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President Trump's voter fraud allegation is 'a lie,' says California's top elections officer

Secretary of State Alex Padilla. (Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press)
Secretary of State Alex Padilla. (Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press)

With President Donald Trump rehashing last year's accusation of widespread voter fraud in California and elsewhere, the state's top elections official is also restating his take: It's not true.

"When the president says millions of illegal ballots are cast, that’s simply not the case," said Secretary of State Alex Padilla in an interview on CNN Wednesday. "It's a lie."

As was the case when Trump made the accusation in November , there's no evidence of such a broad attempt to sway the outcome in California. The president lost the Golden State to Democrat Hillary Clinton by almost 4.3 million votes.

Trump's announcement on Wednesday of a "major investigation" into voter fraud reignited the issue, even though there was also Republican skepticism in the wake of the new round of accusations.

"Is it a question of millions of people? That’s a pretty steep hill to climb," said Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach), the vice chairman of the Assembly's elections committee. "You'd have to have a very strong coordinated effort across California to pull that off."

Harper said he believes the better discussion is whether new, independent audit capabilities need to be in place to examine election results.

Others, though, were sharply critical of the president's motives.

"Allegations of widespread voter fraud are not just 'alternative facts,' they are a calculated and sinister attempt at voter suppression that takes a page from this nation’s bleak history of segregation," said Laphonza Butler, president of the state council of the Service Employees International Union.

In the CNN interview, Padilla said he worried the president was sowing doubt in an effort to legitimize efforts such as a purging of voter rolls.

"I hope that it's not a sign of things to come," he said.

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