30 South Carolina Republicans back AG Barr’s election probe
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Several dozen South Carolina Republican lawmakers are voicing support of Attorney General Bill Barr’s authorization of federal prosecutors across the U.S. to pursue “substantial allegations” of voting irregularities, if they exist, before the 2020 presidential election is certified. There has been no evidence of widespread fraud.
In a letter obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, 30 GOP members of the state House say they “write with concern over the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election.”
While not expressing any doubts about election processes specifically in South Carolina, the lawmakers write that they worry that the state’s electors “are being devalued by potential fraud in multiple other states as it affects the outcome of this presidential election.”
Barr’s action this week came days after Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump and raised the prospect that Trump will use the Justice Department to try to challenge the outcome. It gives prosecutors the ability to go around longstanding Justice Department policy that normally would prohibit such overt actions before an election is certified.
Trump has not conceded the election and is instead claiming that there has been a widespread, multi-state conspiracy by Democrats to skew the vote tally in Biden’s favor.
There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. In fact, election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the election went well and international observers confirmed there were no serious irregularities.
The issues Trump’s campaign and its allies have pointed to are typical in every election: problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots miscast or lost. With Biden leading Trump by wide margins in key battleground states, none of those issues would have any impact on the outcome of the election.
Trump’s campaign has also launched legal challenges complaining that their poll watchers were unable to scrutinize the voting process. Many of those challenges have been tossed out by judges, some within hours of their filing; and again, none of the complaints show any evidence that the outcome of the election was impacted.
The South Carolina lawmakers go on to note that measures have been taken over the past year in the state “to guarantee that all legally eligible voters could cast their ballots securely and confidently.”
Several times during this election year, South Carolina state legislators passed adjustments to voting laws, allowing all voters to vote absentee regardless of reason because of the coronavirus pandemic. Voters in the state usually have to provide a specific reason for voting absentee, such as being 65 or older or having a physical disability.
A witness signature requirement for absentee ballots was removed before the summer primary elections, but lawmakers didn’t include that change in tweaks ahead of the general election. Challenged in court, the signature requirement was ultimately reinstated by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Regardless of party, transparency in government is good, especially with elections,” Rep. Bobby Cox of Greenville said in a statement accompanying the letter.
Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP.