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Graham: 'I accept the results of the election'

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamProgressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC Senate confirms Garland's successor to appeals court Progressives want to tighten screws beyond Manchin and Sinema MORE (R-S.C.) said on Monday that he accepts the results of the 2020 election, and urged Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, to focus on the upcoming midterm where the party wants to win back control of Congress. 

“I accept the results of the election. ... 2020 is over to me, I'm ready to march on and hopefully take back the House and the Senate in 2022,” Graham told reporters in South Carolina. 

Graham’s comments come as Trump has remained focused on the 2020 election, doubling down on his false claim that it was “stolen.” Trump’s legal team has lost dozens of challenges in court and GOP state officials along with former Attorney General William BarrBill BarrTrump, allies pressured DOJ to back election claims, documents show House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists Judge temporarily blocks release of Trump obstruction memo MORE have dismissed suggestions of widespread fraud, but that has done nothing to lower Trump’s rhetoric.

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While Graham, who voted to certify the 2020 results in January, said he accepted the results, he added that he would endorse making changes to election laws heading into 2022, including tighter voter ID requirements. 

“I think what we need to do is reform election systems. ... So I think it's smart to reform our laws to make sure you are who you are,” he said. 

“I think there are a lot of people that feel like bad things happened in the election. ... But I think President TrumpDonald TrumpKushner lands book deal, slated for release in 2022 Biden moves to undo Trump trade legacy with EU deal Progressives rave over Harrison's start at DNC MORE and the Republican Party needs to focus on election reform and the upcoming election,” he added. 

Republican-controlled state legislatures have introduced and passed laws in the wake of Biden's win to place new restrictions on access to the ballot. State legislators this year have introduced 361 bills across 47 states that would restrict access to voting, according to a Brennan Center analysis.

While most Senate Republicans voted against challenges to Biden's Electoral College victory in Congress earlier this year — when a pro-Trump mob attacked the Capitol — they also stayed silent for week after the November election as Trump tried to cast doubt on the results in key states.

Those false claims appear to have taken hold in a significant swath of GOP voters, according to polling.

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Six in 10 Republicans believe Trump's false claim that the election was “stolen” from him, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released last month. And a CBS News poll released over the weekend found that 67 percent of Republicans said that Biden wasn't the legitimate winner of the 2020 election. 

Nearly half, 47 percent, also told CBS News that the party’s strategy for winning future elections should be changing voting laws. 

In addition to legislation across the country, in Arizona state GOP leaders have launched an audit into the election results surrounding Phoenix, despite there being no evidence of wrongdoing.

Graham, asked about Arizona, added, “I don't know what the audit is all about in Arizona ... but I'm ready to move on.”