1, The People's Right to Fair Elections. 2, The Law and the State Cannot Condone Fraud.
3, Civil vs. Criminal law. 4, Checks and Balances, Due Process. 5, Difficulties and Solutions. General Discussion. Highlights Discussion. Conclusions and Proposals. Pence's Letter.
Jan. 14. 2021.
1. The Right to Fair Elections.
- The People have an inalienable right to a fair and true election, and this right overrides legal formalities.
- If this right is denied them in the first instance, they have the right to demand it in a repeat election.
- Scientific certainty is based on repeatable results, not on opinion and hearsay back and forth.
- Runoffs with anti-fraud safeguards are the only clear way to eliminate fraud beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Allegations of major irregularities and counter-arguments are conjectures without conclusive proof either way.
- A disputed election, resolved by a runoff, is similar to a mistrial, which is remedied by a retrial.
- The decisions on January 6th to certify doubtful results are likewise to be viewed as mistakes to be corrected.
- When a thing is broken, the remedy is to fix it, not just discuss it or let it be.
- The Trump campaign should have done more to emphasize the need for repeat elections, to show their good faith, confidence in the mandate of the people, and support for citizen democracy.
- Runoff elections are the only constitutionally valid solution; see 4, Checks and Balances below.
2, It is an impossibility for the law, and an offense for an individual or an institution, to condone fraud.
- Neither civil nor criminal law may give protection for crimes, such as fraud.
- Every citizen who has knowledge of crimes has the right and the duty to expose and oppose them.
- By assenting to or facilitating fraud, one becomes an accomplice thereto.
- Vice President Pence clearly stated to Congress his concerns about irregularities, illegalities and integrity of the election.
- Yet he then gave the election into the hands of Congress, which is controlled by the party suspected of fraud.
- Thus -- if there was indeed fraud -- Pence knowingly facilitated its completion.
- This self-contradiction cannot have the color of law.
- His proper course was an estoppel -- to refuse to move forward until the disputed electoral results were cleared, and brought from the realm of suspected criminal matters to bona fide civil ones.
3, The Distinction between Civil and Criminal Law.
- A fraudulent matter must first be made whole before it can be the subject of the normal civil procedure.
- Civil laws apply to bona fide matters. Crimes such as fraud fall outside this scope.
- Civil laws, such as the Constitution, are not expected to specify procedures for criminal matters, much as in a contract for payment for goods in cash, it is understood that the notes may not be counterfeit.
- The Supreme Court improperly dismissed the fraud complaint by the State of Texas; standing is a principle in civil matters, while fraud is a criminal matter which it is everyone's duty to report. By its dismissal, the Court failed in its fundamental duty to oppose fraud on a constitutional scale.
4, Checks and Balances, Due Process
- The two-party system has no place in the Constitution; "faction" was seen as a great evil by the Framers.
- Because of the party system, the Constitutional rules for handling objections to electoral votes tend to result in a violation of due process:
- The decision to accept the vote was given to the Democratic party that controls Congress, while it was also the object of the fraud allegations – making it judge, jury and defendant all in one.
- With the Republicans as plaintiffs and the Democrats as defendants, Congress was cast in the multiple roles of plaintiff, defendant, judge and jury, and could not justly be an arbiter for the people. It had to recuse itself.
- Such gross violations of due process are the antithesis of the Constitutional principle of checks and balances, and cannot be the intent of the framers of the Constitution.
- Amendment IX states, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." This certainly includes the people's right to due process and fair elections!
- Moreover, as noted in (2), no law can be legitimately applied to facilitate fraud. The written law cannot override natural law, nor be applied in contradiction to the intent of the law, nor to perpetrate an injustice.
- Congressional approval of the electoral results on January 6th was invalidated by these violations of due process and of Constitutional checks and balances.
- For VP Pence to reject the disputed votes and throw the election to the 12th Amendment would have also been invalid, by making the Republicans both plaintiff and judge.
- The appointment of the President of the Senate (the Vice President) to count the electoral college votes is not a mere formality, but is a check or brake against fraud. To count or to halt the count is essential to his function. To hold the count in abeyance pending verification is his legitimate duty.
- If it is argued that the Vice President of the Senate should have little power, then should he have the power to allow a violation of due process?
- In a fraudulent or disputed election, the system breaks down at the state and county level, yet this threatens the integrity of the highest federal office, the Presidency. The party system is embedded at all levels.
