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Trump’s fraud claims an insult to millions of voters and thousands of elections officials around the country | COMMENTARY

Maryland voters wait to fill out ballots shortly after the opening of a voting location on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3.
Maryland voters wait to fill out ballots shortly after the opening of a voting location on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3. (Brian Krista/Baltimore Sun Media Group)

You would think lawyers representing the lame duck president in lawsuits over the election would be familiar with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, specifically Rule 11, where it says this: “An attorney certifies that to the best of the person’s knowledge [a pleading] is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of litigation … [and that] the factual contentions have evidentiary support.”

I thought Republicans believed there was too much litigation in this country. (Oh, right, that’s before the party went all-in with Donald Trump.) You’d think attorneys representing the Republican president would be aware of federal and state sanctions for bringing frivolous lawsuits.

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But, of course, some lawyers are rainmakers, and there’s a monsoon of litigation in Donald Trump’s ego.

So the president continues to damage American democracy with scorched-earth claims that the election was stolen when there’s no evidence of anything foul enough and widespread enough to change the results.

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And his accomplices are not just paid counsel.

He also has the disingenuous Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, backing him up. McConnell claims that Trump has every right to challenge the results of his overwhelming defeat, even if there’s no evidence of problems. McConnell had the gall to say there was nothing unusual about that, and nothing to be alarmed about, knowing full well that Trump has taken us into dark waters.

With the exception of the 2000 election, Americans have seen the national press report voting results from the states, with one candidate victorious, the other conceding defeat, usually all in one night. The big difference this year was the delay because of mail-in voting.

When Joe Biden was clearly the winner, Trump should have conceded. Instead, he makes whine from the sour grapes of wrath, and Republicans, including Maryland Rep. Andy Harris, support him. An email Thursday from the Montgomery County Republican Party said, “We indeed will have a winner when the time is right.”

The time was right last Saturday.

The lack of concession by the incumbent, the frivolous lawsuits and the comfort rendered by Trump’s Republican enablers — all of that is insulting to the millions of Americans on all sides of the political spectrum who voted in the 2020 election. I’ll be more specific: It’s an insult to the thousands of men and women who give their time and diligence to seeing that our elections in cities and counties across the land are fair, honest and clean.

That includes Maryland.

After Sen. Lindsey Graham’s nonsense — “If Republicans don’t challenge and change the U.S. election system, there will never be another Republican president elected again” — my vote for the most overwrought statement of this election year goes to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who called June’s primary “an unmitigated disaster.”

It wasn’t a disaster. If anything, considering the circumstances — a pandemic that caused the election to be moved from April to June and to be conducted primarily by mail — it was a mitigated success.

There were problems getting mail-in ballots to all registered voters, but, in the end, voter participation was strong, particularly in Baltimore and in Kent, Charles and Prince George’s counties. In six jurisdictions, turnout was higher than in the presidential primary of 2016. More than 1.5 million Marylanders voted in June, the vast majority opting to use mail-in ballots.

And despite Hogan’s overwrought criticism of the primary — and despite his lieutenant governor’s call for the resignation of the state’s elections administrator, Linda Lamone — the general election went even better.

And that’s also despite Hogan demanding something that went against past and best practices — that elections officials change the voting model they used in June to a different one for November.

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The governor insisted that, instead of mailing ballots to all registered voters, the state send out requests for absentee ballots. So voters had to go an extra step to get a ballot — Republicans everywhere like to make voting harder than it has to be — and Lamone, the state board and the local boards scrambled to adjust.

There was early voting and Election Day voting at polling centers rather than at the many localized polling places we’re used to. And the ballots were customized by precinct, which meant a lot more paper at the polling sites for election judges to handle. In Baltimore County polling centers, more than 200 distinct ballots were on hand.

In the end, what happened? We had a massive turnout, with about half the voters using mailed ballots and half showing up at the polls. Of those who opted for mail-in ballots, Lamone says, two-thirds used local drop-off ballot boxes instead of the Postal Service.

There were few glitches, but, going into the voting weeks, plenty of stress. “There was no way to predict how people would choose to vote,” Lamone says. “It was a challenge for our staff and the local boards to plan for any possibility.”

In the end, she says, “The local boards did a fabulous job.”

By either mail-in ballots or early voting, more than 2.2 million Marylanders had exercised their beautiful right before Election Day. The final turnout tally will be more than 3 million; that’s about three out of four eligible voters. And, as in all other states, as in all other recent elections, there was no evidence of anything foul enough and widespread enough to change the results.

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