Faced with the tough reality that President Trump has lost the election, some Republicans are responding the only way they know how: with promises of investigations.
In the days since Michigan and Wisconsin firmed up their ballot counts enough to signal that their electoral college votes would be going to Joe Biden, Republican lawmakers in both states laid groundwork to probe the administration of those elections, which ran remarkably smoothly despite the serious challenges the pandemic posed.
The campaign of Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) — a top Trump congressional ally who, as chair of Senate Judiciary Committee, has previously launched investigations that benefit the President politically — put out a statement Saturday hours after Biden’s victory was projected, in which the senator promised that “all credible allegations of voting irregularities and misconduct will be taken seriously.”
With it, the campaign released an affidavit from a postal worker who claimed that he had been instructed to backdate the postmarks of ballots being delivered after Election Day, so it would appear that they had been submitted on Nov. 3. Regardless of the veracity of the person’s claims, those ballots will have no effect on the outcome of the presidential race — as any mail ballot that didn’t arrive at election offices by Tuesday is already being segregated from the main tally.
In the days since the tallying of ballots indicated that Biden was on track to a victory, Trump allies have scrambled to find evidence of impropriety to bolster the President’s false claim that the election is being stolen from him. The contrived allegations that they have been putting forward have largely been laughed out of court; the only legal “win” the President’s team has secured in their post-election litigation was a court order that their poll watchers be allowed to observe the canvassing from a closer distance.
But the Trump’s team inability to grasp even the flimsiest of straws has not discouraged Republicans in Michigan and Wisconsin — two Trump 2016 states that flipped to Biden in 2020 — from previewing their desires to gin up fake accusations of fraud.
Michigan Republicans called a rare Saturday legislative committee meeting — which they put on the schedule even before Biden has been declared the victor of the national presidential race — to approve subpoenas for various elections records.
Likewise, a top Wisconsin Republican on Friday evening announced an investigation into the election there. The statement from Assembly Speaker Robin Vos directed the relevant committee use its investigatory powers to review “how the election was administered.”
Incredibly, given all the ways the pandemic scrambled election preparations, vote-casting occurred across the country without any major fiascos or issues of concern. The fact that it’s taken several days to finish the count in some key states is a product of the refusal of those states’ GOP legislatures — including in Wisconsin and Michigan — to push up the timeline for absentee ballot processing, the way it’s done in states with more experience with vote-by-mail.
Vos, in his statement, shamelessly suggested that the slow count was an issue that should be looked into, as he encouraged the committee to investigate “the inefficiency of Milwaukee’s central counting of absentee ballots.”