SACRAMENTO (TUSEN) – Californians on Tuesday voted to keep Gov. Gavin Newsom in office, ending a statewide recall election that once again saw some Republicans make unfounded allegations of voter fraud.
Days before the polls closed, the campaign of one of the main Republican candidates promoted a website urging people to sign a petition claiming Newsom had already won due to voter fraud. This language was removed from a petition circulated to help former President Donald Trump overturn last year’s presidential election results.
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On Tuesday afternoon, that language was removed from the website, leaving only a form for people to report “irregularities, interference or intimidation while voting.” A spokeswoman for Elder said the website is operated by a third party and “the websites update their language all the time.”
Elder did not revive such claims on Tuesday night, quickly conceding the race and urging the booed fans to “be graceful in defeat”.
The fraud allegations – both by Elder and former President Donald Trump – prompted a reprimand from Newsom in a victory speech on election night.
“Democracy is not football. You don’t throw it away, ”Newsom said. “It’s more like a, I don’t know, an antique vase. You can drop it and smash it into a million different pieces. And that’s what we’re capable of doing if we don’t stand up to face the moment and push back.
There were few reported issues with Tuesday’s vote. A polling center in Tulare County was closed due to a wildfire, with voters being redirected to nearby alternatives. And a poll worker at a West Hollywood polling site was fired for wearing a pro-Trump shirt, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office.
In the Woodland Hills neighborhood last weekend, some people who showed up said they were told they had already voted, which the registrar’s office said was due to the settings on some computers used to register voters. The office said those affected have been allowed to vote provisionally, which act as placeholders until voter eligibility is determined. Likewise, a Newsmax reporter tweeted on Tuesday that he was told he had already voted at an Orange County polling station. The county clerk said he could not comment on this matter, but for the record, this situation occurs “but in small numbers” and there is often an explanation. He too was allowed to vote provisionally.
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Some Republicans were concerned that allegations of fraud by some party leaders would suppress the turnout. Harmeet Dhillon, a lawyer and national committee member of the California Republican National Committee, said she made a video with her husband showing them voting by mail and urging everyone to do the same.
But Dhillon also said she couldn’t say whether the California election would be secure, saying she and a team of lawyers monitoring the vote had witnessed dozens of problems.
“There will be a lot of questions and potentially litigation after this election over this shoddy treatment to the best of people’s ballots and their right to vote,” Dhillon said.
The GOP’s predicament was similar to that in last year’s presidential election, when many party members feared Trump’s claims of widespread fraud resulting from expanded mail-in voting would backfire by persuading Republicans to stay at home.
In California, the GOP needed all the help it could get.
Democrats make up 46.5% of all registered voters, while Republicans make up just 24%. Independent voters are roughly equivalent to Republicans, but tend to vote Democratic. Republicans have not won a statewide post since 2006, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was re-elected as governor.
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