WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWNY) - North country congresswoman Elise Stefanik will join more than a hundred other Republicans in the House of Representatives today in contesting the results of November’s presidential election.
Specifically, Stefanik will object to the “electors” from four key states won by Joe Biden - Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Stefanik says she is joining the challenge because she believes “there are serious questions with respect to the Presidential election.”
That’s despite the fact that President Trump has lost dozens of legal challenges, recounts in the states have upheld Biden’s victory and there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
That has not stopped Stefanik from repeating the claims of unfairness.
To take only one state, Pennsylvania, Stefanik argues, “the Democratic State Supreme Court and Secretary of State unilaterally and unconstitutionally rewrote election law eliminating signature matching requirements.”
But on the issue of “signature matching,” the Pennsylvania state Supreme Court decided there was nothing in the state’s election code that allowed ballots to be rejected based only on signature comparisons, and if the state’s lawmakers wanted one, they would have included it. (Our source for that is Politico, which links to the actual opinion by the judges, so you can read it for yourself.) The decision was made by five Democrats and two Republicans.
Stefanik also claims: “They arbitrarily allowed late arriving ballots to be counted even though doing so explicitly ignored and broke state election law. "
But when it comes to “late arriving ballots,” the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled ballots could be counted if they were received by 5 PM November 6, three days after election day, as long as they were mailed by election day. And the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the decision.
Finally, Stefanik argues “duly credentialed election observers were not allowed to observe voting and the counting of the vote - another unconstitutional act.”
Yet a judge nominated by President Trump himself swatted away the poll watcher argument.
To quote from the judge’s decision: “... nothing in the Due Process Clause requires having poll watchers or representatives, let alone watchers from outside a county or less than eighteen feet away from the nearest table.
“The Campaign cites no authority for those propositions, and we know of none. (Ditto for notice-and-cure procedures.) And the Campaign litigated and lost that claim under state law too.
“The Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that the Election Code requires only that poll watchers be in the room, not that they be within any specific distance of the ballots.”
That judge said of the allegations about voting in Pennsylvania: “Free, fair elections are the lifeblood of democracy. Charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here.”
And that’s just Pennsylvania.
The objections Stefanik and others will make Wednesday means the ordinarily quick process of accepting the vote of the electoral college will take hours.
Ultimately, because Democrats hold a majority in the House of Representatives and because Democrats and Republicans opposed to overturning the election are a majority in the Senate, what Stefanik and others are attempting will not succeed.
But the claims Stefanik and others are making will further the belief held by many Americans that - despite a lack of evidence - the November election was somehow rigged against President Trump.
And it will further the already deep divide in the country between supporters of the president and others, whether they are Democrats or Republicans opposed to President Trump.