"Trump has not lost": Lindsey Graham makes unsubstantiated claims that dead people voted in election

"If we don't challenge and change the U.S. election system, there'll never be another Republican president elected"

By Roger Sollenberger
November 10, 2020 4:29AM (UTC)
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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) questions U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a Senate Foreign Relations committee hearing on the State Department's 2021 budget in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on July 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool/Getty Images)

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., urged President Donald Trump not to concede and Republicans to "keep fighting" for victory as claimed without evidence on Fox Business that dead people had voted in Pennsylvania.

To be clear, there is no evidence of substantive or widespread voter fraud. As of Sunday, the Trump campaign was 0 for 10 in its legal attempts to challenge the results of the election. Moreover, victories in recounts are virtually impossible.

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Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo kicked off her interview with Graham on Sunday by asking the senator to "tell us about the evidence you have of dead people voting."

"Number one, this is a contested election. The media doesn't decide who becomes president. If they did, you would never have a Republican president for forever. We're discounting them," Graham said, even though the media network he was appearing on had already called the presidential race for Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

"So what happened — the Trump team has canvassed all early voters with absentee mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania, and they found over 100 people they think were dead, but 15 people that we verified to have been dead who voted," Graham claimed, without providing evidence to substantiate the claims. "But here's the one that gets me: Six people registered after they died and voted in Pennsylvania. I guess you're never out of it."

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Graham, who last week promised Fox News host Sean Hannity that he would donate $500,000 to the Trump campaign's legal fund, did not specify the party affiliation of the alleged dead voters. However, the Philadelphia Inquirer was able to track down the name of a 74-year-old woman in Allegheny County who was apparently mailed a ballot on Oct. 24 — two days after she died. The elections board said the ballot was returned, and it was received on Nov. 2. It was marked "recorded," though reports said it was unclear whether that means the ballot had officially been tallied.

"My parents are not people who do voter fraud," the woman's daughter, who helped her mother fill in her ballot application before she died said. "My parents aren't people who break the law. My dad never even paid a bill late in his life."

The woman said she asked her father, who is 77, if he had returned the ballot, but he could not recall. She added that her mother did not keep up with politics, but she had planned to vote for Trump.

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The ballot was among about 350,000 cast in Allegheny County.

In the Fox interview, Graham, who won his fiercely contested Senate election handily, warned that there will "never be another Republican president elected again" if the GOP does not change the electoral system. He urged President Trump not to back down. 

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"If Republicans — if we don't challenge and change the U.S. election system, there'll never be another Republican president elected again. President Trump should not concede," he said. "We're down to less than 10,000 votes in Georgia. He's going to win North Carolina. We've gone from 93,000 votes to less than 20,000 votes in Arizona with more votes to be counted. There are allegations of system failure, fraud."

The margin in Georgia stands at little more than 10,000 votes, according to the New York Times running tally.

"John James: Do not concede," Graham continued, referring to the Republican vying to unseat Democrat incumbent Gary Peters in Michigan's senate race. "These computers in Michigan do not pass the smell test. Keep fighting for every legal and live vote."

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But a Michigan judge tossed the Trump campaign's multi-pronged lawsuit challenging the administering of the election in the state last week.

Bartiromo, who saw a tweet flagged by Twitter last week for spreading election disinformation, asked Graham about another alleged instance of voter fraud.

"You were briefed by the campaign yesterday, and one thing that we spoke about over the phone this weekend is this postal worker who has a sworn affidavit saying that supervisors were backdating ballots," she said. "What can you tell us about that?"

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"The FBI is investigating along with the postal inspector, and our committee will be talking to this gentleman. I don't know where that goes," Graham, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, responded. "But I do know that we have evidence of six people in Pennsylvania registering after they died and voting after they died, and we haven't looked at the entire system. We have to fight back, or we will accept our fate."

The allegation from the postal worker originated out of Traverse City, Mich. Local election officials dismissed it as immaterial, because Michigan only counts ballots that arrive by 8 p.m. ET on Election Day — not ones postmarked by Election Day.

"We already counted all the ballots received by 8 p.m., and they're all secured. So we're not counting any late ballots. So it doesn't even matter if they did that, because it's not going to affect anything," Bonnie Scheele, Grand Grand Traverse County Clerk, told the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

But Graham continued to undermine the reliability of the U.S. Postal Service, without evidence.

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"Explain how they died and voted. Explain the software. A lot of shenanigans going on here," he said. "I'd take all this to court. Mail-in balloting is a nightmare for us. The post office is the new election center."

A postal worker pleaded guilty this spring to election fraud after he changed party registration on a handful of ballot request cards from Democrat to Republican.

Graham concluded the interview by again declaring that the election was not over. 

"Trump has not lost," he said before making a direct plea to the president. "Do not concede, Mr. President, fight hard."

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You can watch the clip below via Fox Business


Roger Sollenberger

Roger Sollenberger is a staff writer at Salon. Follow him on Twitter @SollenbergerRC.

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