A Democrat who led the Jan. 6 panel’s attacks on former President Donald Trump’s claims of election fraud cast doubt herself on Ohio’s 2004 presidential election and demanded that state officials investigate reports of voting machine irregularities.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, California Democrat, wrote Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell following the 2004 election expressing concern about “a troubled portrait of a one-two push that may have well altered and suppressed votes.”
In that race, Republican President George W. Bush defeated then-Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, but Ms. Lofgren and some House Judiciary Committee colleagues demanded rebuttal of anecdotal allegations that machines were switching votes.
“In Mahoning County, numerous voters reported that when they attempted to vote for John Kerry, the vote showed up as a vote for George Bush,” the lawmakers wrote. “This was reported by numerous voters and continued despite numerous attempts to correct their vote.”
Mr. Bush won Ohio by almost 120,000 votes, a far greater margin than any non-conspiratorial technical glitches could have affected.
Mr. Blackwell, a Republican who also served as the co-chair of Mr. Bush’s campaign, dismissed reports of voting irregularities and declined an invitation to attend a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Ohio’s vote held a month after the election.
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The Democratic minority on the Judiciary Committee later released a report concluding that “given the lack of cooperation we have received from the Secretary of State’s office, it is difficult for us to ascertain whether the glitches were the result of mistake, negligence, or intentional misconduct.”
The lawmakers also concluded in the report that they believed there were “ample grounds for challenging the electors from Ohio as being unlawfully reported.”
One senator and 31 House members voted not to certify Ohio’s Electoral College votes over the dispute, only the second time in U.S. history that this had happened to a state’s entire slate of voters.
Ms. Lofgren herself did not cast a vote either way.
Since the House Jan. 6 Committee was formed, Republicans contend that the Democrat-led panel was shaping the events of Jan. 6 into a political weapon and ignored its own members’ actions against the legitimacy of election outcomes.
“This is more evidence of the double standard imposed by socialist Democrats,” Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the Conservative Political Action Conference and the American Conservative Union said in a statement. “The same people that questioned election results will call you treasonous for doing just that.”
Ms. Lofgren’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Democrats insist the sole aim of the probe is to uncover the truth about what led to the Capitol riot to ensure a similar event never takes place again.
In Monday’s hearing, Ms. Lofgren built the case that Mr. Trump knowingly peddled false claims that the election was stolen against the advice of several campaign advisers and administration officials.
Key among Mr. Trump‘s grievances following the election was his distrust of voting machines, which some of his supporters have alleged were made vulnerable by their ability to connect to the internet.
In a 12-page rebuttal late Monday, Mr. Trump made it clear that he stands by his claims of election fraud, which have never stood up in any of the numerous court cases he and his proxies have filed.
In his statement, Mr. Trump accused detractors of participating in a “weird disinformation campaign waged immediately following the Election to dispel the belief that machines were connected to the internet, despite the fact that it was true.”
“Why all the hype from election officials across the country trying to convince the public the machines were not connected to the internet when they knew that they were?” Mr. Trump wrote.
• Joseph Clark can be reached at email@example.com.
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