SACRAMENT (AP) Californians voted Tuesday to keep Governor Gavin Newsom in office, ending a statewide recall election in which some Republicans again voiced unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud.
Days before the polls closed, the campaign of one of the leading Republican candidates promoted a website urging people to sign a petition declaring that Newsom had already won because of voter fraud. That language was removed from a petition circulated to aid efforts by former President Donald Trump to smash last year’s presidential election results.
On Tuesday afternoon, that language was removed from the website, leaving only a form for people to report “improperties, interference, or intimidation during voting.” A spokesperson for Elder said the website is operated by a third party and “always updates their website’s language”.
The Elder did not re-raise such allegations Tuesday night, quickly conceding the race and urging supporters who booed to “be gentle with defeat.”
Allegations of fraud from both the Elder and former President Donald Trump led to Newsom being scolded during his election night victory speech.
“Democracy is not football. You don’t throw it around,” Newsom said. “More, I don’t know, like an antique vase. You can drop it and smash it into a million different pieces. That’s what we can do if we don’t stand up and step back to meet the moment.”
There were several reported issues with voting on Tuesday. A polling station in Tulare County was closed due to fire, and voters were diverted to nearby alternatives. According to the Los Angeles County Record Office, a poll worker at a West Hollywood polling place was fired for wearing a pro-Trump shirt.
Some people who showed up in the Woodland Hills neighborhood last weekend said they were told they had already voted, and the Census Bureau said it was due to settings on some computers used to check voters. The office said those affected are allowed. to cast a provisional voteacts as a placeholder until voter eligibility is determined. Similarly, a Newsmax reporter tweeted on Tuesday that she was told she was voting at a ballot box in Orange County. The district governor said he could not comment on this case, but anecdotally it was “only a few” and often had an explanation. He was also allowed to vote provisionally.
Some Republicans worried that allegations of fraud by some party leaders could stifle participation. Harmeet Dhillon, a national committee member and attorney for the California Republican National Committee, said she and her husband filmed a video of them using the ballot box by mail and urged everyone to do the same.
But Dhillon said he couldn’t say whether the election in California would be safe, and that he and a team of lawyers monitoring the vote witnessed dozens of issues.
“After this election, there will be a lot of questions and potentially lawsuits about people’s sloppy treatment of ballots at best and their voting rights,” Dhillon said.
The GOP’s stalemate was similar to last year’s presidential election, where many in the party feared that Trump’s widespread allegations of fraud stemming from the extended mail-in votes would backfire by convincing 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 equal to Republicans, but tend to vote for Democrats. Republicans have not won a statewide office since 2006, when Arnold Schwarzenegger was re-elected as governor.
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