Good News on the EC Front
GOP leaders in key states signal no EC shenanigans.
There has been an ongoing fear that the Trump team would seek to influence key states to seat Republican electors in states that Biden won. This was the central thesis of an Atlantic piece that got a lot of circulation (and a Fresh Air discussion), and even was mentioned in a NYT piece this week as something Trump himself had asked his advisors.
As disconcerting as this possibility seems, I have never been especially concerned it would come to pass, although I have never gotten around to writing about it.
Now some good news from some of the relevant states via the AP: GOP leaders in 4 states quash dubious Trump bid on electors.
State GOP lawmakers in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have all said they would not intervene in the selection of electors, who ultimately cast the votes that secure a candidate’s victory. Such a move would violate state law and a vote of the people, several noted.
“I do not see, short of finding some type of fraud — which I haven’t heard of anything — I don’t see us in any serious way addressing a change in electors,” said Rusty Bowers, Arizona’s Republican House speaker, who says he’s been inundated with emails pleading for the legislature to intervene. “They are mandated by statute to choose according to the vote of the people.”
This is, of course, the right answer to the question, and is Speaker Bowers doing his job as opposed to most GOP members of the federal legislature, or some governors.
it has been promoted by Trump allies, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and is an example of misleading information and false claims fueling skepticism among Trump supporters about the integrity of the vote.
Asked this week if state lawmakers should invalidate the official results, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham said, “Everything should be on the table.”
DeSantis urged Pennsylvania and Michigan residents to call state lawmakers and urge them to intervene. “Under Article 2 of the Constitution, presidential electors are done by the legislatures and the schemes they create and the framework. And if there’s departure from that, if they’re not following the law, if they’re ignoring law, then they can provide remedies as well,” he said.
That is, quite simply, gross and anti-democratic. There is no credible evidence of fraud or even irregularities in these states. I am not even sure there is anything that rises to the level of being called fake or false evidence (that is, the accusations have mostly been things that aren’t even evidence-like).
And here are dispatches from other relevant states:
Republican lawmakers, however, appear to be holding steady. “The Pennsylvania General Assembly does not have and will not have a hand in choosing the state’s presidential electors or in deciding the outcome of the presidential election,” top Republican legislative leaders, state Sen. Jake Corman and Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, wrote in an October op-ed. Their offices said Friday they stand by the statement.
The Republican leader of Wisconsin’s Assembly, Robin Vos, has long dismissed the idea, and his spokesperson, Kit Beyer, said he stood by that position on Thursday.
In Michigan, legislative leaders say any intervention would be against state law. Even though the GOP-controlled legislature is investigating the election, state Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey told radio station WJR on Friday, “It is not the expectation that our analysis will result in any change in the outcome.”
The AP piece outlines the context:
The theory is rooted in the fact that the U.S. Constitution grants state legislatures the power to decide how electors are chosen. Each state already has passed laws that delegate this power to voters and appoint electors for whichever candidate wins the state on Election Day. The only opportunity for a state legislature to then get involved with electors is a provision in federal law allowing it if the actual election “fails.”
If the result of the election was unclear in mid-December, at the deadline for naming electors, Republican-controlled legislatures in those states could declare that Trump won and appoint electors supporting him. Or so the theory goes.
The problem, legal experts note, is that the result of the election is not in any way unclear. Biden won all the states at issue. It’s hard to argue the election “failed” when Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security reported it was not tampered with and was “the most secure in American history.” There has been no finding of widespread fraud or problems in the vote count, which shows Biden leading Trump by more than 5 million votes nationally.
Still, I will be happier once popular vote totals are certified and the electoral votes cast. I will be even happier a few minutes after noon on January 20th.