Sacramento, California (AFP) – Californians voted to keep Governor Gavin Newsom in office on Tuesday, ending a statewide vote of no confidence that saw some Republicans Once again float unfounded allegations of voter fraud.
Days before polls closed, the campaign of a leading Republican candidate promoted a website urging people to sign a petition declaring Newsom actually won due to voter fraud. That language was removed from a petition circulated to help the former president Donald TrumpEfforts to annul the results of last year’s presidential election.
By Tuesday afternoon, that language had been removed from the site, leaving only a form for people to report “irregularities, interference or intimidation during voting.” A spokeswoman for Larry Elder said the site is run by a third party and that “the sites update their language all the time.”
Elder did not revive any of those allegations on Tuesday night, quickly ditching the race and urging his supporters to “kindly defeat”.
The allegations of fraud – from both Elder and former President Donald Trump – drew a rebuke from Newsom in his election night victory speech.
“Democracy is not football. It’s a lot like, I don’t know, an antique vase,” Newsom said. You can drop it and smash it into a million different pieces. And that’s what we can do if we don’t stand up to the moment and back off.”
There were few problems reported with Tuesday’s vote. A polling station in Tulare County has been closed due to a wildfire, with voters redirected to nearby alternatives. According to the Los Angeles County Registry, a polling staff member at a polling site in West Hollywood was removed for wearing a pro-Trump T-shirt.
In the Woodland Hills neighborhood last weekend, some people who attended said they were told they had actually voted, which the registrar’s office said was caused by settings on some of the computers used for voter registration. The office said those affected were allowed to cast their provisional votes, which serve as placeholders until voter eligibility is determined. Similarly, a Newsmax reporter tweeted on Tuesday that he was told he had already voted at a polling station in Orange County. The county registrar said he could not comment on the issue, but by accounts this situation occurs “but in small numbers” and there is often an explanation. He, too, was allowed provisional suffrage.
Some Republicans were concerned that allegations of fraud from some party leaders might suppress turnout. Harmette Dillon, an attorney and National Committee member for the California Republican National Committee, said she made a video with her husband showing them casting votes by mail and urging everyone to do the same.
But Dillon also said she could not say whether the California election would be safe, saying that she and a team of lawyers monitoring the vote experienced dozens of problems.
“There will be a lot of questions and potential litigation after this election about this sloppy treatment at best of people’s votes and their right to vote,” Dillon said.
The GOP’s predicament was similar to that of last year’s presidential election, when many party members feared that Trump’s allegations of widespread fraud from expanded mail voting would backfire by persuading Republicans to stay home.
In California, the Republican Party needed all the help it could get.
Democrats make up 46.5% of all registered voters, while Republicans make up only 24%. Independent voters are roughly equivalent to Republicans, but they tend to vote for Democrats. Republicans haven’t won a statewide office since 2006, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was re-elected as governor.
Writers Michael R. Blood in Los Angeles and Nicholas Ricciardi in Denver contributed to this report.
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