Republican candidates keep lying about 2020 Election even as proof of legitimacy keeps stacking up

February 8, 2022 3:20 am

Voters in line. Photo by John McCosh, Georgia Recorder/States Newsroom.

First, the good news. Out of nearly 6 million votes cast in Ohio for the 2020 presidential election, just 27 have been referred to local and state investigators for potential voter fraud. Wow. A routine review of an election with the highest turnout ever — conducted during a pandemic that posed “the most challenging set of circumstances perhaps to ever run an election” — showed it was almost flawless

Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose found two dozen questionable ballots, or a nanoscopic 0.0005% of the total 5,974,121 cast in Ohio for the presidential race. That miniscule number of maybe fraudulent votes, tagged for closer examination, is proof of how well our election system worked to ensure an honest and secure voting process in a crazy year. Give credit to the state’s chief elections officer, local county boards of elections and thousands of conscientious poll workers.

No election is perfect. Mistakes are made. Questionable ballots are pulled. But in Ohio, the remarkable facts speak for themselves. Analysis of the 2020 election confirmed that voter fraud is extremely rare and that the established mechanisms to initiate a swift response to suspected irregularities are super effective. Moreover, most, if not all, of those 27 cases referred to investigators from the presidential election will likely never advance to prosecution or conviction. But accountability will be adjudicated.  

The good news for us is that post-election audits of the 2020 election in our state verified not only the integrity of millions of scrutinized ballots but also the incredible 99.98% accuracy of the vote count. So, celebrate Ohio’s commendable record of clean election administration and its statistically irrelevant number of possible voter fraud cases. This should be a point of pride for all Ohioans. 

Now the bad news. 

Fealty to a baseless lie about a stolen election trumps the good news from LaRose (and other secretaries of state) about fair, accurate and accountable elections among Republican candidates who want to win primaries. Clearly, the GOP frontrunners in the race for Ohio’s open U.S. Senate seat have decided it’s more important to be endorsed by a sore loser who nearly destroyed democracy than acknowledge the truth of the 2020 election. Lean into the grotesque spectacle of Ohio Republicans emphatically asserting what they know is untrue about a democratic election decided strictly by the book. 

These charlatans are asking Ohio voters to trust them while lying outright to their would-be constituents. When Josh Mandel or J.D. Vance declare that rampant voter fraud is responsible for Joe Biden’s victory, that Trump is the legitimate winner of the 2020 election, or that the outcome was hopelessly rigged on a grand, corrupt scale, they know the facts belie their claims. They know there was no massive fraud or election rigging ever substantiated by evidence so profound in scope as to change the results of the presidential election. 

They know the overwhelming evidence — inspected six ways to Sunday — soundly affirms that Biden was elected by more Americans (81 million) than Donald Trump (74 million). They know the vote was certified in all 50 states by Republican and Democratic leaders alike. The fact is one man won; one man lost. The people spoke. But the loser wouldn’t concede or accept his fate civilly. 

For the first time in American history, a defeated president refused to honor two centuries of the peaceful transfer of power, a bulwark of our democracy. Instead, he plotted to overturn the will of voters and steal unearned power for himself. His lies about a stolen election fueled a violent siege of the U.S. Capitol. But a year later he is still spreading deception that victory was stolen from him. He shamelessly admits (out loud) that he tried to overturn an election — endlessly dissected and consistently upheld — because he couldn’t countenance defeat.

And woe be to any Republican with primary rivals who speaks truth to a vengeful insurrectionist. Growing a backbone like Liz Cheney brings harsh retribution. GOP candidates would rather make a deal with the devil to lie through their teeth about the illegitimacy of an election and who the real winner was than to be honest with voters about what they know is true.  

Candidate Mandel floats vague, fact-free innuendos about “nefarious activity” skewing the vote in the presidential election — but only in states Biden won. He told an interviewer he’s heard too many stories to believe the 2020 election wasn’t rigged. So, based on “stories” and undefined “nefarious activity” (and little else) the man who would be Ohio’s next U.S. Senator takes a giant leap of faith — if not logic — to claim Trump won his reelection. Nipping at Mandel’s heels in the race to the bottom of election deceitfulness, Candidate Vance conjures up flaky fabrications of the tech industry working with Democrats to rig the election for Biden and recycles proven falsehoods about massive voter fraud for good measure.

Facts about Ohio’s near model election in 2020 don’t faze either Vance or Mandel, who submits (based on nothing) that Trump “probably actually won by even larger margins” in the state “were it not for the Democratic cheating.” ‘Makes no difference to the Republicans if they recklessly erode confidence in our legitimate voting system to undermine it. For them, lying is a political means to a perch in the U.S. Senate.

The good news is we get a vote on fact or fiction and the truth will come out. 



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Marilou Johanek
Marilou Johanek

Marilou Johanek is a veteran Ohio print and broadcast journalist who has covered state and national politics as a longtime newspaper editorial writer and columnist.