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2020 is looking to be a pivotal year in politics. But this year's elections are about much more than the race for the White House. And the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a complicating factor. WKSU, our colleagues at public radio stations across Ohio and the region and at NPR will bring you coverage of all the races from the national to the local level.

Sherrod Brown Calls for Republicans to 'Stand Up' to Trump

President Donald Trump in the early morning hours of November 4, 2020
CNN Newsource
President Donald Trump addresses a crowd of supporters in the early morning hours Nov. 4.

As other states continue to tally the votes in the presidential race, President Donald Trump is making unfounded statements about widespread fraud that other leaders say undermines the election process. Ohio leaders have mixed responses to Trump's claims.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) says the process of counting absentee votes in other states is legitimate and should be respected, despite the claims being made by the president of the United States.

"We have always counted every vote absentee, no matter how long it takes and that's what the country needs to do. And there's no fraud. I think President Trump had in his mind that he was going to lose for weeks. And as a result, he wanted to question the integrity of the election," Brown said.

Brown believes speaking out against these types of claims by Trump should be bipartisan.

"Maybe it's just a hope against futility that Republicans now will start standing up saying, 'Mr. President, this is wrong. We've got to count all the ballots. Stop. Quit questioning this. Quit saying the election's rigged,'" said Brown.

During a Thursday briefing, Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) was asked about Trump's call to stop counting votes in Pennsylvania.

"We have a long tradition of counting all the votes. We have a long tradition of respect for the law. So the votes are continuing to be counted," said DeWine. "I think it's important for us as Ohioans and Americans to remember that we've done this before. We've done this for over 200 years. we've done it better than about anybody or maybe anybody throughout the history of mankind. We do it exceedingly well. We have, if there is a transition of power, we do that well."

Watch: Gov. Mike DeWine's full response to question about President Donald Trump's claims.

But DeWine stopped short of showing concern about Trump making unverified claims of fraud from his position as president.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (R-Ohio) have also supported counting the votes but have not made public statements about Trump's latest unsupported claims of fraud.

As of Friday afternoon, Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden started to pull ahead in the vote count of some of the remaining states that were still tallying results, including Pennsylvania and Georgia. Those votes represented absentee ballots that were not processed and tabulated until the polls closed Tuesday evening. Ohio's election law allows local boards of elections to have votes ready to be counted as soon as polls close Election Day.

Trump released a written statement saying that the American people deserve "full transparency."

"From the beginning we have said that all legal ballots must be counted and all illegal ballots should not be counted, yet we have met resistance to this basic principle by Democrats at every turn. We will pursue this process through every aspect of the law to guarantee that the American people have confidence in our government,” Trump said in the statement.
Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Andy Chow
Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.