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Politics & Government

Idaho election officials reject fraud claims after hand recounts

election, voting, vote, ballot
James Dawson
/
Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s top election officials are refuting claims that the results of the 2020 presidential race were rigged in the state, conducting recounts in two counties within the past week.

The Idaho Secretary of State’s office said it recently investigated claims that votes cast for former President Donald Trump were electronically switched for President Joe Biden. Trump won Idaho with nearly 64% of the vote.

The assertions from MyPillow CEO and Trump ally Mike Lindell, dubbed “The Big Lie," have been found to be baseless in other states. They raised red flags for Idaho state officials.

“There’s illogical arguments that are made and they’re made on such a blanket level, it’s almost impossible to comprehend how something like that could be pulled off,” said Chief Deputy Secretary of State Chad Houck.

For example, at least seven of Idaho’s counties, which run their own elections, have no electronic components to their vote counting process. And no voting machine certified for use in Idaho can be connected to the internet or accessed remotely over something like Bluetooth.

“That was a huge red flag, and one we knew we could either prove or disprove fairly directly,” Houck said.

All votes in the state are also recorded on paper to preserve an audit trail.

The secretary of state’s office conducted hand recounts in Butte and Camas counties last week. They found a 10-vote discrepancy in the two counties – well short of Lindell’s claims of 116 and 54 votes respectfully that supposedly swapped to Biden.

Another partial recount is set for Bonner County Saturday.

Houck said the secretary of state’s office is happy to investigate claims of election fraud or irregularities if there’s evidence supporting them.

In a radio interview with Nate Shelman on 670 KBOI Wednesday, Houck said “The Big Lie” more accurately describes its assertions than those that mass election fraud occurred in every state in the country.

“It seems to be kind of endemic of a statement right now that’s always floating around and it’s that everybody knows that everything’s wrong or all these absolute statements that keep coming out,” he said in an interview with Boise State Public Radio.

Houck estimates the recounts to have cost a few thousand dollars. The Idaho Secretary of State’s Office paid for those with federal money awarded to carry out the 2020 election.

In a statement, Idaho Democratic Party Chairman Fred Cornforth said, “Today’s report affirms that Idaho’s elections are safe and secure – something most Idahoans have known from the beginning.”

Cornforth blamed the investigation on “a small number of people from outside our state hoping to spread disinformation and doubt in our electoral process.”

Houck said his office received emails and phone calls from both groups and individuals about the debunked assertions. Election officials also independently found the claims online.

Bonner County Clerk Michael Rosedale volunteered for Saturday’s review, which will look for 2,244 allegedly fraudulent votes.

“If I have something wrong, I want to know about it,” Rosedale said. “If I don’t, I want that exposed too.”

Boise State Public Radio reached out to Lindell for comment, but didn't immediately receive a reply.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

Copyright 2021 Boise State Public Radio