COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – The Ohio polling officer on Friday confirmed the results of a 2020 election that he said were conducted near-flawlessly despite the pandemic, and expressed concern that President Donald Trump's allegations were because of widespread fraud could undermine voter confidence in the process.
Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose's certification provided Trump with the state's 18 electoral votes, beating Democratic President-elect Joe Biden in the state by 8.03 percentage points.
Republican Governor Mike DeWine completed his end of the process soon after.
LaRose said Trump has every right to make legitimate legal claims, but it will do democracy a disservice if its challenges to the outcome prove unfounded. He said confidence in the election results was "the foundation of our way of life in a democracy".
"When people make up election conspiracies that are not based on reality, it is harmful, irresponsible and shouldn't happen," LaRose said. "Because the fact is that elections are conducted better and more honestly than I ever thought."
According to LaRose, Ohio has created an exceptional level of electoral access, breaking records with nearly 6 million votes cast and a 74% turnout that exceeds the average for the past 20 years.
Ohio cut the percentage of postal ballots disqualified for voting errors to less than half a percent this year – despite a surge in first-time voters, LaRose said. Another record was made with 94% of requested postal votes, he said.
"Regardless of whether your favorite candidates won or lost, the Ohioans can be confident that the result was accurate and honest," he said. "That's our mission. That's what we're doing here in the Foreign Minister's office, and that's what we're doing on 88 county's electoral boards."
LaRose confirmed the president's findings in an event aired on government television and broadcast live on Facebook. He pushed back on Trump's refusal to allow the election and falsely to claim that their results were riddled with fraud – albeit without naming the president.
“Abraham Lincoln said the election is the people’s choice. It was true then and it is true today, ”he said.
LaRose made this point in a subsequent interview with The Associated Press.
"I'm patient enough to allow the president to bring his evidence to court and listen to the courts, but when there is no evidence to support his claims, that's a big problem." he said. "And it really is a disservice to the electorate and to the many thousands of electoral officials who have just carried out a very challenging election."
Democratic President-elect Joe Biden lagged Trump in the state by 8.03 percentage points, which gave Trump a slightly lower profit margin in the state than four years ago with 8.13 percentage points.
After the former Vice President originally wrote off Ohio, at the eleventh hour he pushed into the state that the Democrats had admitted too late.
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