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Tom Ridge to Trump: You’re wrong about voter fraud

“The massive fraud that people are talking about doesn’t exist and won’t exist,” Ridge said.

Tom Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor and the first secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in Erie in January.
Tom Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor and the first secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in Erie in January.Read moreAP

Tom Ridge has been a member of the U.S. House, governor of Pennsylvania, and the first secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. He has also been a Republican much longer than President Donald Trump.

Now co-chair of VoteSafe, Ridge flatly rejects Trump’s false claims that mail ballots lead to widespread fraud.

“The massive fraud that people are talking about doesn’t exist and won’t exist,” Ridge said this week, pointing to what attorney Ben Ginsberg wrote Wednesday in the Washington Post.

Ginsberg, who served as national counsel for the Republican presidential nominees in 2000, 2004, and 2012, wrote that Trump lacked “hard evidence” when he claimed systemic fraud four years ago, and still doesn’t have any to offer.

The Republican Party’s old guard is pushing back here against a president whose conspiracy theories, polls show, are already shaking the confidence of some voters.

Ginsberg also knocked Trump for suggesting during a rally in Westmoreland County last week that people should vote by mail and then “follow their ballot” to the polling place on Election Day.

“The Trump campaign is fighting to ensure every valid ballot across America counts as we work to deliver the free and fair elections Americans deserve," Trump campaign spokesperson Thea McDonald told Clout this week.

Ridge is a longtime Trump critic, calling the president’s rhetoric “disgusting” and “contemptible” in an interview with Reuters last week.

“We have the unprecedented situation of a man who took the oath of office to support the Constitution but is directly challenging the result of the election prior to the outcome,” Ridge said.

Ridge was one of 50 senior Republican national security officials who signed a letter before the 2016 election predicting Trump “would be the most reckless president in American history.”

VoteSafe, a bipartisan group pushing for safe ballot options during the coronavirus pandemic, wants Republicans and Democrats in Harrisburg to strike a deal on early processing of mail ballots before Election Day to prevent the long delays in reporting results seen in June’s primary.

The Green Party’s presidential candidate can stay on the Pa. ballot, judge says, but his running mate gets the boot

Green Party presidential candidate Howie Hawkins will remain on the Pennsylvania ballot, but his running mate, Angela Walker, must be removed, a state judge ruled late Wednesday.

Commonwealth Court Judge J. Andrew Crompton delivered that split verdict in a legal challenge with close connections to the state Democratic Party.

The challenge focused on problems with paperwork.

The Green Party on Aug. 3 filed nominating petitions for two candidates from Pennsylvania — Elizabeth Faye Scroggin for president and Neal Taylor Gale for vice president — but swapped them out a week later for Hawkins, a retired Teamster from New York, and Walker, a labor activist who drives a dump truck in South Carolina.

The party didn’t file a candidate affidavit for Gale as required by state law. Scroggin faxed her affidavit to the Pennsylvania Department of State by the deadline, but there was a delay in printing it.

» READ MORE: 5 questions that will help decide the presidential race in Pennsylvania

Larry Otter, an attorney for the Green Party, said the Democratic players in the legal case filed an appeal to the state Supreme Court on Thursday.

Andrea Merida, a Hawkins campaign spokesperson, said it’s “clear that the Democrats are not interested in stating their case to the voters; instead they engage in party suppression, which is voter suppression, to get an edge.”

The challenge was filed by Pittsburgh attorney Clifford Levine, who has done legal work for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. Levine’s clients are Paul Stefano, chair of the Lawrence County Democratic Party, and Tony Thomas, who ran as a Democrat for City Council in Wilkes-Barre last year.

Asked if the state Democratic Party was backing the challenge, Levine this week said, “They’re aware of it.” The state Democratic Party did not respond to requests for comment.

The challenge, filed last month, comes at a time when Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are competing for a shrinking pool of undecided voters. The Green Party, with about 27,000 registered voters in the state, makes up 0.3% of the electorate.

An average of polling compiled by Real Clear Politics gives Biden a 4.3% lead in Pennsylvania as of Wednesday, but that is within the margin of error for some polling.

Jill Stein, the Green Party’s 2016 presidential candidate, won almost 50,000 votes that year, or 0.8% of the ballots cast. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the state by about 44,000 votes, a margin of 0.7%.

Coming to a billboard near you: Republican Voters Against Trump

Disaffected Republicans will go public with their support of Biden on Friday with hundreds of billboards across Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Arizona.

The messages will appear on at least 130 billboards in Pennsylvania. Voters identify themselves as lifelong conservatives, Christian, anti-abortion, and veterans.

Sarah Longwell, a conservative consultant who helped found Republican Voters Against Trump, said the effort grew from an early 2018 project to hold Trump accountable

The group, with a mailing list of 300,000 voters, has already been active on television and in digital ads. Longwell said the billboards are targeted toward college-educated suburban voters, especially women.

“They know who Trump is and they don’t like him,” she said of the voters being targeted. “But they’re also not Democrats.”