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Trump Falsely Claims Use of Mail-In Ballots Has “Rigged” California Recall Race

Trump’s similar false claims about the veracity of mail-in ballots in 2020 were soundly debunked by election officials.

Donald Trump addresses supporters during a "Save America" rally at York Family Farms on August 21, 2021, in Cullman, Alabama.

Former President Donald Trump has inserted himself (and his dubious opinions) into the California recall election, claiming, without any proof as usual, that the election will be “rigged” by Democrats to help their Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom remain in office.

Newsom is currently ahead in the polls, with close to 58 percent of Golden State voters saying they plan to vote for him to remain in office in next Tuesday’s Republican-instigated recall election, according to a recent Suffolk University poll. But in an interview with Newsmax on Tuesday evening, Trump said that mail-in absentee ballots would be used to help Newsom win illegitimately.

Trump cited no evidence to back up his absurd claims.

“The ballots are mail-out, mail-in ballots … I guess you can have a case where you can make your own ballot,” Trump said, alluding to one of the established legitimate ways citizens in the Golden State can vote.

“The one thing they’re good at,” Trump added, talking about Democrats, “is rigging elections, so I predict it’s a rigged election, let’s see how it turns out.”

Despite Trump’s baseless insistence that it’s somehow suspicious, California voters are allowed to download and print their own ballots and send them in to be counted in electoral races, a process that doesn’t enable fraud because it utilizes the same methods of validation that are used for standard ballots in the state.

Trump has no basis to stake his claims of a “rigged” election on, and in fact, his belief that mail-in ballots in California will lead to fraud is similar to comments he made in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, which he lost decisively to Joe Biden.

Millions of Americans, mindful of the coronavirus pandemic, utilized mail-in ballots in order to cast their votes last year. During the summer of 2020, Trump repeatedly said, without evidence, that doing so would lead to a fraudulent outcome where he would lose. When Trump did end up losing in November, he kept the claims up, blaming those types of ballots for his loss, saying elections officials were “finding” ballots for his opponent and wrongly asserting that they were falsified to help President Joe Biden win.

Such claims of election fraud, particularly about mail-in ballots, are “farcical,” election experts have said.

However, the lack of proof to back up his unfounded claims about “rigged” ballots and elections has not deterred Trump from continuing to repeat the falsehoods nearly a year since the election last November. Trump’s persistence in repeating the Big Lie appears to have paid off — at least among his supporters in the Republican party. A poll conducted in the late spring of 2021, half a year after the presidential election, 6 in 10 Republican voters falsely believed the election was stolen from the former president.

Notably, Trump’s lies have led to violent actions from his base of loyalists as well. On January 6, as the Electoral College for the 2020 presidential race was being certified by Congress (and immediately following a speech in which Trump told his supporters they’d never take back the country with “weakness”), a mob of Trump loyalists stormed the Capitol building, which resulted in the death of at least five individuals and injured dozens more.

Although Trump has never accepted any blame for what happened, many of his loyalists who have been charged in the attack or were otherwise identified as having taken part in it have said that they were motivated to take action that day by his words and continued insistence that the election was stolen.

“We were invited here! We were invited by the president of the United States!” one man screamed inside the Capitol that day.

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