Let’s see if we have this straight:

• The 2020 election was a fraud, and Donald Trump really won.

Ballots cast in the 2020 general election in Arizona are examined and recounted on May 6 by contractors working for Florida-based company. Trump supporters are still pushing to re-examine ballots from across the country. It’s time for them to stop. Matt York/Associated Press, Pool

• The only way to make it right is to recount the votes, and that can’t be done by anyone involved with the government, including the courts – not even if Trump appointed the judges himself.

• We should turn over all the ballots and other documents to Trump supporters, who will conduct a “forensic audit” of the 155 million votes cast and tell us who really won.

Sound reasonable? Not unless you were describing something you saw on the Cartoon Network.

But it’s not funny. Although proponents claim that they are trying to restore credibility to the election process, they are actually trying to tear it down and sow doubt in voters’ minds.

In states like Georgia and Texas, false claims about the honesty of the last election have provided justification in some minds for new laws that make it harder – especially for low-income people and people of color – to cast ballots.

Without any evidence (other than their disappointment in the result), a billionaire-financed political organization is spreading lies about our elections and about the people who run them in an effort to gain political advantage.

Maine is the gold standard for fair elections. Everyone qualified to vote here has multiple ways to participate in an election, and a paper record is kept of every single ballot, enabling recounts that can be observed by all parties.

Still, you may see a petition circulating around Maine fairs this fall, encouraging you to sign an “affidavit,” requesting that the Maine secretary of state turn over all paper ballots, voting machines software and related materials to the authors of already debunked claims of election fraud in 2020.

The talking points might sound like something from the fringe, but the people delivering the message are fairly mainstream.

The effort has been championed by state Rep. Heidi Sampson, R-Alfred, who, at an anti COVID-vaccine rally at the State House last month, infamously compared Gov. Mills and her sister to Nazi war criminals.

And at the Windsor Fair, one of the circulators was Liliana Thelander, who is married to Ed Thelander, a retired Navy SEAL and Republican who recently announced he would challenge incumbent 1st District U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree.

If other Republicans disagree with Sampson and Liliana Thelander, they are keeping it to themselves.

A bill is pending in the Maine Legislature that would create a process to audit election results after all the recounts are complete. But letting the losing party continue to count the votes until they finally get a result that makes them happy is not how it’s done.

It’s time to put an end to this farce.

The 2020 election is in the books, and Joe Biden is the president. If you don’t like that, our Constitution makes sure that there’s always another election right around the corner.


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