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Missouri Lawmakers React To President Trump's Unfounded Claims Of Election Fraud

President Donald J. Trump talks to members of the press along the South Lawn driveway of the White House Friday, Oct. 30, 2020, prior to boarding Marine One en route to Joint Base Andrews, Md. to begin his trip to Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
Tia Dufour
The White House
President Donald Trump talks to reporters at the White House last Friday, prior to boarding Marine One to begin his last stretch of campaign stops in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Missouri’s federal lawmakers are sounding off on President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of fraud in Tuesday’s election.

As it appears clear that he will lose to former Vice President Joe Biden, the president claimed without evidence on Thursday that there was rampant fraud in places including Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Speaking with reporters in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt said the president has the right to make legal challenges about the election. But he added Trump’s lawyers need to show specific reasons why the election wasn’t legally decided.

“Every legal vote should be counted,” said Blunt, a Republican. “You can’t stop the count in one state and decide you want the count to continue in another state. That might be how you want to let the system work, but that’s not how the system works. One thing none of us are very good at is patience.”

Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, a vocal advocate for Trump, is taking a different approach. He said he plans to introduce election integrity laws. Hawley spoke to Tucker Carlson on Fox News to provide details about his plans.

“Americans need to have confidence that their elections have integrity,” Hawley told Carlson. “That means things like poll watchers. Poll watchers from both parties need to be present as ballots are being counted. That means states need to give an accounting of how many absentee ballots they have left, how many mail-in ballots are there.”

Every state already has poll watchers from both parties present as ballots are being counted. States are also updating the public as volunteers process the record-number of ballots.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 26 states allow voters to designate someone else to return their ballot for them. Ten of those states, including Arizona, North Carolina and Michigan, allow the ballot to only be returned by a voter’s family member. Other states, including Georgia, limit the number of ballots that a designee can collect to return on behalf of voters. Volunteers or campaign workers who do collect ballots on behalf of voters can be paid an hourly wage in some states.

Some people fear third parties may tamper with the ballots or throw them out altogether. But supporters say it is intended to provide access to voting for senior citizens and people with disabilities.

“Let’s ban ballot harvesting right now,” Hawley said. “It is rife with abuse, it is inviting abuse. These are the kind of reforms that we need to pursue.”

There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the United States.

Hawley is also taking issue with Twitter and Facebook working to stop the spread of misinformation on their platforms, calling it a “Big Tech Crackdown” and claiming they are censoring Republicans. Twitter has slapped warning labels on several of Trump’s tweets after Election Day, because they include misleading or false information.

U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, has not gone as far as Hawley, but he is tweeting about concerns he has with the election process, specifically in Pennsylvania. His claims are also misleading and inaccurate.

One member of the Missouri congressional delegation taking a much dimmer view of the president's argumentations is Congressman Lacy Clay.

In a statement to St. Louis Public Radio, the University City Democrat said: “The only fraud that occurred in this election is Donald Trump’s shameful assault on our democracy and his despicable efforts to suppress the voting rights of millions of Americans of color."

"If he’s looking for fraud, he should look in the mirror,” Clay added.

Biden is currently leading in enough states to become the president-elect, should the leads hold.

Follow Jaclyn on Twitter: @NPRDriscoll

Follow Jason on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Jaclyn is the Jefferson City statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.
Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.

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