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County GOP repeats election misinformation

They were a little late to leap aboard the “stolen election” bandwagon, but officials of the Jackson County Republican Party are now on record as denying that President Joe Biden was legitimately elected, despite the lack of any credible evidence to support that view.

A resolution first adopted by the party’s executive committee and confirmed four days later by a unanimous vote of the county central committee declared, among other things, that some secretaries of state improperly conducted the 2020 election, that the thoroughly debunked “2,000 Mules” video “irrefutably proves” election fraud involving drop boxes, and that “substantial election fraud” occurred in key cities.

It should go without saying at this point that all those claims are false.

That clearly doesn’t matter to the local Republican Party officials who gave their stamp of approval to the document. Nor does it apparently matter to them that they merely followed the lead of the Republican Party of Texas, which adopted a similar resolution at its state convention.

Political party organizations generally work to support and elect candidates that share their views on public policy issues. But this county-level organization is spending its time and energy tearing down the system that chooses those candidates, questioning the very legitimacy of the government they supposedly want to help run, nearly two years after an election that didn’t go their way.

Rendell Embertson, chair of the Jackson County Republican Central Committee, when asked whether he personally considers Biden’s presidency illegitimate, couldn’t give a straight answer, saying that was an “interesting predicament,” adding that Biden “was put in as our president,” and “I pray for him.”

And yet the resolution he voted for clearly states, “We reject the certified results of the 2020 presidential election, and we hold that acting President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was not legitimately elected by the people of the United States.”

That seems clear enough. No “predicament” there.

Embertson makes a point of saying he finds no fault with the Jackson County Elections Office. That’s good, as it does a professional job of conducting elections. But he makes noises about dead voters, voters who move and double ballots being counted.

Those are perennial complaints by critics who want to cast doubt on election outcomes. And yet, from 2000 to 2019, there were precisely 38 fraud convictions in Oregon, out of 61 million votes cast. That’s a solid record. If Embertson has actual hard evidence of even a single case of fraud, he should bring it to the attention of state authorities.

If it’s any consolation, these Jackson County Republicans are not alone in falling under the spell of deranged conspiracy theories. In Washington state, for example, a county Republican chapter warned people not to vote early in that state’s Aug. 2 primary because that would tell “bad actors” how many fake ballots they needed to print to steal the election.

Meanwhile, it’s encouraging to note that at least one local Republican leader, former state senator and Ashland mayor Alan DeBoer, completely rejects the central committee’s misguided resolution, calling it “totally wrong.”

We hope other local Republican leaders will reject it as well, and that Republican voters will listen to DeBoer and not to their local party officials.