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VOL. 44 | NO. 45 | Friday, November 6, 2020

Tennessee Senate Republicans question Biden's win in letter

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NASHVILLE (AP) — Tennessee's Senate Republicans declared Tuesday that the presidential election was "far from over" and announced their support of President Donald Trump's baseless accusations of fraud and voting irregularities that he says caused him to lose his reelection bid.

"We believe that, due to unprecedented mail-in voting and razor-thin margins in multiple states, the ultimate result remains uncertain," read a letter signed by the majority of the state Senate Republican members, including Senate Speaker Randy McNally.

The letter also cited what it called voter "irregularities" in a handful of critical states but did not give any examples. However, Senate Republican spokesman Adam Kleinheider later emailed The Associated Press a list of news articles and news releases that reference allegations of voting "irregularities" ranging from limits on poll watchers to possible illegal postmarks.

The letter encouraged the situation to be "thoroughly investigated" in the courts.

The Trump campaign has filed multiple lawsuits in at least five states in which Democratic President-elect Joe Biden is ahead by tens of thousands of votes.

Trump won Tennessee by more than 60% in the election.

Only three of the state Senate's 27 Republicans did not sign the letter: Brian Kelsey, Todd Gardenhire and Richard Briggs. The three live near the state's most populated cities.

The Senate Republicans' letter follows many GOP leaders who have declined to publicly accept Biden's election victory and instead echoed support for Trump's pursuit of legal challenges.

Gov. Bill Lee told reporters this week he wasn't ready to recognize Biden as the president-elect. Tennessee's U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn and Sen.-elect Bill Hagerty — both Republicans — have encouraged people to donate to Trump's legal fund in support of challenging mail-in voting results in a handful of states.

Former U.S. Sen. Bob Corker is the only prominent Republican in Tennessee to congratulate Biden on his win.

There is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election. In fact, election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the election went well and international observers confirmed there were no serious irregularities.

The issues Trump's campaign and its allies have pointed to are typical in every election: problems with signatures, secrecy envelopes and postal marks on mail-in ballots, as well as the potential for a small number of ballots to be miscast or lost. With Biden leading Trump by wide margins in key battleground states, none of those issues would have any impact on the outcome of the election.

Trump's campaign has also launched legal challenges complaining their poll watchers were unable to scrutinize the voting process. Many of those challenges have been tossed out by judges, some within hours of their filing; and again, none of the complaints show any evidence that the outcome of the election was impacted.

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