Paul Ryan Suggests Without Evidence, But Does Not Directly Say, There’s Wrongdoing in California’s Late Vote Counting

The Fix:

Outgoing Speaker of House Paul D. Ryan suggested Thursday that the stream of post-Election Day Republican losses in California were suspect at best, piling on to growing claims from the right that the way the state counts ballots is somehow improper.

“It defies logic to me,” Ryan said in a wide-ranging interview with Washington Post reporter Paul Kane. “We had a lot of wins that night and three weeks later we lost basically every contested California race. This election system they have, I can’t begin to understand what ballot harvesting is.”

Ryan stopped short of accusing the state of any wrongdoing, but called the system there “bizarre.”

“I just think it’s weird,” he said when pressed by Kane at a Washington Post Live event.

Alex Padilla, California’s secretary of state, tweeted Thursday afternoon to rebuke Ryan…

Since those votes were counted, Democrats flipped six seats and appear on their way to taking a seventh. One of those losing Republicans, Rep. Jeff Denham, told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this week that California needed to revisit its election laws because it’s “statistically impossible” that all six seats that Republicans were winning on Election Night flipped weeks later once provisional ballots were counted.

In California, most of the outstanding ballots in question were ones sent by mail and received on or after Election Day. But there were also many so-called “provisional ballots,” which are ones submitted when voters show up at the wrong polling place or their name isn’t on the rolls and are allowed to still fill out a ballot to be counted later. California also allows for same-day registration, which means a lot of back-end verification that takes time.


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