Pennsylvania is still tallying votes that could decide this year’s presidential election, and some of the state’s right-wing radio hosts are now trying to undermine that process by falsely claiming that counting legal votes is actually election fraud.
For weeks, state officials warned that Pennsylvania's votes could take days to count as there's been a surge in mail-in voting. Yet the Republican-controlled state legislature refused to allow for early processing of mail-in ballots which could have alleviated this time crunch, leaving “local election officials with mountains of absentee ballots to process and count on top of the in-person vote cast on Tuesday.”
Now, some of the state’s conservative talk radio hosts are falsely suggesting that the extended timeline indicates Democrats are attempting to steal the election by manufacturing additional votes for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. The comments are part of broader effort by the rest of right-wing media and the Trump campaign to delegitimize mail-in ballots, since those votes have largely favored Biden.
As Media Matters previously reported, even before Election Day, talk radio hosts in Philadelphia were attempting to undermine faith in the process in the battleground state.
On November 4, one of those same hosts — Chris Stigall on WNTP — opened his show by claiming that “Pennsylvania was designed for this moment.” According to Stigall, “The Democrats are doing exactly what they built this night to do, and that is make you think Donald Trump didn’t win Pennsylvania and that we’ve all got to sit around and wait for ballots to come in from God knows where to be counted, largely here in Philadelphia.”
On the same day, host Ken Matthews asked his audience on WHP in Harrisburg, “Do you realize what fraud is being -- the games that are being played here? This is all unconstitutional.” Matthews singled out Philadelphia, claiming the city “is a ‘scamhole’” and “filled with fraud.”
On November 5, fellow WHP host R.J. Harris raised doubts about the count in Philadelphia, just two days after he allowed President Donald Trump to claim in an Election Day interview that mail-in ballots would be used to steal Pennsylvania and “lead to almost guaranteed fraud.” In an interview with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Harris suggested that Philadelphia and Las Vegas are “both union strongholds that have a history of corruption.” Jordan replied, “Let’s hope that just legitimate ballots are being counted, but the history is such and the actions that we’re seeing here in the past 48 hours are I know raising lots of concerns with lots of Americans and that’s what we’ve got to avoid.”
The same day in Allentown, WAEB host Bobby Gunther Walsh warned of “fraud concerns in Philly,” claiming, “As long as I’ve been involved in politics we’ve heard horror stories about what goes on in Philly, yet nothing ever changes.” Walsh continued, “If this election gets stolen from President Trump, it will be because this problem has been largely ignored by the state and national Republican leadership for decades.”
These allegations are obviously baseless, but they reveal how far conservative local talk radio hosts — and the rest of right-wing media — are willing to go to undermine faith in the election as part of a last-ditch effort to boost Trump's chances in key battleground states.