Sanders and Schumer Call For Hearings To Combat Election Conspiracy Theories

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September 16, 2020 9:03 a.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT)  and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) are calling for a bipartisan committee focused on election integrity to win back the confidence of Americans in the electoral process, which President Donald Trump has tactically sought to tarnish.

“Despite the clear security of our vote-by-mail system, some have continued to undermine it with unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud,” the senators wrote in a letter addressed to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tackling the issue.

Earlier this month, McConnell sought to quiet Trump’s efforts to cast doubt over mail-in voting integrity, urging his constituents, not worry about your vote not counting,” Trump has doubled down in his months-long his attack on mail-in voting.

In recent weeks, the President encouraged illegal double-voting, boosted conspiracy theories suggesting election fraud and even called on supporters at rallies to act as “poll watchers,” and watch over Democrats for “all the thieving and stealing and robbing.”

The hearings proposed in the letter would invite a broad selection of election officials to attest to voting in its myriad forms, by mail, early and in-person.

The letter, obtained by CNN, comes as Democratic and some Republican lawmakers have expressed concerns that Trump will not only continue to sow doubt over the legitimacy of the coming election but also potentially create further chaos by prematurely declaring a victory as an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots are slowly tallied over the days following the election.

“We know a number of states may well be counting ballots for a period of time after Election Day, and that those votes may be determinative in this election,” the senators said in the letter. “To avoid disinformation, conspiracy theories, and suspicion about results, we must understand the likely timeline for this process.”

The pair pressed for more detailed discussion in the Senate about how to proceed in the hours and days following the election and the best way to tackle the nation’s likely volatile mood as mailed ballots are processed.

Sanders and Schumer’s letter cited studies by experts that detail scenarios where the outcome of the election was not immediately known that “resulted in unrest and even violence.”  The duo advised McConnell to launch similar discussions in the Senate to get ahead of potential uncertainties.

“We would like to hear from the most knowledgeable people in the country as to how we can do everything possible to make sure that the election and the period afterward is secure and peaceful,” the senators wrote.

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