- The 12th Amendment provides a check against a faction within individual states overriding the will of the majority of states.
5, Difficulties to Overcome and Possible Solutions.
- Fraud Allegations Far in Excess of the Reported Margin of Victory
- Practical and Political Difficulties of Post-election Forensics: Where are the Impartial Experts and Judges?
- The Evils of Faction: Partisanship at all Levels of Government, and in the Media
- Powers of the Supreme Court: SCOTUS Frequently Rules on State Electoral Procedures
- Mandate Hand Ballot Runoffs in Districts with Improbably High Voter Participation before Proceeding to Statewide Runoffs.
- Looking Ahead: Self Auditing Tallies, an Effective Remedy against Electoral Fraud
When there are serious allegations of fraud, there need to be repeat elections, and until then, there is a duty not to certify doubtful results.
Efforts to question the count in court were inconclusive, and could be viewed as an end-run. It needed to go back to the people first.
The 12th Amendment provides for checks and balances between the power of the States and of Congress in selecting the President.
It's an awful feeling for a team to lose. It's also a time to review what mistakes were made.
What the Republicans had to do starting in November was to campaign strongly for a rerun of the presidential race in the contested states. Popular opinion could have supported that, because it's only fair play and the fair way to handle any disputed contest.
If the states refused, then the House would have the necessary justification to invoke the 12th Amendment, where the Vice President rejects the tally of the Electoral College and the House decides the outcome, by each state delegation casting one vote. This provision is one of the checks and balances in the Constitution. The Republic is a confederation of sovereign states, which elect a President, and the 12th Amendment is a protection against a faction gaining control of the vote in a few large states, overriding the will of a majority of the states. As America splits into urban and rural regions, we may need to start taking this Amendment seriously.
Nonetheless, the VP and the Republican state delegations found it difficult to invoke the 12th, because it would look too much like a coup -- one fraud against another. It needed to be underpinned by showing eagerness to buttress the fraud allegations by putting the vote to the test again. It is also politically risky to depend on seldom-used provisions. A winning strategy needs to be robust and popularly seen to be rightful.
Trump and Pence had to persistently ask for a new vote with anti-fraud provisions, one without mail-in ballots, also due to time constraints. Too great a delay affects our national security -- can we afford a prolonged constitutional crisis? The President and can't force states to hold runoff elections, of course, the states should do it themselves. It's all about political legitimacy.
There was a lot of speculation about what the Constitution says, but even the highest laws only apply to bona fide results, not to protect fraud. And there is no way one could prove the true result beyond a reasonable doubt by audits or investigations or lawsuits, especially with voting machines. It was too close, the allegations too great. The only way to ascertain the will of the people in those States is to let them vote again, with proper safeguards, such as proposed by the Carter-Baker Commission and by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. With millions of votes to audit, fraud is not easy to prove or punish after the fact. Ordinary auditing methods are not at all suited to discovering fraud.
On January 6, VP Pence said it should be decided by the people's representatives (of which he is one), instead of asking it to be put first to a fair and fraud-free vote by the people themselves.
Here is what he could have announced to Congress instead:
1. The protection of the laws does not apply to fraud. Underlying every law there is a presumption of bona fides -- a basic legal principle.
2. That he as VP cannot accept those electoral votes in dispute until there are secure and trustworthy run-off elections, because this is the only way to prove the validity of the outcomes beyond a reasonable doubt.
3. The presidential election result is postponed until action is taken by a sufficient number of states to verify 270 indisputable electoral votes.
4. The runoff should be with hand ballots only, on presentation of official photo identification. No voting machines and no mail-ins. Because any significant variance between hand ballots and mail ballots will again be suspect, mail-in ballots can only confuse the effort to confirm the true will of the people.
5. Pence could have suggested forming a bipartisan Electoral Commission to organize the runoff elections. Runoff elections were the only way. You can't discover the truth of the matter when you start from bad data.
This option was little discussed. Michael Flynn called for it, in overly military style, when he suggested that Trump could declare martial law, and force a rerun of elections in swing states, but this was seen as undemocratic and unconstitutional. More diplomatically, by insistently calling for runoffs, Trump would be seen as the defender of democracy and the Constitution, forcing the states to show that they feared the outcome, while he was confident of victory. Thus the Republicans might have acquired the moral authority to invoke the 12th Amendment, or at the very least, postpone the certification of the electors, until the runoff issue was decided.
This is not the last time we'll see attempts to steal elections in our Republic. Let this be a lesson for learning how to eliminate electoral fraud.
