NOTE: **This story received an update on Jan. 7, after the U.S. Congress and Senate certified votes Thursday morning.**
Just days before the U.S. Congress and Senate are set to count and certify electoral votes for the 2020 presidential election, people gathered in front of Tracy City Hall on Saturday to rally their support for President Donald Trump and to contest the current election results that list President-elect Joe Biden as the nation's next commander-in-chief.
Mirroring similar rallies held across the country, the "Stop the Steal" rally — organized by longtime Tracyite Steve Wampler — was staged to support the re-election of Trump and bring awareness to what Trump supporters believe was a massive Democrat-led election fraud scheme.
"Democrats have stolen elections for years. But on Nov. 3, they went way beyond normal election fraud with a massive and epic effort worthy of condemnation," said Wampler in his opening remarks to the crowd of about 150 people from Tracy and surrounding cities.
Voter fraud speculation has characterized the 2020 presidential election because of the increase in vote-by-mail ballots, and the discrepancy of some reported rejected-ballot percentage rates. Other factors leading to skepticism about the result include acceptance of mail-in ballots up to 17 days after election night, as long as they had a Nov. 3 postmark. The extended period of time it took to count all the record number of ballots was also a cause for concern to some voters, who usually expect to see accurate preliminary results the same night their ballot is cast.
Wampler said he dedicated 100 hours over the past 2 months to researching the election and concluded that there was "large-scale" fraud in at least five states.
During the rally, he cited incidents he researched that show testimonials from witnesses who claim that there was tampering at various voting centers, including accepting unsealed ballots, ballots from the deceased and ballots with unmatched signatures. Wampler also referenced many states, including Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan, that showed early leads for Trump on election night, but later flipped in Biden's favor in the days to come as more votes were tallied up.
"I’m deeply troubled that multiple witnesses have sworn in affidavits that they saw boxes filled with tens of thousands of unsealed, unsecured ballots—all cast for Democrats— that arrived in vehicles in Michigan’s Wayne County at 4:30 a.m. on the morning after Election Day," said Wampler in an email statement.
“And in Pennsylvania, a state where Trump was leading by 555,000 votes late on election night, during the wee morning hours of Nov. 4, approximately 570,000 votes were added to Biden’s total, while a mere 3,200 were added to Trump’s total – a ratio of about 178-to-1. These two incidents can only be explained in my view as examples of large-scale election fraud."
One of the witnesses Wampler referenced was Mellissa Carone, who appeared as a witness for Trump's attorney, Rudy Guiliani, during a hearing in early December, claiming that the Dominion Voting Systems' technology used in the state of Michigan and other states during the election was used to commit and maintain election fraud by counting the same votes multiple times. Carone was initially deemed "not credible" by the presiding judge and was later served with a "cease and desist" order from Dominion on the grounds of defamation.
Carone is just one of many witnesses, according to Wampler.
"The Democrats and the national press corps supported the impeachment of an American president based on the hearsay evidence of one witness. We have 1,000 election day workers and witnesses who have sworn under penalty of perjury that they saw Democratic election fraud, yet the Democrats and the media now claim that 1,000 witnesses represent ‘no evidence,’" he said.
Wampler was joined on stage by Rev. Greg Bowser from Pleasant Valley Church in Tracy and by Frank Aquila, president of Manteca Republicans. Bowser led the group in a prayer and encouraged Republicans to stand their ground in what he believed was America's fight for its life, while Aquila cautioned the crowd to be wary of different types of voter fraud that could have been committed during the election and questioned polling statistics in comparison to the election results.
"This is not just about a stolen election. This is about stealing the First Amendment. This is about censorship. This is about propaganda and fake news. This is about freedom of religion and worship," said Bowser. "God is going to overturn this stolen election, I believe that. All this evidence of voter fraud that is coming forward, the American patriots who are standing up and standing their ground and calling for justice. I believe that's a sign from God that the momentum is to overturn this evil treason and it's not going to stand."
The only scenario for Trump to be sworn in on Inauguration Day would have come down to Wednesday, when electoral votes were to be counted and certified by federal legislators. Wampler urged rally attendees to contact the state legislators of Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania and sway them to decertify their electoral votes that were slated to go to Biden.
However, the joint session at the U.S. Capitol was disrupted Wednesday morning, when a crowd of Trump supporters raided and vandalized the Capitol building in WashingtonD.C. and forced a lockdown and curfew to go into effect.
House Representatives and U.S. Senators were forced to evacuate until local law enforcement and the National Guard were able to maintain order in the area.
Congress and the Senate reconvened later that night and certified electoral votes early Thursday morning after hours of discussion with Republican representatives that still opposed certifying votes for Biden.
• Contact Brianna Guillory at email@example.com or 830-4229.