In a statement issued Thursday, the National Council on Election Integrity (NCEI) said that President Donald Trump’s White House statements alleging Trump cheated in the 2020 presidential election were “irresponsible”.
The non-partisan NCEI counts among its 44 members former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and former Democratic Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Trump attracted some attention with his remarks on Thursday, in which he claimed that the Democrats were trying to “steal” the presidential election in favor of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Trump was particularly critical of the process through which some states conduct the tabulation of postal ballots.
“They try to manipulate an election,” Trump said. “We cannot allow that to happen.”
In its statement, the NCEI said Trump’s allegations had “no basis”.
“The President has spent 15 minutes using the White House podium to make false claims that undermine the integrity of our elections and do a disservice to hard-working election workers around the country who have performed their duties admirably,” the NCEI statement said. “There is absolutely no basis for these irresponsible allegations”.
“Politicians can say whatever they want, but it is the American people who decide about their leaders, not the other way around,” the declaration concluded. “Our constitutional process demands that we count every vote.”
Some legislators criticized Trump’s statements, including former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum. On Thursday, Santorum called Trump’s remarks “disappointing and shocking” when he appeared on CNN.
“There is no justification for the president’s remarks tonight to undermine our democratic process,” twittered Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan. “America counts the votes, and we must respect the results, as we always have.
Biden urged Americans to remain calm as the ballots were tabulated and the presidential election became a closer race.
“Democracy is sometimes chaotic,” Biden tweeted on Thursday, “so sometimes it requires a little patience. But this patience has been rewarded for more than 240 years now with a system of government that the world envies us for,” Biden tweeted on Thursday.
Democracy is sometimes chaotic, so it sometimes requires a little patience.
But this patience has been rewarded for more than 240 years now with a system of government that the world envies us for.
– Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) November 5, 2020
Trump has often argued that the increased use of postal votes at the national level would lead to an increase in election fraud. During his remarks on Thursday, Trump hinted that in some states, the use of postal votes had led to his lead being “reduced”.
“It’s amazing how one-sided these postal ballots still are,” Trump said. “I know it’s supposed to be to the advantage of the Democrats, but in all cases they are so one-sided.
Trump’s re-election campaign has filed lawsuits in states where the campaign representatives were allegedly unable to see the process of postal voting. In Pennsylvania, Trump’s team of attorneys requested that the counting of ballots be halted until Trump’s observers were given access to the counting areas. This request was granted on Thursday when a judge at the Pennsylvania Court of Appeals ruled that Trump’s election observers could move up to two meters away from the ballot counting area. The observers were required to wear face masks and follow COVID-19 security protocols.
Should Biden win the election, Trump would be the first president since 1992 not to be elected to a second term. George H.W. Bush, who was elected in 1988, was defeated by Democratic Bill Clinton in the 1992 election.
Washington Newsday turned to the Biden campaign…. for further comments.