Discussion of Highlights
1, The People's Right to Fair Elections.
In the 2005 report of the Commission on Federal Election Reform, Chairmen Jimmy Carter and James Baker called for safeguards to make sure every real vote counts -- and only every real vote. Strict voter ID requirements, restrictions on mail-in voting, maintaining accurate voter registration lists, allowing election observers to monitor the count, and ensuring the accuracy of voting machines were among the 87 recommendations.
According to FrontPageMag.com, "Beginning more than a year ago, Democrats filed nearly 300 lawsuits in dozens of states -- most notably all of the key battleground states -- in an effort to change election laws and regulations in ways that would benefit Democrat candidates. For example, they sought to: (a) extend the statutory deadlines by which mail-in ballots could be submitted, postmarked, or received by election authorities; (b) permit people to vote earlier than ever before, in some cases as many as 50 days prior to Election Day; (c) eliminate signature, signature-verification, and witness requirements for mail-in ballots; (d) void state laws that disallowed ballot harvesting by third parties; (e) terminate photo-ID requirements for in-person voting; (f) introduce provisions that would allow for the “curing” of mail-in ballots that contained errors or omissions; and (g) require state election officials to send unsolicited mail-in ballots to every person listed as a registered voter, even though such lists have long been notoriously inaccurate. ... Though the Democrats did not get everything that they wanted, they got most of it."
The article, "Yes, It Was a Stolen Election -- You’d have to be blind not to see it," also lists many of the fraud allegations, and statistical indicators that raise doubts about the results. Have these claims been debunked? Reuters tackled the report on vote spikes that switched the vote on election night, for example, it notes that this happened in Wisconsin when Milwaukee County "reported its 170,000 absentee votes, which were overwhelmingly Democrat" – not too reassuring. Their verdict is inconclusive and speculative. FactCheck.org published "Nine Election Fraud Claims, None Credible," saying the alleged anomalies in counting practices are normal. They also refuted a report that Dominion voting machines are designed to allow fraud.
Yet the evidence on ballot-harvesting and paid vote-buying is irrefutable. How widespread was it? A Texan named Raquel Rodriguez was just arrested for vote-buying after she told Project Veritas all about it on video. And according to Judicial Watch, "In 378 U.S. counties, voter registration rates exceed 100% of the adult population."
We do not have the hard numbers we need to confirm such close results. Scientific knowledge relies on empirical, observable evidence from repeatable experiments or trials, and this is what we propose.
What to do if there are unfounded claims of fraud? There is skepticism in many quarters about the allegations of fraud made in the 2020 election. Certainly there needs to be a check against frivolous claims of fraud, and this should not be hard to do. First of all runoff elections are already required in many states when the vote is close, although not usually with added fraud safeguards. Secondly, it is possible to focus high-integrity runoff voting tests first on one or more counties, districts or precincts that display the greatest irregularities, to assess the likelihood that fraud may have tipped the statewide outcome. More on this in (5) below.
2, The Law and the State Cannot Condone Fraud.
In his January 6th opinion on his constitutional duty, Pence did note serious concerns about election fraud, but seemed to have no idea what to do about it, or was afraid to tackle it.
It is the duty of every official, indeed every citizen, to assist in exposing fraud, and not to aid and abet it. The law does not give protection to fraud, nor can it be used to do so.
These are basic and fundamental principles, which need not be repeated explicitly in each piece of legislation.
Some legal scholars might overlook the fact that all laws, including the Constitution, are written to govern normal, bona fide matters, and do not digress upon the special case of fraud. There is no need to try and tease out any special provision for fraud from the Constitution, as it is a charter of civil law. One must simply apply common law and common sense principles to fill the "gap" which is no gap in the law: it is a space for us to take action needed to restore the matter to a bona fide basis.
According to theconversation.com, Pence faced "a choice between fidelity to the Constitution and fidelity to Trump." Stating a problem as a dilemma is a perfect way to exclude other, better choices. There is also fidelity to truth, and fidelity to the people. There is a third way between rejecting and accepting the doubtful electoral votes. It is finding the truth about the real will of the voters.
Pence should have delayed certification until such time as the Supreme Court or the States took action to ensure the election was fair. The 12th Amendment foresees the process of certification lasting as long as March 4th.
Having noted fraud concerns, Pence mistakenly excused himself from any right or duty to do anything about them. He acted improperly by abdicating responsibility and turning over the count to the Congress, which was certain to reject all objections, since it requires a majority of both houses to sustain them, and the Democrats could and did vote them down.
