WASHINGTON • US President-elect Donald Trump has claimed, without providing evidence, that he would have won the popular vote in the Nov 8 election if "millions" of illegal votes were excluded.
The claim came hours after he criticised an effort to recount votes in three battleground states.
He also claimed the media was not reporting "serious voter fraud" in the Democratic-leaning states of California, New Hampshire and Virginia.
In tweets on Sunday, Mr Trump offered nothing to back up allegations of election wrongdoing - claims that recalled his pre-election mantra of a "rigged" result.
Although Mr Trump beat Mrs Hillary Clinton 306-232 in the state- by-state Electoral College tally, the former secretary of state leads Mr Trump by more than 2.2 million ballots in the popular vote, according to a running tally by the non-partisan Cook Political Report.
"It appears Mr Trump is troubled by the fact that a growing majority of Americans did not vote for him," Mr Alex Padilla, California's secretary of state, tweeted.
"His unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud in California and elsewhere are absurd. His reckless tweets are inappropriate and unbecoming of a President-elect."
Cook Political Report shows Mrs Clinton with 64.65 million votes in total to Mr Trump's 62.42 million. Third-party and other candidates received 7.19 million votes. In 13 swing states, Mr Trump won 48.4 per cent of the vote to Mrs Clinton's 46.6 per cent.
Earlier on Sunday, Mr Trump criticised recounts proposed for Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, spearheaded by Green Party candidate Jill Stein - an effort that Mrs Clinton's campaign on Saturday said it would join.
One person who spoke to Mr Trump over the weekend told the New York Times that the President-elect appeared preoccupied by suggestions that a recount might be started, even as his aides played down any concerns.
Another friend quoted by the newspaper said Mr Trump felt crossed by Mrs Clinton, who he believed had conceded the race and accepted the results.
In seven early-morning tweets, Mr Trump recounted previous comments by Mrs Clinton on the need to accept the results.
"So much time and money will be spent - same result! Sad," Mr Trump concluded.
Last Saturday, he called the Green Party's recount efforts a "scam to fill up their coffers".
Trump aides on Sunday took to political TV talk shows to cast cold water on the recount efforts.
Mr Reince Priebus, the incoming White House chief of staff, said on Fox News Sunday that the planned recount would serve "only to divide this country when we need to come together".
Mrs Clinton's campaign will participate in the recount "in order to ensure the process proceeds in a manner that is fair to all sides", her campaign lawyer Marc Elias said on Saturday.
He said in a post on the blogging website Medium that he does not expect the action to overturn Mr Trump's election.
Mrs Clinton's campaign had not planned to initiate the recounts on its own because it has not found "any actionable evidence of hacking or outside attempts to alter the voting technology", Mr Elias wrote.
A senior administration official said in a statement that the government did not observe any increased level of malicious cyber activity aimed at disrupting the election and believes the elections were free and fair from a cyber security perspective.