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Nebraska state senator calls for 50-state audit of presidential election

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LINCOLN — A Nebraska lawmaker has joined colleagues from across the country in calling for a 50-state audit of the 2020 presidential election results.

Rob Clements


State Sen. Rob Clements, a Republican from Elmwood, signed on to a letter addressed “To the American People” that seeks a forensic audit of every state election, similar to the just-completed audit in Maricopa County, Arizona.

That months-long review, conducted by allies of former President Donald Trump, concluded last month with presidential vote counts virtually identical to the county’s official tally. However, Trump backers point to other findings, which are disputed by local election officials, as justification for continued questioning of the election results.

The letter, dated Monday and signed by 92 state legislators from multiple states, pointed to the Arizona audit as a key basis for seeking a nationwide review. It calls for states to decertify their presidential electors if the audit shows an inaccurate election was held. It also calls for scrubbing the voter rolls through a canvass of voters.

“Our representative republic suffered a corrupted 2020 election,” the letter said. “This is our historic obligation to restore the election integrity of the vote as the bedrock of our constitutional republic.”

Clements said Tuesday that he doesn’t have evidence of problems or corruption with Nebraska’s election. But he said a number of constituents have raised concerns about election security and have questioned whether their votes were counted correctly.

“I’m not wanting to disqualify President Biden,” he said. “I’m satisfied with ensuring future elections, not invalidating prior ones.”

However, Clements called it “puzzling” and “unusual” to have Democrat Joe Biden and GOP Rep. Don Bacon both secure victory in the Omaha metro area’s 2nd Congressional District. The district had a similar split in 2008 as well, when Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Rep. Lee Terry both won.

He also hesitated when asked whether he has confidence in Nebraska Secretary of State Bob Evnen and Gov. Pete Ricketts, two fellow Republicans who defended the safety and security of the state’s election system last fall. Clements ended up pointing to the concerns of constituents.

Later Tuesday, Clements offered a statement expressing “absolute confidence” and “respect” for both Evnen and Ricketts.

“I know they believe ensuring the integrity of our electoral process is central to our democracy. I signed the 50 state election audit letter because it was a small way that I could register my lack of confidence in the 2020 electoral process in several other states.”

Ricketts said concerns about 2020 were investigated.

“Every case of voter fraud must be investigated,” Ricketts said in statement. “The Attorney General investigated every report made this last cycle. I have full confidence in the Secretary of State and election commissioners who have been successfully running elections, including in 2020. We will continue to work to strengthen the integrity of our election system.”

Evnen did not respond to a request seeking comment Tuesday.

In November, Evnen touted the state general election as historic. He said a record number of voters cast their ballots in the midst of a pandemic and “within the existing legal framework in our state.” Trump supporters have criticized states where election officials made changes in election rules in light of the pandemic.

His office noted that all 93 counties got new ballot counting machines and Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant ballot marking equipment and the state received an award from the National Association of State Election Directors for its work in election security.

Evnen, however, backs efforts to pass voter identification requirements for Nebraska, even though he acknowledges that cases of fraud that could be prevented by such laws have been virtually nonexistent in the state.

But Jane Kleeb, the Nebraska Democratic Party chairwoman, said, “It continues to baffle me that Republicans mistrust their Republican colleagues who are responsible for the election security in our state.”

“I know Sen. Clements mostly discusses issues with rural voters, but since he has now been gerrymandered into Lancaster County, he might want to consider there are voters who like both Democrats and Republicans,” she said. Clements’ newly redrawn legislative district includes a slice of northeast Lincoln and Lancaster County, as well as Cass County.

Arizona State Sen. Wendy Rogers posted the letter Monday on Twitter and was the lead signer. In her Twitter biography, she describes herself as a “conservative America-first pro-Trump Republican.” The other signers included two Republicans from Iowa, Sen. Jim Carlin of Sioux City and Rep. Sandy Salmon of Janesville.

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Martha Stoddard keeps legislators honest from The World-Herald's Lincoln bureau, where she covers news from the State Capitol. Follow her on Twitter @StoddardOWH. Phone: 402-670-2402

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