Pence’s legal team found election fraud claims minor, unverifiable before Jan. 6

Katie R. Ochoa

The legal team of former Vice President Pence found allegations of election fraud either unverifiable or minor in a memo issued just days before a mob stormed the Capitol and tried to stop Congress from certifying the 2020 presidential election.

In the 10-page memo addressed to Pence and dated Jan. 1, 2021, which was obtained and published Friday by Politico, his legal team assessed allegations of election law procedural violations and fraud in the 2020 election in six swing states made by “the GOP and related plaintiffs.”

“In general, there is strong evidence that state and local election officials committed numerous procedural violations that reduced transparency and/or favored Democrat candidates. However, most allegations of substantive voter fraud – defined to mean the casting of illegal ballots in violation of prevailing election laws – are either relatively small in number, or cannot be verified,” his legal team noted, according to the memo.

The document then detailed and responded to specific allegations made regarding each of the six states. In Georgia, for example, Pence’s legal team addressed “Trump Campaign’s Numerical Allegations,” which included claims that underage people and felons with uncompleted sentences voted in the state. 

His legal team noted before listing the slew of allegations made by the Trump campaign that “OVP has not been able to verify” them.

In states including Michigan and Arizona, Pence’s legal team addressed “statistics-based allegations,” noting that they could not verify cited numbers that suggested potential voter fraud.

A person familiar with the document told Politico that it was provided to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

Former Pence chief of staff Marc Short told the news outlet that the thinking of the vice president’s team aligned with what was included on the memo. A committee spokesperson declined to comment to Politico about the matter.

“We often observed the irregularities that occurred during the 2020 election, the reality that Democrats effectively weaponized election changes that were the result of Covid,” Short told Politico. “But ultimately it was important to catalog the various allegations and where there was hard evidence, or lack thereof, of actual theft.”

The new memo comes after the committee held the first in a series of public hearings set for this month in prime-time on Thursday. The meeting included testimony from Capitol Police officer Caroline Edwards and documentarian Nick Quested, as well as excerpts from recorded interviews with Trump officials.

The Hill has reached out to a Pence spokesperson, the committee and NARA for comment. 

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