Mitt Romney (copy)

U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney shares a laugh with constituents after a town hall meeting Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, on the campus of Weber State University in Ogden.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As President Donald Trump continues to levy unsubstantiated charges of wrongdoing in ballot counting, U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, for one, remains unconvinced widespread fraud occurred in presidential voting.

His read is that when the dust settles, media projections that Joe Biden won in presidential balloting will stand and the Democrat will be inaugurated on Jan. 20 as the next U.S. president.

Scattered irregularities could have occurred given the vast number of voters across the country, perhaps on both sides of the political aisle, said the Republican lawmaker.

“I presume that happened,” he said Tuesday in a call with Utah media outlets. “But I don’t know that there’s any evidence that’s been presented so far that suggests that that happened in a sufficient number of cases to result in a overturning of the election results as we understand it.”

Romney has been one of only a few GOPers to acknowledge Biden’s apparent victory and to congratulate him. “I think most of my colleagues are staying quiet,” Romney said, speaking via a video call from Washington, D.C.

But though Trump has sent several tweets suggesting “abuse” occurred in ballot counting — garnering warnings on the tweets themselves from Twitter that such claims are “disputed” — that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re gaining traction.

Lacking evidence to the otherwise, most election observers “whether it’s my (Senate) colleagues or others ... are going to believe that the outcome of the election is as has been predicted by the major networks that have looked at it,” he said. “We’ve had recounts in the past and those recounts have changed a few hundred votes one way or the other, but nothing of the scale that would suggest that there will be a reversal of the outcome in any one of the states.”

The issue isn’t just of domestic interest, as Romney sees it. Other nations are watching as the situation unfolds, as officials sort through, finalize and formalize the vote count.

Accordingly, “it’s important we show confidence in our institutions, our ability to investigate cases, to take cases to the courts. When that’s completed I think it’s by far the most likely outcome that there will not be a change in the tally in a substantial way and there will be a smooth transition of power,” Romney said. “I hope that’s the message that we give to the world.”

A pair of tweets from Trump on Tuesday read, “BALLOT COUNTING ABUSE!” and “WATCH FOR MASSIVE BALLOT COUNTING ABUSE AND, JUST LIKE THE EARLY VACCINE, REMEMBER I TOLD YOU SO!” Neither contains specifics, though, and both are flagged with the same Twitter warning: “This claim about election fraud is disputed”.

Notwithstanding his skepticism that projections of Biden’s victory will be reversed, Romney said Trump is within his rights to look into the matter. Until official final vote totals come from each of the U.S. states “certainly the president will pursue his legal options.”

COVID-19 AND MASKSWhile use of face coverings in light of the COVID-19 pandemic is a sore point for some, Romney expressed backing for mask use. He also said Biden, on taking over as president, could be more vocal in urging their use. Biden “would probably make a major effort to have people wear masks and I think that makes a lot of sense,” Romney said.

Romney also expressed support for the mask mandate implemented Monday in Utah per an order from Gov. Gary Herbert. “Even at this day, I think there are people who think wearing a mask is somehow not demonstrating your commitment to conservatism, and I disagree. I want to live longer and I think my chances of living longer are better with people wearing masks,” Romney said.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at

@timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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