Officials Nationwide Say There's No Evidence of Voter Fraud, Despite Trump's Claims
President-elect Joe Biden called Trump's refusal to concede "an embarrassment"
Voting totals this week show President-elect Joe Biden has defeated President Donald Trump by at least 290-217 electoral votes and more than five million more votes nationwide, according to the Associated Press.
But Trump, 74, has refused to concede his loss to Biden, 77, and has instead stood behind baseless claims that the election results are “fraudulent” — an assertion that’s so far been made without proof and has been rejected by officials in nearly every state, including both Democrats and Republicans running the U.S. election, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.
Some of the Trump campaign’s ongoing legal challenges against the results have already been dismissed for lacking evidence, as well.
The president’s lawyers have suits ongoing in Pennsylvania while the campaign’s long-shot efforts have in recent days been struck down in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan and Nevada.
Rick Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine, described the president’s strategy as a series of “Hail Mary plays” and told PEOPLE last week they were “very unlikely” to prove successful.
“Even if lawsuits continue,” Hasen said. “I don’t think they would have much chance of affecting the election outcome or slowing certification, unless some new problems come to light.”
Ohio’s Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican who oversees the state’s elections, told the Times “there’s a great human capacity for inventing things that aren’t true about elections.”
“The conspiracy theories and rumors and all those things run rampant,” said LaRose, 41. “For some reason, elections breed that type of mythology.”
The Times called election officials from every state to ask about election fraud; the paper said it spoke with elections representatives from 45 states and some kind of official in nearly all of them. Their assessments were unanimous: No widespread fraud took place in 2020, though Trump has argued without evidence that it did.
After a judge dismissed the Trump campaign’s lawsuit alleging fraud in Arizona, lawyers sought to keep the evidence they provided a secret by sealing the court documents.
The Arizona Republic reported this week that the Maricopa County judge rejected the request after attorneys for the defendants argued the public “has a right to know how flimsy Plaintiffs’ evidence actually is.”
The president’s campaign also set up a “voter fraud hotline” seeking evidence, but it has since been inundated by prank calls from comedians and social media users.
Nevertheless, Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told PEOPLE the phone line has been “proving to be very effective.”
Hasen told PEOPLE on Wednesday, “So far, everything that the Trump campaign has touted as fraud has not been proven to be so."
The Trump campaign filed another lawsuit in Michigan on Wednesday, The Detroit Free Press reported, after the campaign’s initial effort in the state was dismissed last week.
The complaint, which seeks to stop Michigan from certifying its election results, according to the Free Press, contains statements made by more than 100 people, which the campaign claims provides support for its argument that Michigan’s total includes "fraudulent or unlawfully cast ballots."
However, an analysis of the 243-page affidavit containing the 100-plus statements does not show proof of the kind of widespread widespread voter fraud the president has alleged.
While Trump’s campaign attorneys push forward with attempting to show any evidence for the president's claims, world leaders have begun calling to congratulate Biden.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whom Trump called a friend last month, referred to the outgoing incumbent on Wednesday as “the former president” and said he has congratulated Biden over the phone.
Biden has pushed forward with transition plans as he prepares his administration to take over the White House on Jan. 20.
As for Trump’s refusal to admit he lost?
“I just think it’s an embarrassment, quite frankly,” the president-elect said.