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Not a scrap of evidence has emerged to support Josh Mandel’s assertion of a stolen election.
Multiple investigations in six key states — including reviews ordered by Republicans — have found isolated incidents of fraud, but nothing that comes close to being large enough to have changed the outcome.
Josh Mandel faces at least five competitors for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in Ohio. He aims to win by being the most pro-Donald Trump candidate in the field.
Mandel made his MAGA credentials the centerpiece of his speech in Florida at the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual go-to gathering of the Republican base.
"I'm the only candidate in Ohio who's willing to say this, and I want to say it to all of you very clearly," Mandel said Feb. 25. "I believe this election was stolen from Donald J.Trump."
Mandel’s words drew a long cheer.
Few presidential elections have been as thoroughly vetted, audited and reexamined as the one in 2020, when Democratic candidate Joe Biden beat Trump.
Not a scrap of evidence has emerged to support Mandel’s assertion of a stolen election.
The Associated Press published one of the most sweeping investigations into voter fraud cases around the country in December 2021, contacting more than 300 local election offices as well as state officials. The AP found fewer than 475 voter fraud cases in six battleground states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
The disputed ballots represent 0.15% of Biden’s victory margin in those states, the AP found.
The AP concluded that most of the cases involved lone actors — and no evidence of "rigging" or collusion. Some cases involved people who sought to cast a ballot on behalf of a dead relative. In Nevada, for example, Donald Kirk Hartle told a TV station that someone cast a ballot in his dead wife’s name, but Hartle himself later pleaded guilty.
Other cases of disputed ballots were a result of administrative error or voter confusion. One Wisconsin man who was on parole for a drunk driving felony told the AP he voted after asking poll workers if it was OK. It wasn’t.
Arizona officials investigated the largest number of disputed votes — 198 out of 3.4 million cast, the AP found. Only nine resulted in charges.
Here’s a sample of other reviews that confirmed Biden’s victory:
Arizona: State Senate Republicans ordered a review of 2 million ballots in Maricopa County that ultimately upheld the finding that Biden beat Trump.
Michigan: An investigation led by Michigan Republican lawmakers found no basis for claims that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election.
Wisconsin: A conservative group found no evidence of widespread fraud and nothing suspicious about turnout or the timing of the vote tally.
Georgia: Trump said thousands of dead people voted, but investigators found just four absentee ballots from Georgia voters who had died, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported in December. All were returned by relatives. Georgia conducted multiple recounts, including one by hand.
"Law enforcement has had a year to investigate and nothing has been identified that would come close to changing any outcome," Trey Grayson, a Republican and former Kentucky secretary of state, previously told PolitiFact. "It is not accurate to say that there were zero incidents of fraud. But there is no evidence showing that anything would change or that anything was rigged."
Mandel also said that Trump’s 8-point margin of victory in Ohio was an undercount. He provided no evidence, and the number of questionable ballots — some of them for Trump — are less than 100 in an election with about 5.9 million votes.
We reached out to the Mandel campaign and did not hear back.
Mandel said that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump.
Multiple investigations in six key states that Trump lost uncovered scant cases of fraud, and nothing on the scale needed to have changed the outcome.
We rate this claim Pants on Fire!
Twitter, Mandel CPAC speech, Feb. 25, 2022
AP, Far too little vote fraud to tip election to Trump, AP finds, Dec. 14, 2021
Texas Tribune, First part of Texas’ 2020 election audit reveals few issues, echoes findings from review processes already in place, Dec. 31, 2021
Nevada Independent, Clark County man pleads guilty to voting more than once in 2020 election, Nov. 15, 2021
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Conservative group finds no signs of widespread voter fraud in Wisconsin but urges changes to election processes, Dec. 7, 2021
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Auditors find voting machines work properly, say election officials should adopt formal rules on drop boxes, Oct. 22, 2021
Bloomberg Government, Sparse Voter-Fraud Cases Undercut Claims of Widespread Abuses, July 21, 2021
AP, 3 voters from The Villages charged with voting fraud, Dec. 15, 2021
Heritage Foundation, A Sampling of Recent Election Fraud Cases from Across the United States, Accessed Jan. 5, 2022
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Alleged ‘dead’ Georgia voters found alive and well after 2020 election, Dec. 27, 2021
ABC8 News, 4th resident of Florida retirement haven The Villages arrested for voter fraud, Jan. 5, 2022
CNN, Fact-checking the first two days of CPAC, Fab. 26, 2022
PolitiFact, The facts of a fair US election have only gotten stronger since Capitol attack, Jan. 6, 2022
Email interview, Trey Grayson member, Frost Brown Todd LLC, Managing Director, CivicPoint, and former Kentucky Secretary of State, Jan. 5, 2022
Email interview, Matthew Weil, director, Elections Project | Bipartisan Policy Center, Jan. 5, 2022
Telephone interview, Benny White, Pima County Election Integrity Commission, Jan. 22, 2022
Email interview, Barry C. Burden, political science professor and director, Elections Research Center University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jan. 5, 2022
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