Republicans apparently think only votes for Trump are legal

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Even Fox News hosts are pointing out they are wrong.

Members of Donald Trump's campaign and Republican officials have doubled down on dubious distinctions between "legal" and "illegal" votes as the election outcome remains unclear.

"IF YOU COUNT THE LEGAL VOTES, I EASILY WIN THE ELECTION!" Trump wrote on Thursday in an official statement. "IF YOU COUNT THE ILLEGAL AND LATE VOTES, THEY CAN STEAL THE ELECTION FROM US!"

Though 22 states and the District of Columbia allow for the counting of ballots postmarked before Election Day that arrive after Election Day, many Trump campaign staffers and Republican legislators have similarly cried fraud — in the absence of any evidence.

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Trump senior adviser Jason Miller during a press call on Thursday stated that the campaign has established a presence in major contested states with an eye on the election's outcome.

"We do have people that are on the ground and fighting to make sure that legal ballots are all counted and illegal ballots are not counted," he said.

In a Fox News interview Wednesday night, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also argued that validly cast mail-in ballots were somehow illegal.

"We believe the American people deserve answers, which is why we are in court currently fighting in Pennsylvania," said McEnany. "They want to count ballots that come in three days after. We have election days in this country for a reason, because votes are counted on Election Day."

Host Martha MacCallum pointed out that mail-in ballots and absentee ballots arrive every year after Election Day and are perfectly legal.

"Even if they voted on Nov. 3 in Pennsylvania because they were told that that was OK to do, you're going to throw their — toss their ballot out if it doesn't come in until the day after or two days after?” MacCallum asked McEnany.

McEnany said she believed every vote on Election Day should be counted.

"But it's those that arrive after the Election Day that we are fighting," she added.

Also on Wednesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted a rallying cry.

"Republicans are fighting to make sure that every LEGAL vote is counted accurately," he wrote.

On Thursday, Trump campaign official Ric Grenell tweeted demanding "transparency" from the state of Nevada — and no more counting of supposedly "illegal" ballots.

"We just finished a press conference announcing a federal lawsuit to stop counting illegal ballots in Nevada," he said. "Clark County officials must start answering questions as to why. We demand transparency."

Also on Thursday, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee railed against "illegal ballots" on Twitter, by which he presumably meant ones cast for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

"As Americans, we want all ballots to be verified as legal and then counted. Illegal ballots should NOT be counted as that robs legal voters of THEIR vote," tweeted Huckabee.

Former Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway appeared on "Fox & Friends" Thursday morning and urged patience.

"Let's be patient, let's take a deep breath," she said. "Let's count every legal vote. I think it's a time to be methodical and not emotional."

Rep. Andy Briggs (R-AZ) tweeted Thursday that "every legal vote should be counted in our elections."

"Nothing more, nothing less," he wrote. "The integrity of our elections is on the line, and Americans need maximum transparency and accountability from state and local officials."

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) also expressed vague concerns about "illegal" votes being counted.

"Every legal vote should be counted - OPENLY & according to election laws," he tweeted Thursday morning. "With so much at stake, every American should insist election laws be followed. Vote counting should not be conducted in secret, behind closed doors. @realDonaldTrump suing for transparency/following law."

And Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) seemed incensed at the possibility that Biden might be an "illegal" president.

"It's in GOP's AND Dems' interest to make sure this election is conducted legally and without fraud," he tweeted early Thursday. "We don't want Biden to forever have an asterisk next to his name & his legacy remembered as an 'illegal president.' That would be terrible for our country! Count every LEGAL vote!"

False accusations of voter fraud are nothing new for the GOP.

Trump in particular has spread lies about the election process on social media for months, made up false claims about widespread mail-in voter fraud, and attempted to stop votes from being counted — long before the election.

But as of yet, the GOP has offered no explanation or evidence to support their vague threats of an "illegal ballot" bogeyman.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.