It has become very clear that there is only one possible explanation in the minds of Republican candidates who look likely to lose their elections: fraud.
Following the leads of President Donald Trump and other prominent members of the GOP who have baselessly claimed that Democrats are trying to “steal” races in Florida and Arizona by ensuring all of the votes are counted, conservatives’ conspiracy theories have made their way to the West Coast.
Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) now looks likely to lose her seat to consumer protection attorney Katie Porter (D) in Orange County’s 45th congressional district. According to the two-term Republican congresswoman, that’s because of fraud.
In an email to supporters, Walters accused Democrats of trying to “steal this Republican seat” and overturn “the will of the voters” by advocating for the counting of all votes.
Elsewhere in the former conservative stronghold of Orange County, ex-state assembly member Young Kim’s (R) lead over U.S. Navy veteran-turned lottery winner-turned philanthropist Gil Cisneros (D) has dropped to just over 100 votes in the race to fill retiring Rep. Ed Royce’s (R) seat in the 39th congressional district. Kim and her campaign have been very clear about why they believe they could now lose: fraud.
First, Kim accused her Democratic opponent’s campaign of “physical ballot tampering” even though the county registrar said no such thing happened. Then the Republican suggested that something nefarious could be afoot if she doesn’t wind up with the most votes in the race.
The Young Kim Campaign is standing up for the democratic process, the will of the majority of voters, and is emphatically committed to every legal vote being counted. pic.twitter.com/ZSqhTBr6eF
— Young Kim (@YoungKimCD39) November 12, 2018
In a pattern that continues to play out across the country with conservative claims of voter fraud, the Los Angeles Times noted there is no proof to back up the California Republicans’ claims.
Neither GOP Rep. Mimi Walters nor Republican candidate Young Kim has produced evidence to back up their charges that Democrats are trying to steal the election. County registrars of voters supervising the ballot counts said they knew of no one doing anything that would compromise the election’s integrity.
There is nothing unusual about races extending beyond Election Day, especially in California, which contains around 25 million eligible voters. It can take a while to count all of the ballots and declare a winner in a close election, especially in highly-populated areas where votes must be counted by hand or require additional verification after being sent by mail — which is the case in California, Florida, and Arizona.
But that hasn’t slowed down the GOP’s narrative.
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) was declared the winner in the Arizona Senate race for retiring Sen. Jeff Flake’s (R) seat after mail-in and provisional ballots put her ahead of Rep. Martha McSally (R) for good. In response, Trump bizarrely claimed “Electoral corruption – Call for a new Election?”
In Florida, the Senate and gubernatorial races are heading to recounts as vote-counting continues. The president has baselessly claimed Democrats there are engaging in “Election Theft” to try and “falsify a victory!”
Meanwhile, Sen. Marco Rubio (R) has been ranting on Twitter for over a week about his displeasure with ballots being counted in heavily-populated diverse areas that traditionally favor Democrats.
Gov. Rick Scott (R), who is trying to unseat Sen. Bill Nelson (D) in Florida, accused “unethical liberals” of trying to steal the race from him by insisting that all of the votes are counted. Scott, who can’t provide any actual examples of voter fraud, has lost numerous court rulings in attempts to halt vote-counting.
Though Florida, Arizona, and California have received the most attention, Republicans in other states are also attempting to stop votes from being counted.
Rep. Mia Love (R-UT), who is in a still too-close-to call race with Salt Lake City mayor Ben McAdams (D), filed a lawsuit to stop vote-counting in that state’s 4th congressional district on Wednesday.
Attorney Xochitl Torres Small (D) is projected to defeat state representative Yvette Herrell (R) to flip New Mexico’s open 2nd congressional district to Democrats. The Republican went on Fox News over the weekend to baselessly claim there were “over 100 documented complaints” of irregularities, adding, “Everybody goes to bed on Tuesday night thinking that I’ve been declared the winner, and then suddenly on Wednesday morning they start hearing that there were 8,000 ballots that came up out of nowhere.”
As CBS News noted, New Mexico’s secretary of state has “not received any complaints about any irregularities.” Despite this, Herrell, who delivered a premature victory speech on the night of the midterm elections, filed a lawsuit to impound absentee ballots in her race on Tuesday.
As ThinkProgress has previously explained, voter fraud is extremely rare.
Shark attacks and lightning strikes are more common occurrences than instances of voter fraud in which a person impersonates another voter and casts a fraudulent ballot under their name. There were just four documented cases of voter fraud in the 2016 election. Two were Trump supporters who voted for Trump twice, one was a Republican who voted for her dead husband, and the fourth was an election worker in Florida who tampered with absentee ballots.