Outgoing Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) questioned California’s process of counting votes Thursday, after several races that looked to be Republican victories on Election Day were won by Democrats in the weeks that followed.
Ryan told the Washington Post in a live interview: “California just defies logic to me. We had a lot of wins that night — we were only down 26 seats that night of the election — and three weeks later we lost basically every contested California race.”
Asked whether there was “something wrong” with California’s vote counts, Ryan said: No, I just think it’s weird … their system is bizarre. I still don’t, frankly, understand it.” He noted that Wisconsin’s results were known by the next day.
Ryan added that Republicans were “massively outspent” in congressional races in California that the party should have won.
As Breitbart News reported, Democrats appeared on Election Day to have taken only three of the seven Republican-held districts that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
But by this past Monday — nearly three weeks later — Democratic candidates had passed the last of the seven Republican incumbents, thanks to late counts of ballots submitted by mail and through other methods. (In that last race, the Republican defeated the Democrat by a nearly two-to-one margin in the June 5 “jungle” primary, where all candidates from all parties compete together.)
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla responded angrily Thursday to Ryan’s comments in a statement:
It is bizarre that Paul Ryan cannot grasp basic voting rights protections. It shouldn’t “defy logic” that elections officials are meticulous in counting every eligible ballot. California works to ensure every ballot is counted properly and every ballot is accounted for. In the most populous state in the nation — and the state with the largest number of registered voters — this takes time.
In California, we believe in an inclusive and accessible democracy. We provide voters as many opportunities as possible to cast their ballots. That is why we have no excuse vote by mail, automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration, and early voting. These reforms helped drive California’s historic registration and a 30 year high in midterm turnout. I stand with the thousands of elections officials and volunteers throughout the state who continue to work around the clock to ensure the accuracy and integrity of our elections.
In the months leading up to the election, Padilla was forced to tackle voter registration problems at the Department of Motor Vehicles, including 23,000 errors and the registration of 1,500 non-eligible people.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.