Unsettled by last week’s Congressional elections, Donald Trump and his allies make unsupported allegations of voter fraud — in part to cover up possible voter suppression in races still to be decided.
Democrats have claimed a 227-199 majority in the House of Representatives. They have taken 32 seats from the Republicans, and likely to win several of the nine outstanding contests.
The GOP clung to a majority with a more favorable battleground in the Senate, leading 51-46 with three votes still in the balance. However, their consolation has been dented by the loss of races that they initially claimed as victories: the Democrats have held Montana and are almost certain to take over in Arizona.
That has doubled the focus on Florida, where there are hand recounts for both the Senate and the Governor’s races. The Georgia governor’s contest, where Democrat Stacey Abrams is hoping to become the first African-American woman to lead a state, is also in a recount.
As GOP leads narrowed in the three contests, Trump began to misrepresent the counting of absentee, military, and provisional ballots as a Democrat attempt at fraud. As the Florida recounts were announced on Saturday, he shouted:
Trying to STEAL two big elections in Florida! We are watching closely!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2018
Senator Lindsey Graham, a prominent Trump ally, invoked the disputed confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh — accused of sexual assault by three women — to stir up Republicans:
Whether it was setting aside the presumption of innocence for Judge Kavanaugh or ignoring Florida election laws, liberals in Washington and Florida are seeking an outcome.
The Law be Damned!
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) November 9, 2018
Whipped up by Trump’s camp and by Florida’s GOP Senate candidate Rick Scott — who said on Thursday, without evidence, that “left-wing activists in Broward County” are trying to seize the vote for Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson — demonstrators gathered as workers tried to finish an initial count before a noon deadline on Saturday. They chanted “lock her up” at Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes.
Florida’s Department of State, run by a Scott appointee, said it has received “no allegation of criminal activity” and repeated on Saturday that two internal observers had “seen no evidence of criminal activity”. But Scott’s campaign maintained its tactics, “encouraging every Florida Sheriff to watch for any violations and take appropriate action”.
The “voter fraud” cries have tried to overtake concerns about voter suppression, mainly of people of color in Georgia and Florida,
In Georgia, GOP candidate Brian Kemp retained his Secretary of State post, supervising voter registration and operations, throughout the election day. He is accused of removing hundreds of thousands of voters from the electoral roll. Others said that their votes had not been counted, and polling stations in Democrat-heavy districts did not open for hours on Tuesday.
In Florida, Democrats are challenging a “signature match” process for validating vote-by-mail ballots. Critics say the procedure leads to arbitrary removal of voters.
Trump Cancels Visit to US Military Cemetery in France
Donald Trump cancels a visit to a US military cemetery in France, on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
Trump was scheduled to attend a ceremony at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery at Belleau Wood, outside Paris, following his morning meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.
The White House said a light rain had grounded the Presidential helicopter. A delegation that included White House Chief of Staff John Kelly went in Trump’s place.
The White House did not explain how Kelly was able to travel to the cemetery, or how Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended ceremonies.
Macron posted a photo of himself and Merkel at the cemetery at Compeigne, writing simply, “United”.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) November 10, 2018