House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has cast serious doubt over the "bizarre" California midterm election results, where it appears that seven GOP-held seats will flip to Democratic control, weeks later.
The election result "just defies logic to me," said Ryan during a Washington Post live event.
"We were only down 26 seats the night of the election and three weeks later, we lost basically every California race. This election system they have — I can’t begin to understand what ‘ballot harvesting’ is."
Ryan, who is retiring after this year, has previously declined to side with President Trump and other Republicans who have complained of election related irregularities and suspected fraud in places such as Florida and California, according to The Hill.
California does have a more liberal policy when it comes to counting ballots. The Golden State allows absentee ballots to be counted if they are mailed by Election Day and arrive at the registrar by the Friday after the election. That’s why results in a handful of close California House races were not called until days, or weeks, after Nov. 6.
In many cases, the GOP candidates had been leading on Election Night, but Democrats ultimately prevailed as additional absentee and provisional ballots were tallied in the days after. -The Hill
"In Wisconsin, we knew the next day. Scott Walker, my friend, I was sad to see him lose, but we accepted the results on Wednesday," said Ryan following the election. In California, however, "their system is bizarre; I still don’t completely understand it. There are a lot of races there we should have won."
When pressed about his California comments, Ryan said it seemed “bizarre” and “strange” that Democrats would win all seven competitive House races in California. Democrats ousted GOP Reps. Mimi Walters, Dana Rohrabacher, Jeff Denham and Steve Knight, and won seats held by retiring GOP Reps. Ed Royce and Darrell Issa. GOP Rep. David Valadao is trailing Democrat TJ Cox, but the race is too close to call. -The Hill
"The way the absentee-ballot program used to work, and the way it works now, it seems pretty loosey goose," said Ryan. "When you have candidates who win the absentee ballot vote and then lose three weeks later because of provisionals, that’s really bizarre. I just think that’s a very very strange outcome."
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla defended the process in an interview with CNN.
"The philosophy here is, while it may take a little bit longer to finish counting ballots in California, the policies are in place to ensure that all votes can be properly processed and added to the tally — and I guess better said, that all voices can be heard in the political process," said Padilla.