By Nick CorasanitiReid J. Epstein and 


Election officials in dozens of states representing both political parties said that there was no evidence that fraud or other irregularities played a role in the outcome of the presidential race, amounting to a forceful rebuke of President Trump’s portrait of a fraudulent election.

Over the last several days, the president, members of his administration, congressional Republicans and right wing allies have put forth the false claim that the election was stolen from Mr. Trump and have refused to accept results that showed Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the winner.

But top election officials across the country said in interviews and statements that the process had been a remarkable success despite record turnout and the complications of a dangerous pandemic.

“There’s a great human capacity for inventing things that aren’t true about elections,” said Frank LaRose, a Republican who serves as Ohio’s secretary of state. “The conspiracy theories and rumors and all those things run rampant. For some reason, elections breed that type of mythology.”

Steve Simon, a Democrat who is Minnesota’s secretary of state, said: “I don’t know of a single case where someone argued that a vote counted when it shouldn’t have or didn’t count when it should. There was no fraud.”

“Kansas did not experience any widespread, systematic issues with voter fraud, intimidation, irregularities or voting problems,” a spokeswoman for Scott Schwab, the Republican secretary of state in Kansas, said in an email Tuesday. “We are very pleased with how the election has gone up to this point.”

The New York Times contacted the offices of the top election officials in every state on Monday and Tuesday to ask whether they suspected or had evidence of illegal voting. Officials in 45 states responded directly to The Times. For four of the remaining states, The Times spoke to other statewide officials or found public comments from secretaries of state; none reported any major voting issues.

Statewide officials in Texas did not respond to repeated inquiries. But a spokeswoman for the top elections official in Harris County, the largest county in Texas with a population greater than many states, said that there were only a few minor issues and that “we had a very seamless election.” On Tuesday, the Republican lieutenant governor in Texas, Dan Patrick, announced a $1 million fund to reward reports of voter fraud.

Some states described small problems common to all elections, which they said they were addressing: a few instances of illegal or double voting, some technical glitches and some minor errors in math. Officials in all states are conducting their own review of the voting — a standard component of the certification process.

Perhaps none of the Trump campaign’s claims received more attention than an allegation made over the weekend in Pennsylvania by Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer. On Saturday, Mr. Giuliani held a news conference in the parking lot of a Philadelphia landscaping company and claimed that the election in the city had been rife with fraud.

The office of the state’s top law enforcement official said that there was no evidence to support Mr. Giuliani’s claims, and that the election in the state was “fair and secure.”

“Many of the claims against the commonwealth have already been dismissed, and repeating these false attacks is reckless,” said Jacklin Rhoads, a spokeswoman for Josh Shapiro, a Democrat who is Pennsylvania’s attorney general. “No active lawsuit even alleges, and no evidence presented so far has shown, widespread problems.”

What emerged in The Times’s reporting was how, beyond the president, Republicans in many states were engaged in a widespread effort to delegitimize the nation’s voting system.

Some Republicans have even turned to lashing members of their own party who, in their eyes, did not show sufficient dedication to rooting out fraud. In Georgia, where Mr. Biden is leading, the two Republican senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, both of whom are in a runoff to gain re-election, have called for the resignation of the Republican secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger. “The secretary of state has failed to deliver honest and transparent elections,” the senators said in a statement.

In Washington, the losing Republican candidate for governor, Loren Culp, has disputed the Republican secretary of state’s determination that the election there was free of fraud. The secretary of state, Kim Wyman, has in turn challenged Mr. Culp, trailing by roughly 14 percentage points in the results, to produce evidence. “It’s just throwing grass at the fence at this point,” she said in an interview. “See what sticks.”

Democrats have more frequently been the target of criticism. Last week, the Republican leadership of the Pennsylvania state legislature called on Kathy Boockvar, the Democratic secretary of state, to step down. In Wisconsin, the Republican speaker of the Assembly announced he would form committees to investigate voter fraud in the wake of Mr. Biden’s narrow victory in the state, though there is no evidence of any. Republican lawmakers in Michigan on Saturday voted to issue subpoenas for documents in search of “election irregularities.”

Indeed, Republicans in all three “blue wall” states have initiated “investigations” or called for audits — which is redundant given the certification work already underway. Democrats say this is simply a way to undermine confidence in the results.

On Monday, the Trump campaign accelerated their legal efforts, filing a lawsuit in the seven Pennsylvania counties where the president lost that claimed mail voting created an unfair, “two-tiered” system during the election — though the system is also in place in counties the president won. The campaign also announced plans to file another suit in Michigan.

The president has kept up a barrage of Twitter posts with false claims about improprieties in Nevada and Pennsylvania, predicting he’d prevail in Georgia, where he is behind, and said Wisconsin “needs a little time statutorily,” though he offered no explanation for what he meant.

Nellie Gorbea, the Democratic secretary of state in Rhode Island, said the amount of attention on the election would make illegal voting extremely difficult. “It would be nearly impossible to do voter fraud in this election because of the number of people tuned in,” she said.

Voting fraud in the United States is extremely rare. The irregularities that do occur are often inconsequential, isolated in nature, and unlikely to alter the outcome of an election. The most significant episode of election fraud over the past several years involved an alleged effort to manipulate ballots to benefit a Republican candidate for Congress in North Carolina, Mark Harris, in 2018. The scheme forced a new election and an operative who worked for Mr. Harris, L. McCrae Dowless, is under indictment. Mr. Harris was not charged with wrongdoing, and denied any role.

For the entire report got to: www.nytimes.com