Robert Reed says he will always believe the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald Trump The retired cop turned construction worker believes the fraud tainted the vote, no matter how many courts have rejected the claim . Yet a day after the Electoral College formalized Joe Biden’s victory, Trump’s staunch supporter from suburban Lancaster, Pa., Was ready to move on.
“I think it’s pretty much over,” Reed said of Trump’s continued quest to overturn the election results. “I trust the Electoral College.”
For weeks, Trump has been on a mission to convince his loyal base that his victory has been stolen and that the contest has been rigged. With the help of the conservative media, polls show he has had considerable success. But now that the Electoral College has formalized Biden’s victory and Republican officials, including Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, finally recognize him as president-elect, many Trump voters across the country appear to be doing the same.
Interviews with voters as well as new polls of Republicans suggest that their unfounded doubts about the integrity of the vote remain. But there is much less consensus on what should be done about it and whether or not to advance this resentment.
For some, like Reed, the Electoral College vote was clearly the end of a process. Others have vowed to continue to protest with protests like the one that turned violent in Washington, DC over the weekend. And some have said they hope GOP leaders push for more investigations to dispel the doubts Trump has sown.
It was people like Scott Adams, a retiree and Trump voter living in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, who said he accepted Biden’s victory – but “with reservations.”
Adams said he had heard too many talk about irregularities in the vote count on Fox News and Conservative radio to trust the election result and didn’t think he would ever know the true margin of victory. (Biden won the Electoral College by a vote of 306 to 232.)
But Adams doesn’t think the election was rigged enough to change the outcome, although he does believe it was “rigged enough to be called into question further.” He would like to see more surveys.
Republicans across the country – from local officials to governors to Attorney General William Barr – have repeatedly said there is no evidence that mass election fraud has affected the outcome. Trump and his allies have filed a wave of lawsuits, but almost all have been dismissed by judges. The Supreme Court, which includes three Trump-appointed judges, has rejected requests to hear two cases to invalidate the election result in major battlefield states.
Yet accepting this pile of evidence has been difficult for many Trump voters. They expressed disbelief that Trump could have lost, given the huge crowds he drew to his rallies. Some said their suspicions were exacerbated by the mainstream media’s reluctance to broadcast Trump’s baseless claims. And they repeatedly pointed to the slower-than-usual vote count as evidence that something had gone wrong.
“Something is wrong here,” said Reed, who lives in East Lampeter Township.
The explanation is well known – in many states an influx of mail-in ballots, mostly cast by Democrats, was counted later than in-person ballots. Still, Reed said he believes the courts should have spent more time investigating.
“I’m still going to believe it was stolen from him.” I really can never have the peace of mind that it won’t, ”he said.
Others were less willing to accept.
“I don’t trust this result. I think the election was a fraud. I think the election was stolen. I don’t know how nobody could think that. All you have to do is watch the results, ”said Katherine Negrete, 55, a teacher in Peoria, Arizona.
Negrete is among those who are hoping Trump can win if the Supreme Court steps in (there is no indication that this will happen) or if Congress chooses to accept an “alternative list” of Trump voters from multiple states. Election experts said the system had no legal way and Republican Senate leaders discouraged it.
Still, Negrete said, “I hope Congress does the right thing” and expressed her frustration at the dwindling options.
“I don’t know what we can do about it. If we don’t have the courts to defend us, ”she said. “If we don’t have an attorney general who will stand up and say, ‘It was a mistake and we have to investigate. What are we supposed to do? Do we need to fight brother against brother? It’s crazy.
Biden has vowed to bring the Americans together and work across the aisle. Its success on both fronts may depend on how many Republicans hold on to their election grievances. A Quinnipiac University poll earlier this month found that 38% of registered voters, including 77% of Republicans, said they believed there was widespread fraud in the presidential election.
And a recent Fox News poll found that 36% of voters, including 77% of Trump voters, believe the election was stolen from Trump. However, the same poll also found that about 8 out of 10 voters in total, and about half of Trump’s voters, said they would give Biden at least one chance as president.
Matt Vereline, 52, a member of the pro-Trump group “Long Island Loud Majority” is not in the mood for reconciliation.
Vereline, who lives in Bohemia, New York, is convinced that “there was a lot more electoral fraud than we know”, although she is not sure that this changed the result. But that won’t stop him from rallying to what he thinks is an injustice. After all, that’s what Democrats did to Trump, he says.
“Didn’t they cry for four years about Russian collusion, which has not been proven? So now I’m going to cry over voter fraud for four years, ”he said. They didn’t accept it. Why should I accept Biden? I know there is nothing I can do about it. I know a rally is It won’t change the course of who gets elected president. This is what will be. But if my friends want to get together and complain about this peacefully and voice our opinions, I’m going. ”
Others think Biden won fair and square. Steve Volkman, a Republican who works in construction in Mesa, Ariz., Said he made peace with the loss of Trump weeks ago.
“I voted for Trump, but people have to get over it,” Volkman said, while leaning against his van. “Of course he (Biden) won the majority vote – a landslide. For me, it’s already over.
Catherine Templeton, a South Carolina Republican who served in former Gov. Nikki Haley’s administration, said that despite Trump’s level of support in red states like hers, she was convinced voters would be ready to accept Biden as president.
“Obviously South Carolina is supporting President Trump, but I think you’ll find that when Republicans don’t get their way, they move on,” said Templeton, who lives in Charleston. ” It is time to move on. ”
It remains to be seen, for now, how lingering concerns over the integrity of the vote will affect turnout in future elections. Both parties have focused on Georgia, where a pair of second-round elections will determine which party controls the US Senate.
Denise Adams, 50, said she doubted “questionable activity” in the general election. But she voted early Monday in Kennesaw, a suburb northwest of Atlanta.
“I don’t want to lose our freedoms,” she said, repeating the GOP’s misleading claims that Democrats are inaugurating “socialism.” “We are losing our rights and freedoms in our country.”
“I never had a problem before trusting him, but now I feel like there might be something going on that I don’t trust,” said Melissa McJunkin, 40. , who remains concerned about the integrity of her vote after hearing stories of general election voter fraud, but turned out anyway.
“I think it’s important for what’s going to happen next,” she said.
Cooper reported from Mesa, Arizona. Associated Press editors Emily Swanson in Washington, Nicholas Riccardi in Atlanta, Sophia Tulp in Rome, Georgia, and Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.