The Last Effort of Pa. House Republicans to Involve State Legislators in Recalling Presidential Election Results

An 11-hour attempt by some Republican members of the Pennsylvania State House appears to have prompted the legislature to intervene directly in the state’s justification for President-elect Joe Biden’s referendum victory here.

A group of members, none of whom are members of the House’s leadership, has drafted a resolution declaring the House’s finding that the outcome of the presidential election is controversial and “urging” Prime Minister Tom Wolf and its Secretary. Kathy Boockvar state to withdraw proof of Biden’s victory.

The resolution alone would not have been binding on Wolf, but supporters hoped it would create a platform and more pressure for further action, including a formal challenge to seat Pennsylvania Democratic Party voters in state members of Congress. delegation; or the efforts within the General Assembly to nominate its own constituents.

But after Saturday’s discussion, it was clear that the house’s efforts would lead nowhere.

House Speaker Bryan Cutler of R-Lancaster County and Kerry Benninghoff, R-Center County Majority Leader, said in a statement issued when the election was disbanded that they agreed that the state’s electoral processes and procedures should be examined from top to bottom. consistency and fairness, but they said there was no time for legislative action on this year’s results and no House would be called back to the session.

Their joint statement read in part:

“Physically, we cannot consider new legislation before the end of the session. A simple resolution takes three legislative days, a simultaneous resolution takes five legislative days in both chambers, which means we do not have time to deal with the new resolutions in our current session. That, according to the state, expires on Monday. constitution.

– Obviously, Pennsylvania’s election process is in dire need of improvement. Our work to ensure a recurrence of the chaos and turmoil of the 2020 elections will continue at the next legislative session. “

According to the unofficial final summary of the state, Biden defeated President Donald J, Trump, with 81,660 votes: 3,459,923 to 3,378,263. will be.

Wolf confirmed the result on Tuesday, giving Biden 20 state voter college votes.

Following Trump’s leadership, some Pennsylvania Republican lawmakers questioned the count, arguing that the election postal mission was played by different rules in some of the state’s most severe democracies, which they said could have inflated Biden’s margin. victory in those areas.

Republicans were also outraged by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s interference in legislative matters when it approved the Wolf Administration’s policy, which allowed mail received at election offices by Friday after election day to be accepted for counting.

Wolf and the courts assumed that the slowdowns generally indicated by the U.S. postal service would occur in the weeks leading up to the vote.

Based on the arguments of the Trump campaign, he has so far not been able to reap significant victories in state or federal courts.

His most recent defeat occurred on Saturday when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed a case alleging that the state’s postal voting provisions passed in 2019 violated the provisions of the state’s constitution.

In their 5-2 decision, the judiciary decided that the challenge should have been taken before the state held the primary and general elections with a new procedure. The two dissidents, both of whom were elected to the court as Republicans, believed the case should be heard on the merits, but even they said they were unwilling to set aside this year’s results as the presidential campaign was fully conducted under the new rules.

Meanwhile, on Friday, the Federal Court of Appeals panel rejected further efforts to block the verification of the Pennsylvania vote. Judge Stephanos Bibas wrote that there was no evidence to support his claim that the 2020 presidential election was unfair.

“The allegations of injustice are serious. But calling the election unfair doesn’t do that yet, ”Bibas wrote in a U.S. Court of Appeals opinion on Round 3. “The awards require specific claims and then proof. He’s not here either.

Members of the House got to work on their legislative resolution after a delegation led by Senator Doug Mastriano of R-Franklin County met with Trump’s legal team in Washington this week to review the strategies.

Midstate MPs who signed the House resolution, Barb Gleim and Greg Rothman MPs, R-Cumberland County; Rob Kauffman and Paul Schemel, R-Franklin County; Russ Diamond and Frank Ryan, R-Lebanon County; Dawn Keefer and Mike Jones, R-York County; and David Zimmerman, County R-Lancaster; and Representative Dan Moul, R-Adams County.

“We just want an election where legal votes count and illegal votes don’t,” Moul told PennLive before Saturday’s only members-only meeting. “We need to get to this point, and if we don’t, I’m afraid this country will be more non-sticky than it is today.

“73 million people in this country want answers and they won’t be satisfied,‘ Well, I don’t think we can do it. “

A federal protest against Pennsylvania voters would require a challenge from at least one senator and one representative from the state congressional delegation. Several members of the Pennsylvania U.S. House delegation may be willing to do so, but U.S. Senator Pat Toomey, R-Allentown, has already stated he saw no evidence that there would be a serious problem with the state census.

Some members of the House of Representatives seemed to work in the belief that the Pennsylvania legislature – which could be passed by dispute settlement in both chambers – could directly interfere with the appointment of Pennsylvania voters, although Moul acknowledged that this was likely to launch a whole new court battle.

This move follows the textbook used by the Florida legislature in the state’s fiercely contested 2000 presidential election in 2000 between George W. Bush and his opponent, former vice president Al Gore.

In this case, both chambers of the legislature passed the same decision, which, according to supporters, give them the right to appoint their own constituents in the event of an unresolved outcome – without the approval of the governor. Their efforts, which would no doubt have sparked their own legal battles, came to a halt when the U.S. Supreme Court completed a further recount and sparked the Bush election.

Pennsylvania Republicans control the legislative movement in Harrisburg, as the GOP has a solid majority in both houses of state, 109-93; and the Senate, 28–21, with an independent. The majority party of each chamber determines what measures to vote for and when.

Nevertheless, it was far from clear that the decision would have passed the State House if a meeting had been held on Monday.

Fans demanded 26 co-sponsors on Saturday afternoon, but probably 110 members of the Republican House of Representatives would have needed 102 to guarantee the passage, as it would be hard to see more than a handful of Democrats, even if they did vote for one.

House leaders, while sympathizing with the concerns of their members, essentially put the issue on Saturday ice with the finding that the sand had run out of hourglasses for legislative action. In some cases, the majority could move forward at a rapid pace and suspend the chamber’s bylaws, but even if that were possible here, it would require super-majority votes that Republicans alone would not be able to do.

Trump supporters are facing a time lag because, under the Pennsylvania Constitution, every legislative session ends on November 30 in even-numbered years. The next session, meanwhile, will not begin after the next January oath, which would take place long after the votes for this year’s electoral college are put together.

Mastriano introduced a slightly stronger resolution in the Senate, but according to chamber sources, GOP majority leaders on Saturday will only be willing to consider returning to the session if the House – which appears to need two days to complete consideration of the resolution and at least Sunday you have to prepare for a committee vote – he moved first.