after counting the ballots. Trump has claimed without any reason that the former vice president won the state by fraud. The president’s supporters protested in Detroit and on Wednesday called for the counting of votes to be stopped after Trump’s campaign issued a statement calling for the trial to be stopped.
“Quite simply, all Michigan ballots received by the deadline for the vote must be openly and accurately counted. Period. If there are irregularities, show the evidence and investigate. I have not heard from any clerk in my district that there have been irregularities in the process,” said Representative Fred Upton, a Republican representing Michigan’s fourth district, in a statement sent to Washington Newsday in an e-mail on Friday. “The democratic process and the voices of the American people must be respected.
Representative Paul Mitchell, a Republican representing Michigan’s 10th district, shared a similar message in a Twitter post on Thursday.
“Every legal vote should and will be counted-as it is always counted. Where there are problems, there are ways to solve them. If someone has evidence of wrongdoing, it should be presented and resolved. Anything else damages the integrity of our elections and is dangerous to our democracy,” wrote Mitchell. The GOP Congressman did not seek re-election after announcing his resignation from Congress in July 2019.
“A legally cast vote does not become ‘illegal’ just because a candidate does not like the vote – let’s remember that this is AMERICA,” Mitchell tweeted on Friday.
Congressman-elect Peter Meijer, a Republican for Michigan’s 3rd district, said voters should trust the counting process. The Congressman-designate will occupy the seat of Congressman Justin Amash, an independent who left the Republican Party due to persistent disagreements with Trump and his GOP colleagues. Amash has not sought re-election.
“We have often seen in close races that it comes down to (a delayed count), and that is not a failure of the process, that is the functioning of the process…. It is incredibly important that all Americans have confidence in the electoral system,” Meijer told MLive in a statement.
Washington Newsday turned to Mitchell and Meijer for further comment, but they did not respond immediately.
Amash, who now identifies himself as a Libertarian, also criticized Trump in a Twitter post on Thursday. “Half-truths and deliberate ambiguity are two hallmarks of the Trump presidency,” wrote the Congressman.
Voter fraud at the level Trump claims would be almost impossible to successfully enforce. Since Biden Trump leads with about 146,000 votes, this would mean that Democratic officials somehow submitted ballots on behalf of tens of thousands of people who used their social security numbers, ID numbers and signatures without their consent. Such a conspiracy could easily be discovered by municipal and district officials who check and receive the absentee ballots.
Several studies have shown that election fraud is incredibly rare in the United States. Research from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law found that the incidence rate of election fraud in the U.S. ranged from 0.00004 percent to 0.0009 percent, which is statistically about zero. A further analysis by Justin Levitt, Professor of Law at Loyola Law School, revealed only 31 incidents of voter fraud nationwide between 2000 and 2014, even though around 1 billion ballots were cast.
Michigan has historically been a blue flag for the Democrats in presidential elections, with Trump’s narrow victory in 2016 in Midwestern state being the most recent exception. Trump carried the state by less than 11,000 votes or a lead of only 0.2 percentage points in the last presidential election. The victory of the president in Michigan came after Democratic presidential candidates won the state in all presidential elections since 1992.