SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Republican gubernatorial hopeful Larry Elder is already claiming election fraud. He has been directing his followers to the website stopcafraud.com, which makes a number of recall election claims. It all comes before the ballots have even been counted.
Ron Nehring is the former chairman of the California Republican Party. He addressed Larry Elder’s fraud claims.
“He is asserting, before the polls have even closed, that the election result is known, and the election has been stolen. He is asserting that through a website which he links to from his campaign website,” said Nehring. “And how someone can assert that they know the results of the election before the polls have even closed is truly bizarre.”
He said claims of election fraud hurts everyone, including Republicans.
“If you’ve convinced yourself the election is stolen when it hasn’t been, then you rob yourself of the opportunity to run that better campaign next time because you’ve created an excuse. ‘Well, we only lost because the election was stolen’ - even though there’s no evidence of that,” Nehring explained.
He emphasized that he’s not against the recall.
“I’ve been a strong supporter of this recall from the beginning. I think Gavin Newsom’s a failed governor. But we have to put forward a better alternative. And that’s why I’m supporting Kevn Faulconer,” Nehring said.
One of the claims on stopcafraud.com is “Statistical analyses used to detect fraud in elections held in 3rd-world nations have detected fraud in California resulting in Governor Gavin Newsom being reinstated as governor. The primary analytical tool used was Benford’s Law and can be readily reproduced.”
Jen Golbeck is a professor of Information Studies at the University of Maryland. She also happens to be an expert on Benford’s Law.
“It’s complete nonsense for so many reasons. The most important is you don’t have your vote counts yet in California and Benford’s Law is an analysis of numbers. So you don’t even have numbers at this point that they could have analyzed,” Golbeck explained.
She said Benford’s Law is an ineffective tool for analyzing elections.
“We know both from mathematical principals and from decades of research that you can’t just look at that first digit of election totals and apply Benford’s Law and find any fraud. It simply doesn’t work.”
Kim Nalder, professor of political science at Sacramento State University, also weighed in.
“This is so harmful because it really undermines people’s trust in the system,” said Nalder.
She says elections officials work really hard to ensure every eligible person gets the chance to vote.
“If you think about the evacuations during the Caldor Fire for example, election officials in El Dorado County actually went to the evacuation centers to set up temporary voting spaces,” Nalder explained.
She said claims of fraud in this particular election is particularly absurd.
“This is just a cobalt blue state. There are double the number of Democrats in the state as Republicans, and our independents tend to lean to the left too,” Nalder said.