Pence's references to the election of 1876 cited a very bad precedent, one that showed the need for run-off elections, and the fact that Congress and even Supreme Court justices will vote on party lines. (See the Endnote on the Election of 1876, and the Appendix, Pence's Letter to Congress of January 6th, 2021.)
3, The Distinction between Civil and Criminal Law.
In the civil law of contracts, for instance, there is no need to state that when payment is in cash, counterfeit bills are not honored. This is understood. Counterfeiting is a crime governed by the criminal code, which is separate from the civil code. The Constitution is essentially a civil code. We cannot expect it to provide procedures for dealing with fraud. This rests with the citizens, representatives and officers who have a fundamental responsibility to take the necessary measures to prevent the success of a fraudulent election. Yet when the representatives are themselves suspected beneficiaries of fraud, they are not competent to rule on the matter.
The Supreme Court improperly dismissed the electoral fraud complaint by the state of Texas. The Court ruled that Texas had no standing, but standing is a criterion of civil litigation. Fraud is a crime, and in criminal law, to report wrongdoing to the authorities is not only a universal right, it is every citizen's duty. To condone the cover-up of a crime is to facilitate it, making one effectively an accessory. The Supreme Court should reverse its decision on the Texas complaint and consider it together with that of President Trump.
4, Checks and Balances, Due Process.
Since one party controls both houses of Congress, and many statehouses as well, there needs to be certainty, or at least bipartisan agreement, that the vote was fair before Congress can exercise its prerogative of denying objections and approving electoral results. The framers of the Constitution regarded "Faction" as an evil, and were opposed to any role at all for political parties, which tend to be corrupt cartels for the control of political power.
Is Trump being punished as an outsider to a corrupt two-in-one party system? He supposedly lost while increasing his total vote over 2016, yet the Republican Party did quite well. "May the best cheater win" -- is that the motto?
In the fraud allegations, the plaintiff was the Republican Donald Trump, and the defendant or suspected perpetrator was in essence the Democratic Party. Since the Democrats controlled the House, letting them dismiss the accusations against themselves was a gross violation of due process. For Pence merely to decertify state results would likewise have violated due process, because it would go to a Republican judge (the House delegations with one vote per state) finding for the Republican plaintiff. This lack of due process would violate the principle of checks and balances. It would allow any party that controlled the office of Vice-President and a majority of house delegations to overturn elections, even by unsubstantiated allegations of fraud.
If, however, the contested states refused to remove the cause for complaint in good faith and beyond a reasonable doubt, by holding repeat elections with anti-fraud safeguards -- this would be akin to contempt of court. The Vice President would then be justified in rejecting their votes, or the Supreme Court could order compliance.
5, Difficulties to Overcome and Possible Solutions.
Although the conduct of elections at the state level is a power reserved to the states, the Supreme Court has frequently ruled on these matters, and might order the states in dispute to guarantee fair repeat elections, along the lines recommended by the Commission on Federal Election Reform. In the past, SCOTUS rulings on state conduct of elections have mostly expanded the vote. This has gone too far, when ghosts can outvote the citizenry. For a fair election, one must consider quality and accuracy, as well as quantity.
There is a fairly simple way to ensure that votes are not switched during the count. Each ballot is numbered and the voter receives a stub with the number on it. Text files of all the ballot numbers and the way each ballot was voted can be posted online, with totals by precinct and district. Anyone will be able to check online that their ballot was counted as cast: a simple, open-source, self-auditing vote tally system. This system can be combined with Tulsi Gabbard's bill H.R.1946 requiring paper receipts for voting machines.
An open-source tally by ballot number will protect against authentic votes being changed, but not against ghost voting. The only way to ensure voters exist is for them to physically present and identify themselves at the poll station. Because of Covid19, the Carter Center suggested in 2020 that "where safeguards for ballot integrity are in place," such as prohibitions on ballot harvesting, mail-in votes could be relatively fraud-free, but we need a higher degree of probity now. https://www.cartercenter.org/news/pr/2020/united-states-050620.html
We can anticipate that a mandate for a runoff election with hand ballots only will be attacked, among other things, as a risk of spreading Covid 19. Yet essential services and stores are open, and what could be more essential than electoral integrity? The risk can be mitigated in various ways, such as appointment scheduling, social distancing for walk ins, and staying open more than one day if needed.
