Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) is continuing to question the integrity of elections, telling state lawmakers that he “cannot attest” to results that the Maine Secretary of State certified.
LePage questioned the election results in a routine letter that state law requires to lawmakers summoning them to the capitol for a legislative session.
“I am issuing this summons and signing this election certificate despite the fact that I maintain strong concerns regarding the integrity of Maine’s ballot and accuracy of Maine’s election results and I cannot attest to the accuracy of the tabulation certified by the secretary of state,” LePage wrote in the letter sent Wednesday.
Kristen Muszynski, a spokesperson for Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap (D), said that her office did not have any evidence that suggested the integrity of the state’s election could be compromised. She said the office had not heard from LePage regarding specific concerns and was unsure of what he was alluding to. It was “certainly unusual” for LePage to include the message in his letter, she added.
LePage’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
“We can’t speak directly to his motivations for doing so, that would be a question for him,” Muszynski said. “We certainly do feel that the process has full integrity and our clerks in all of our cities and towns have a lot of pride in the process and take it very seriously and are very thorough in making sure it is a clean election.”
LePage said in October he was concerned that Maine residents could vote without identification. Muszynski noted that the state does require photo identification to register to vote in Maine.
The governor’s comments came after Green Party candidate Jill Stein pushed for a recount in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania amid concerns that there may have been outside interference in the presidential election. The recount has already begun in Wisconsin, but President-elect Donald Trump has moved to block efforts in Michigan and Pennsylvania. Trump also stoked fears about American election integrity during the presidential campaign, when he repeatedly insisted that the voting system was “rigged” against him. LePage was an early endorser of Trump.
LePage’s claim could have an impact on future elections, Muszynski said.
“Our concern is more that it might discourage people from taking part in the Democratic process,” she said. “People are hearing all the time that it’s not run properly, they start to think their vote doesn’t count and that’s not true and it’s certainly not something we want people embracing. We want them to know that we do take every single vote very seriously as well as the whole process from registration right through recounts if there are any.”
LePage has a history of making unsubstantiated claims. Earlier this year, he said that men with names like “D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty,” were impregnating women and dealing drugs in Maine. He also claimed that he had a binder showing that over 90 percent of people arrested in the state for drug dealing were black or Latino. A public records request showed that only 40 percent of people in the binder were black or Latino.
Matt Moonen, a Democratic state lawmaker, was scathing in his criticism of LePage’s letter.
“This is so embarrassing,” he wrote on Facebook. “And nobody gives a shit what you can attest to.”