According to Mandel, lawmakers should create a new commission “to study the widespread election abuses and cheating during the 2020 election. And to ensure that the future elections in America are fair and secure. The 2020 election was a total mess riddled with fraud, cheating, and mismanagement. I believe the 2020 election was stolen from President Trump,” he said in a phone interview with the Washington Examiner on Thursday.
As envisioned by Mandel, such a commission would examine three aspects of the election that were vastly changed across the country to contend with health concerns associated with the coronavirus pandemic. A press release from his campaign calls for an investigation into: “voting laws [that] were changed on the fly or ignored under the guise of ‘public health,’” voters receiving unsolicited ballots in the mail, and the use of drop boxes.
Josh Mandel. (AP Photo/Phil Long, File)
Mandel, who identifies himself on social media as the first statewide official in Ohio to support former President Donald Trump, likely won't make much headway with his 2020 election commission alternative in a Congress controlled by Democrats. Still, he isn't waiting to find out. The 43-year-old Marine Corps veteran and former Ohio treasurer is making recommendations on how to improve election security.
His campaign press release recommends officials require voter identification, enforce signature verification on absentee ballots, prohibit unsecured drop boxes, and prevent ballot harvesting by only mailing ballots to people who requested them.
“It’s time for a real investigation into the 2020 Election issues and how we can prevent them from happening in the future,” Mandel said in a statement. “The election last year was a total mess: states changed voting laws at the last minute, mailed out unsolicited ballots, used unsecured ballot drop boxes that lacked chain of custody, just to name a few of the major issues. There is nothing more sacred than the right to vote, and we need to ensure that every vote is counted fairly and accurately.”
He also isn't keeping an open mind about the results of his proposed commission.
“I'm confident that the results of the commission's investigation of the 2020 election will prove what we all already know that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election,” Mandel told the Washington Examiner when asked about whether he would accept the results of his own commission if it were to confirm President Joe Biden's electoral victory.
Mandel recently traveled to Arizona to observe the GOP-controlled state Senate's controversial 2020 election audit in Maricopa County and has advocated for other battleground states Biden won to begin copycat reviews.
Following the 2020 election, which Biden won with 306 electoral votes, Trump and his allies filed legal challenges to the results in several states. These were roundly dismissed by the courts, but the former president continually asserts that the contest was rigged somehow.
Federal, state, and local election officials, including Republicans, have insisted the November election was secure, and there is no evidence of widespread fraud. This includes government agencies such as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which released a statement in November that said the presidential election was “the most secure in American history.” This statement echoed then-Attorney General William Barr, who said the Justice Department had not “seen fraud on a scale that could have affected a different outcome in the election.”
Trump and his allies still claim the contest was stolen. Some take issue with pandemic-focused changes to the voting process last year, including widespread mail-in voting they say was ripe for fraud and, in some cases, was not constitutional without approval from state legislatures and Congress.
The findings of the Maricopa County audit, which includes a hand recount and inspection of the ballots, are expected to be released in a report later this summer.
During a previous interview with the Washington Examiner regarding his trip to Arizona, Mandel said he believes the audit will show Trump won the election in Arizona. When pressed as to whether he saw evidence to support that conclusion, he said, “You asked my opinion.”
The former president, who maintains he won the election and hasn't conceded the November presidential election, has not made an endorsement in Ohio's Senate race in 2022. Mandel faces tough competition in the primary, going up against the likes of former state GOP Chair Jane Timken.
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Original Author: Mike Brest
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