There is no failure when you have done your job.
This is how a midstate congressman described his decision to vote against the proposed certification of the Pennsylvania electoral college’s 20 votes for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday.
Fred Keller, R-Snyder County Rep. Is one of eight members of the 18-member House delegation from Pennsylvania who have stated that they have disapproved of what they believe to be inappropriate changes to electoral procedures by both the Wolf Administration and the Colonel Pennsylvania Court of Justice which caused disagreement in its administration.
Keller said Monday he wasn’t trying to say Biden didn’t win; The difference is that, in his opinion, the game was not played by the rules of the US and Pennsylvania constitutions.
The appeals filed during certification on Wednesday will almost certainly remain unsuccessful.
Both chambers would have to agree to reject the votes of one state. Democrats who will back Biden as a bloc will have a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, and many Republicans are expected to split with holdouts on confirming the presidential results, including R-Bucks County Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.
The objections are also not expected to be accepted in the Republican-controlled US Senate, where high-ranking GOP leaders like Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky have not supported the effort.
But most of the members of the Pennsylvania GOP delegation say they are eager to stand here principally because they believe they are right.
“I’m not doing this because one person won and the other didn’t,” said Keller in a telephone interview on Monday. These are fights that are fought in different arenas.
“I do this because we have a Constitution, and I have sworn to uphold that Constitution. And if I sit by and do nothing, what would give anyone on both sides of this issue the confidence that I would stand up for them if the government came and tried to take over their rights? “
The Republicans, of course, get a lot of criticism for their stance, especially from the Democrats. But there are also a growing number of GOP officials who are extremely critical of the move, given the signs that the problem is driving a huge wedge into their party.
In Pennsylvania, U.S. Senator Pat Toomey released a statement Saturday saying he supports this week’s certifications and appealed to his colleagues to reconsider their fight, which he believes will result in elected officials getting their verdict replace with that of the voters.
“I acknowledge that, as with all elections, there were irregularities in this final election,” Toomey said in part. “But the evidence is overwhelming that Joe Biden won this election. His narrow win in Pennsylvania can easily be explained by the decline in suburban support for President Trump and the president’s slightly lower victory margins in most of the rural counties.
“I voted for President Trump and supported him for re-election. But on Wednesday I intend to vigorously defend our form of government by opposing these efforts to disenfranchise millions of voters in my state and other states. “
US Ben Sasse, a Republican from Nebraska, has called the objection a “dangerous ploy” aimed at disenfranchising millions of Americans, “accusing opponents of trying to advance their own careers at the expense of the truth by Trump’s “populist” base. “
There is no doubt that the opposition to certification is politically popular for most members of the Pennsylvania Republican House of Representatives, many of whom represent trusted Republican counties that won strong majorities for President Donald J. Trump this fall.
Dozens of buses have been chartered to take Pennsylvaners to Washington DC on Wednesday to attend pro-Trump rallies against certification.
Biden won the national referendum by more than seven million votes and holds a solid 306-232 lead on the key electoral college.
The votes in Congress scheduled for Wednesday will take place after each state in the country has confirmed its respective election results after verifying their accuracy. Courts across the country, including a Conservative majority Supreme Court, have also denied nearly 60 attempts by Trump and his allies to challenge the results.
But Trump has refused to admit the race and has embarked on a desperate two-month campaign to pressure state officials and go to war in court to try to reach a different conclusion. The most recent example was a Saturday afternoon phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asking him to double-check the results there.
In Pennsylvania, where Biden scored a referendum victory of just over 80,000 votes, opposing Congressmen say the electoral process was tainted by:
- Orders from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court to extend the deadline for receiving ballots by three days to the Friday following the November 3rd election day specified by state law. A majority in the court said it was ordering the extension because of well-documented problems with the US postal service. The ballot papers still had to be stamped by November 3rd.
- Instructions from Wolf’s Secretary of State, Kathy Boockvar, dated November 2, authorizing notifications from postal or postal votes whose ballot papers contained technical errors, such as forgetting a signature or a date, so that they could either correct the mistake or put provisional ballots at the polls . Some districts followed, others did not, and respondents say that and other issues such as allowing direct mailboxes for elections resulted in elections being conducted according to different procedures in different parts of the state.
- Separate guidance from Boockvar, later upheld by the State Court, relaxed the requirements for signature-matching of ballot papers with voter registration records, something the appellants believe is routinely required of voters who vote in person.
In all of these areas – some of which are still standing before the U.S. Supreme Court for possible post-election review – Keller and his colleagues say Wolf’s office, the court, or both are the black and white provisions of those set by lawmakers Electoral rules.
“This very unfortunate, volatile and troubling situation is due to a lack of respect and esteem for the law and the US Constitution and the state of Pennsylvania,” the GOP congressmen wrote in a joint statement last week in which they first started announced their intention to oppose certification.
“In addition, the failure of the Pennsylvania judicial system to seek the truth rather than remain silent has resulted in these irregular, unlawful acts generating a high level of suspicion in the trial as well as a potentially erroneous outcome,” the statement said. “If there is an American ideal that all citizens, regardless of party affiliation, can agree on, then we must have electoral integrity. Electoral integrity is the only way to ensure confidence in our elections and is achieved through compliance with our constitution and the law. “
Efforts to reach Wolf’s office for a response were unsuccessful at the time this report went to press.
Keller, whose 12th district includes Mifflin, Juniata and Perry counties, said certification backers’ claims that Republican objections undermine our popular election system were so much political exaggeration.
Anything the objectors do, he says, is exercising their voting rights, just as some Democrats in Congress did after the 2004 election of former President George W. Bush. Critics of the current effort point out that in this Democratic case the candidate John Kerry had conceded and was not actively seeking ways to reverse the count.
“I need to be able to look the people I work for in the eyes and say, ‘Did I do my job? Or not? ‘… And guess what, I did it, ”said Keller.
US MP John Joyce, a Republican from Blair County, whose 13th borough includes Franklin, Adams, and western Cumberland Counties, announced his opposition to certification last week, stating, “We cannot have truly free and fair elections, unless American voters have confidence in the results. ” In Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf’s unlawful acts – coupled with hastily passed Law 77 – obscured this year’s election and fueled a maddened distrust in the system …
“For the sake of our freedom and our American values, I will stand up for President Trump – and our American democracy – by speaking on March 6th.
PennLive also reached out to three other mid-state Congressmen on Monday who supported the Biden Certification objections – Reps Scott Perry, R-York County, Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster County, and Dan Meuser, R-Luzerne County – but they failed to achieve you.
Other Pennsylvania House members who signed the joint statement included Reps. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Allegheny County, GT Thompson, R-Center County, and Mike Kelly, R-Butler County.