Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy offered no evidence to back up his wild conspiracy theory about why Republicans lost so badly in 2018.
On Friday morning, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy provided no evidence to back up his claim of election fraud in California while giving a misleading press conference lamenting how badly Republicans lost in the 2018 midterm elections.
During a press conference from a Republican retreat in Baltimore, McCarthy began his discussion about California voting laws by lying about California voting laws.
McCarthy correctly stated that many people in California vote by mail. Voters who mail in their ballot must sign the envelopes. But McCarthy gives a wildly misleading statement about new election laws in the state.
"In California, they changed the election law," McCarthy said. "When it went in to the election office, your ballot didn't count yet," he added, noting election officials check the signature against a signature on file to ensure they match.
"They took that all away. No longer do you have to sign it, and people can come to your door and pick your ballot up, whether it's filled out or not."
That's not true. In September 2018, Gov. Brown signed the Every Vote Counts Act into law. This law "provides voters an opportunity to correct or verify signature mismatches on their vote-by-mail ballots," according to the governor's office. Rather than having ballots thrown away if signatures are missing or don't match exactly, election officials are required to contact voters and provide an opportunity for them to address the issue.
"For many voters, signatures may change over time or disabilities may make it difficult to sign the ballot properly," Alex Padilla, the Secretary of State, said at the time.
McCarthy then launched into a conspiracy theory, insinuating California Democrats somehow engaged in election fraud when seven of California's 14 Republican House members lost their seats in 2018.
"Even in a case like [former Rep.] David Valadao, where the day after the election he was ahead by six percentage points. Three weeks later, he'd lost by less than 900 votes." Voters fired Valadao and chose to have T.J. Cox represent them instead.
McCarthy also insinuated something was amiss in another California race where Republican nominee Young Kim lost to Democrat Rep. Gil Cisneros.
"Not only did [Kim] win on Election Day, she comes in and starts new member orientation. We find a few weeks later that yes, it changed," he said.
Again, McCarthy is insinuating some sort of malfeasance rather than election officials simply following the law and counting all the ballots from every voter. His remarks mirror similarly false allegations of election fraud by former Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA), former Speaker Paul Ryan, and Donald Trump.
In California, residents who vote by mail are allowed to drop their ballot in the mail up to (and including) Election Day. As a result, many ballots are not and can not be counted until several days or even weeks after Election Day. McCarthy, who represents a district in California, is well aware of this fact.
Yet by bringing up preliminary vote totals before all voters had a chance to be heard, he seems to want to silence Californians who chose to vote by mail in the final days of the 2018 election. He gives no evidence that any type of election fraud took place, and California officials have not identified any sort of widespread fraud.
In the 2018 elections, there was one area where massive election fraud took place — and it was Republican operatives in North Carolina who allegedly collected ballots that had not been filled in and filled them in for the Republican candidate. The fraud was so pervasive that the North Carolina Board of Elections refused to certify the results and then called for a do-over election.
McCarthy provided no such evidence while lamenting the losses of Republicans in California. Instead, he gave false information about California voting laws and seemed to support suppressing the will of voters who opted to mail in their ballots rather than go to a polling location on Election Day.
Rather than just accept the fact that voters rejected half of California's Republican delegation in 2018, McCarthy chose to spread wild conspiracy theories instead.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.