Officials Flame ‘Garbage’ Trump Camp Argument That Counting Votes Is Election Theft

Campaign communications director Jason Miller, arrives at the Trump Tower for meetings with US President-elect Donald Trump, in New York on November 17, 2016. / AFP / Eduardo Munoz Alvarez (Photo credit should... Campaign communications director Jason Miller, arrives at the Trump Tower for meetings with US President-elect Donald Trump, in New York on November 17, 2016. / AFP / Eduardo Munoz Alvarez (Photo credit should read EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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November 1, 2020 2:30 p.m.

Politicians and election observers flamed Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller on Sunday for saying that counting all of the votes cast in the presidential election would amount to an attempt to “steal” the election by Democrats. 

Miller, in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, was reiterating a lie about election results that President Donald Trump has tried to hammer home in recent weeks — that votes tallied after Election Day itself aren’t valid. 

“If you speak with many smart Democrats, they believe that Trump will be ahead on election night, probably getting 280 electoral [votes] — somewhere in that range, and then they’re gonna try to steal it back after the election,” Miller said

Regardless of the spin from the Trump campaign, it’s likely that the results of this year’s presidential contest will take longer to tally than in years past, largely because of the tsunami of mail-in voting that’s occurred due to COVID-19.

Trump has sought to undermine the public’s faith in voting by mail and urged his supporters to vote in-person. For that reason, tallies in some states on Election Day may show disproportionate support for him relative to the final vote tally. The Trump campaign and Republican Party have fought legal battles in several states to limit the counting of ballots received by election officials after Election Day, even if postmarks show that the votes were cast on time. 

Election observers and politicians were quick to point out Miller’s comment for what it was: Dangerous nonsense. 

“I want to be clear that elections have never been called on election night,” Pennsylvania’s election chief Kathy Boockvar told NBC. “This is a process, and we want to make sure that every single vote of every valid voter is securely and accurately counted.”

Brendan Buck, a former top aide to past Speakers of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and Paul Ryan (R-WI) urged Republicans not to lend “legitimacy” to “BS” arguments that lawfully-cast votes should not be counted.

“Hey guys, please ignore this type of garbage,” wrote Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox (R), the Republican nominee to be governor of the state this year. “The truth is that elections are never decided on election night.” 

“Votes cast before & counted after election night are, as every year, a normal part of the election — not an effort to ‘steal it,’” Princeton historian Kevin Kruse said.

“That’s a dangerous lie told to damage democracy,” said Democrat Shannon Freshour, who’s running against Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) this year.

“Counting all the votes is not stealing an election,” wrote Leah Greenberg, co-executive director of the group Indivisible. “It is the election.”

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