The fake vote question can be addressed by sampling: hand-ballot runoffs in a few areas with the abnormally highest ratio of votes to the number of registered voters. If the new results under these controlled conditions are very close to the original tally, both in total numbers and the voting preference, then fraud is unlikely -- especially if the percentage spread between candidates in the sample does not change much, or not enough to reverse the margin of victory in the original vote.
Was there significant fraud? It depends who you ask, and the opinions follow party lines. Pence thought there was. Trey Trainor, the chairman of the Federal Election Commission, thought so too. The mainstream media and social media giants ridicule the idea.
There are practical problems with a remedy in the courts. The volume of data involved -- millions of votes -- makes it difficult to apply forensic methods, and also to convince people of the outcome. The best remedy for a botched performance is to do it right the second time. If the new, fraud-proof tally still gives Biden victory, then the fears of fraud will be unsubstantiated. We will also have established an important new precedent for reliably testing electoral integrity. If the new tally changes the outcome, then it may be time to overturn the election result, and to investigate and press charges against those responsible for fraud, even treason.
Conclusions and Proposals.
The certification of the election on January 6th was unconstitutional, because it followed procedures that apply only to bona fide election results. The protections of the laws do not extend to fraud. There must first be reasonable assurance that the results are free of any significant fraud.
The certification also violated due process, since it gave the decision into the hands of the party suspected of fraud.
Thus the election certification was a mistrial. If fraud took place on the scale alleged, then the election was also a mistrial. The remedy in both cases is a retrial.
The Ninth Amendment is an escape clause stipulating that the provisions of the Constitution shall not be construed to deny the rights retained by the people -- such as the right to due process and fair elections.
The people and the federal government are principals, who have delegated the election of their officials to the states, who are their agents. The principal always has the right to have the work done to the standards of probity. What must prevail is the realization that if work has been done wrong, it must be put right.
Three branches of government have evidently failed to ensure our right to fair elections: the Congress, certain states, and even the Executive, in the person of the Vice-President.
The branch that can repair the loss now is the Supreme Court judiciary. It can mandate new elections in cases where there are major allegations of fraud and a narrow apparent margin of victory.
It may do this on its own, or by a number of its justices joining a bipartisan Electoral Commission together with Congress, as was done in 1876, but with one major difference. Rather than trying to adjudicate the outcome itself, the Commission should identify precincts or states that are most in need of repeat voting.
For this purpose, the Federal Election Commission should publish a tabulation by precinct for the contested swing states, comparing the results between 2016 and 2020, giving percentages of voter turnout, and of votes for each party and presidential candidate, broken down by in-person, mail-in and absentee ballots, in order to confirm or allay the suspicions raised, and to identify which precincts are most in need of repeat voting.
To expedite matters, it is best to use hand ballots only. Extra measures are needed against vote buying and for monitoring and secrecy of voting, especially in the trial precincts.
Going forward, Congress should pass the anti-fraud measures recommended by Tulsi Gabbard and the Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform.
Endnote on 1876
It is hard to imagine a worse precedent than the election of 1876 to support Pence's plea for the primacy of "the people's representatives" in interpreting the will of the people themselves, without any delay for fraud investigations. In 1876, Democrat Samuel Tilden won the popular vote with a lead of 3%, but with allegations of fraud on both sides, it was impossible to tell who had really won in the Electoral College. The two parties made a backroom deal, giving the Presidency to the Republican Rutherford Hayes, in exchange for concessions like removing the last remaining Federal troops from the South.
A 15-member bipartisan Electoral Commission of 10 members of Congress and 5 Supreme Court Justices was set up to adjudicate the returns from the four contested states. In a series of 8-7 decisions, voting strictly on party lines, they gave all four states to Hayes, handing him a one-vote margin in the Electoral College. The Republican Justice Bradley on the Commission cast the deciding votes. His opinion on the matter is thus hardly impartial. Pence quotes Bradley as saying the role of President of the Senate is only "ministerial." A minister is an important office, certainly enough for a duty which every citizen has, that is to prevent fraud. Indeed, the President pro tempore of the Senate presided over the Electoral Commission that Bradley sat on in 1876. By precedent, Pence could have presided over a commission working to resolve the disputes of the election of 2020.
As a precedent also, the election debacle of 1876 supports our thesis here: that Congress cannot be entrusted with the adjudication of an election under a two-party system; that attempts to correct the count through investigations into fraud generally prove frustrating and futile; and that runoffs in states with a very close vote should have been instituted as the solution then and there. We can do it now.
