Hartzler Statement on House Certification of 2020 Election Results
Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (MO-04) issued the following statement as Congress undergoes the Constitutional process of certifying the 2020 presidential election results:
“The assault on the United States Capitol building was appalling and something one would expect from a third world coup – not from people who consider themselves patriots. It was thuggery, plain and simple, and these violators must be punished. What began as a day dedicated to deliberating over our election process quickly turned into one of the darkest days in our nation’s history.
Despite the heartbreaking events of today, we, the representatives of the people, must fulfill our duty to evaluate if the electors were fairly seated according to the Constitution and, if so, to certify the votes. President Trump’s unpresidential remarks today makes it hard to vote to object. However, objecting to some state’s electors is not about President Trump or President-elect Biden. It is about what my Democrat colleague Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee described four years ago when she objected to the counting of electors in the Trump-Clinton race: “This is an American question of justice and fairness and the appropriate running of presidential elections. My goal is to ensure that the principles upon which this nation was built, the whole concept of democracy—one person, one vote—is followed no matter what party prevails.”
The need to ensure election integrity has not changed, and the concerns regarding voter integrity are not washed away because protestors, many of whom supported President Trump, stormed the Capitol today. Therefore, I object to the certification of electors chosen from states that blatantly violated their own election laws. These states usurped power from their state legislatures to change voting procedures. As a result, these state entities violated the Constitution and opened the election to an unprecedented number of serious allegations of voter fraud and irregularities.
Although the media portrays opposition to the certification of electoral votes on the House floor as extreme, the practice is not uncommon. Democrats have objected to every presidential election won by a Republican this entire century, objecting to certification in 2000, 2004, and most recently in 2016, when Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, the national media has once again created a double standard by conveniently overlooking this precedent.
Voters deserve the confidence in the “one person, one vote” principle. They must have the assurance that their vote counts and elections are free and fair. The actions of these states violate their rights, erode confidence, and demand action so these misuses are corrected, and future elections are sure. As the duly elected representative of the people of Missouri’s 4th Congressional district, I swore an oath to protect and defend our Constitution and it is my duty to advocate for those I represent and ensure the Constitution is followed and our nation’s electoral process is preserved for future generations.
If we are to ensure the integrity of elections moving forward, the skirting of election laws cannot be ignored, and it cannot be allowed to happen in the future. An objective review of these anomalies will help ensure voter confidence for future elections, fortifying an important pillar in American democracy. The honesty and integrity of our election process depends on it,” Hartzler said.
During this process, electoral votes from various states are read and certified. The Electoral Count Act, codified in Title 3 of the United States Code, allows Members of Congress to object to the certification of a state’s results if they believe an electoral vote was not “regularly given” and/or the elector was not “lawfully certified” according to state statutory procedures.
In Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Secretary of State’s office issued an unconstitutional guidance that election officials would no longer reject a ballot based on a failure to verify the voter’s signature, undermining statutes requiring signature verification for absentee and mail-in ballots previously passed by the legislature. Additionally, state Democrats were successful in using the COVID-19 pandemic to get the state Supreme Court to extend mail-in ballot deadlines to three days after Election Day without the state legislature’s approval. The Court also unilaterally directed state officials to presume ballots received without a postmark were mailed by Election Day, when the U.S. Constitution gives state legislatures the authority to determine the time, manner, and place of state elections. In doing so, both the Pennsylvania Secretary of State and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court violated Article II of the U.S. Constitution when it usurped state legislative power.
Similarly, in Wisconsin, the state’s executive branch, run by Democrats, issued executive-level rules to circumvent existing state laws requiring absentee voters to provide valid identification prior to receiving a ballot. The non-legislative Wisconsin Elections Commission and other local officials unconstitutionally created “hundreds of drop boxes to collect absentee ballots — including the use of unmanned drop boxes.” The Wisconsin Legislature prohibits the use of drop boxes by mandating that local government may establish an alternate site for absentee ballot delivery but that the site must be staffed as though it were a normal delivery office. There is also a requirement that these ballots be delivered in person or mailed by the elector. Ballots that do not meet these requirements may not be counted under state law.
In Georgia, the state-level Democratic Party reached a settlement with the Office of the Secretary of State that altered the process for signature verification of mail-in and absentee ballots without the consent or the inclusion of the state legislature. Additionally, the Georgia Legislature prohibits the opening of absentee ballots until after the polls open on Election Day. In clear violation of the law, the State Election Board — not the legislature — purported to change Georgia law and allow processing of ballots up to three weeks before Election Day.
Michigan also encountered these same problems. Michigan’s Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson, violated Article II of the U.S. Constitution by setting up a website where voters could request an absentee ballot without providing a signature, contrary to state law. The Secretary of State’s office is also in violation of the U.S. Constitution after it distributed 7.7 million absentee ballot applications, which can only be mailed at the local level by clerks under state law.
In Arizona, at the request of two state officials, a federal court allowed voter registration beyond the deadline passed by the state legislature, including permitting registration after voting had commenced. A dissenting judge noted voters added to the rolls during the extended period “…are not eligible to vote in this election and adding thousands of ineligible voters to the rolls compromises Arizona’s election.” In addition, a sample of questionable Arizona votes raised red flags on potential fraudulent registrations with illegal addresses, out of state residents, and non-U.S. citizens.
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