WASHINGTON (WWNY) - The north country’s congresswoman, Elise Stefanik, says she will join dozens of other Republican members of Congress who plan to contest presidential electors on Wednesday.
“I plan to object to certain contested electors on January 6th,” she said in a statement.
“Tens of millions of Americans are rightly concerned that the 2020 election featured unprecedented voting irregularities, unconstitutional overreach by unelected state officials and judges ignoring state election laws, and a fundamental lack of ballot integrity and security,” she said in her statement.
In an unprecedented move, 100 or more House members and about a dozen senators – all Republicans – say they plan to challenge last month’s Electoral College vote that sealed Joe Biden’s election as president.
“I think it is largely a political move. I don’t think most of these politicians, including Representative Stefanik, believe there’s any actual world in which these things are going to be over-turned,” said Alexander Cohen, Associate Professor of Political Science at Clarkson University.
President Donald Trump and his allies have been claiming widespread fraud – without evidence – since Election Day and have been sowing doubt about the validity of the election.
State elections officials have repeatedly said there were no improprieties. When he was still attorney general, William Barr said the FBI had found no evidence of widespread fraud.
Trump and his allies, however, maintain there are still serious questions about Biden’s win.
“There simply is no evidence for voting fraud, and the argument that there’s voting fraud or that states followed improper procedures is all meant to build a base of political support and make it harder for the incoming president to do his job,” said Cohen.
Wednesday’s vote in the House of Representatives has split the Republican Party.
Former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who early on was a mentor to Stefanik and who raised funds for her at least twice, said in a statement Sunday “Efforts to reject the votes of the Electoral College and sow doubt about Joe Biden’s victory strike at the foundation of our Republic.”
“It is difficult to conceive of a more anti-democratic and anti-conservative act than a federal intervention to overturn the results of state-certified elections and disenfranchise millions of Americans.”
Stefanik has been a staunch Trump supporter. She was sworn in Sunday to her fourth term in the House.
Stefanik’s comments came after an audio tape surfaced of President Trump pressuring state officials in Georgia to “find” enough votes to reverse the results in that state.
Cohen, the political scientist, said that while Wednesday’s vote to upend the election will fail, it is still a big problem, because it could lead to “every time we don’t like who gets elected, we get to say ‘Let’s find some way to reject it.’
“And the amount of dishonesty that surrounds this is really very, very dangerous. Politicians have always lied, but this level of systematic deception is unusual.”
Here is Stefanik’s full statement:
“I am honored every day to represent New York’s 21st Congressional District, and I believe it is my solemn and sacred duty to serve as your voice and your vote in Washington. I swore an oath to protect and defend our Constitution - the utmost duty I perform as a Member of the United States Congress.
“As the Representative for New York’s 21st Congressional District, I plan to object to certain contested electors on January 6th. I do not take this action lightly. I am acting to protect our democratic process. Article II and the Twelfth Amendment of the Constitution make clear that I have an obligation to act on this matter if I believe there are serious questions with respect to the Presidential election.
“I believe those questions exist. Tens of millions of Americans are rightly concerned that the 2020 election featured unprecedented voting irregularities, unconstitutional overreach by unelected state officials and judges ignoring state election laws, and a fundamental lack of ballot integrity and security.
“To the tens of thousands of constituents and patriots across the country who have reached out to me in the past few weeks - please know that I hear you. The most precious foundation and covenant of our Republic is the right to vote, and consequently, the faith in the sanctity of our nation’s free and fair elections.
“As a Member of Congress, I am committed to restoring the faith of the American people in our elections - that they are free, fair, secure, and according to the United States Constitution.