Appendix. Text of VP Pence's Statement to Congress, January 6th, 2021
THE VICE PRESIDENT WASHINGTON
January 6, 2021
Today, for the 59th time in our Nation’s history, Congress will convene in Joint Session to count the electoral votes for President of the United States. Under our Constitution, it will be my duty as Vice President and as President of the Senate to serve as the presiding officer.
After an election with significant allegations of voting irregularities and numerous instances of officials setting aside state election law, I share the concerns of millions of Americans about the integrity of this election. The American people choose the American President, and have every right under the law to demand free and fair elections and a full investigation of electoral misconduct. As presiding officer, I will do my duty to ensure that these concerns receive a fair and open hearing in the Congress of the United States. Objections will be heard, evidence will be presented, and the elected representatives of the American people will make their decision.
Our Founders created the Electoral College in 1787, and it first convened in 1789. With the advent of political parties, the Electoral College was amended in 1804 to provide that Electors vote separately for President and Vice President. Following a contentious election in 1876, with widespread allegations of fraud and malfeasance, Congress spent a decade establishing rules and procedures to govern the counting of electoral votes and the resolution of any objections.
During the 130 years since the Electoral Count Act was passed, Congress has, without exception, used these formal procedures to count the electoral votes every four years.
Given the controversy surrounding this year’s election, some approach this year’s quadrennial tradition with great expectation, and others with dismissive disdain. Some believe that as Vice President, I should be able to accept or reject electoral votes unilaterally. Others believe that electoral votes should never be challenged in a Joint Session of Congress.
After a careful study of our Constitution, our laws, and our history, I believe neither view is correct.
The President is the chief executive officer of the Federal Government under our Constitution, possessing immense power to impact the lives of the American people. The Presidency belongs to the American people, and to them alone. When disputes concerning a presidential election arise, under Federal law, it is the people’s representatives who review the evidence and resolve disputes through a democratic process.
Our Founders were deeply skeptical of concentrations of power and created a Republic based on separation of powers and checks and balances under the Constitution of the United States.
Vesting the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide presidential contests would be entirely antithetical to that design. As a student of history who loves the Constitution and reveres its Framers, I do not believe that the Founders of our country intended to invest the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress, and no Vice President in American history has ever asserted such authority. Instead, Vice Presidents presiding over Joint Sessions have uniformly followed the Electoral Count Act, conducting the proceedings in an orderly manner even where the count resulted in the defeat of their party or their own candidacy.
As Supreme Court Justice Joseph Bradley wrote following the contentious election of 1876, “the powers of the President of the Senate are merely ministerial... He is not invested with any authority for making any investigation outside of the Joint Meeting of the two Houses... [I]f any examination at all is to be gone into, or any judgment exercised in relation to the votes received, it must be performed and exercised by the two Houses.” More recently, as the former U.S. Court of Appeals Judge J. Michael Luttig observed, “[t]he only responsibility and power of the Vice President under the Constitution is to faithfully count the Electoral College votes as they have been cast,” adding “[t]he Constitution does not empower the Vice President to alter in any way the votes that have been cast, either by rejecting certain votes or otherwise.”
It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not.
While my role as presiding officer is largely ceremonial, the role of the Congress is much different, and the Electoral Count Act of 1887 establishes a clear procedure to address election controversies when they arise during the count of the vote of the Electoral College. Given the voting irregularities that took place in our November elections and the disregard of state election statutes by some officials, I welcome the efforts of Senate and House members who have stepped forward to use their authority under the law to raise objections and present evidence.
As presiding officer, I will ensure that any objections that are sponsored by both a Representative and a Senator are given proper consideration, and that all facts supporting those objections are brought before the Congress and the American people. Those who suggest that raising objections under the Electoral Count Act is improper or undemocratic ignore more than 130 years of history, and fail to acknowledge that Democrats raised objections in Congress each of the last three times that a Republican candidate for President prevailed.
Today it will be my duty to preside when the Congress convenes in Joint Session to count the votes of the Electoral College, and I will do so to the best of my ability. I ask only that Representatives and Senators who will assemble before me approach this moment with the same sense of duty and an open mind, setting politics and personal interests aside, and do our part to faithfully discharge our duties under the Constitution. I also pray that we will do so with humility and faith, remembering the words of John Quincy Adams, who said, “Duty is ours; results are God’s.”