Republican Congressmen Object to States Not Following ‘Constitutional Requirements for Selecting Electors’

By CNSNews.com Staff | January 6, 2021 | 2:35pm EST
Rep. Steve Scalise (Screen Capture)
Rep. Steve Scalise (Screen Capture)

(CNSNews.com) - The counting of Electoral College votes for the president of the United States in a joint session of Congress was interrupted today when Republican members of both the House and Senate objected that some states had not followed the Constitution in selecting their electors.

When the electoral votes for Arizona were brought up as only the third state to be counted, Rep. Paul Gosar (R.-Ariz.) objected to counting them. He was joined by Sen. Ted Cruz (R.-Texas). Their objection required a two-hour debate on the issue.

The House and Senate than broke from their joint session to conduct this debate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) presided over the House debate, where Republican Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana was the first recognized for the debate.

“I rise today to object to a number of states that did not follow the constitutional requirement for selecting electors,” said Scalise.

“This is something that is clear that our Founding Fathers debated about as a fundamental decision about how we choose our president,” he said. “There was a lot of back and forth—if anyone reads the founding documents of our country—about the different versions they went through to ultimately come up with a process where each state has elections, each state has a process for selecting their electors and sending them to Washington.

“And, Madame Speaker, in a number of those states that constitutional process was not followed and that’s why we’re here to object,” said Scalise.

Article II of the Constitution says about the Electoral College: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.”

If you look at what the requirement says, nowhere in Article II, Section I does it give the secretary of state of a state that ability,” said Scalise. “Nowhere does it give the governor that ability. Nowhere does it give a court that ability. It exclusively gives that ability to the legislatures.

“And, in fact, in most states that’s the process that was followed,” said Scalise. “But for those states that this wasn’t followed. Unfortunately, this is not new.

“We have seen—over and over again—more states where the Democrat Party has gone in and selectively gone around this process. That has to end, Madame Speaker. We have to follow the constitutional process,” said Scalise.

“We have to discuss this. We have to fix this,” said Scalise.

“In fact, on our first full day of this Congress, many of us brought legislation on to the House floor to start fixing the problems with our elections, to restore integrity to the election process, which has been lost by so many millions of Americans,” said Scalise. “And, we had a vote.  Every single Republican voted to reform the process. Every single Democrat voted against it.

“They don’t want to fix this problem,” said Scalise.

“But the Constitution is our guide. And it’s time we start following the Constitution,” said Scalise.

“It’s time we get back to what our Founding Fathers said is the process for selecting electors,” said Scalise. “That’s the legislatures, in public view, not behind closed doors, not smoke-filled rooms, not bullying someone who might give you a better ruling. Let’s get back to rule of law and follow the Constitution.”

Here is the full text of Scalise speech on the House floor about some states not following the Constitution in choosing electors:

Rep. Steve Scalise: “Thank you, Madame Speaker. I rise today to object to a number of states that did not follow the constitutional requirement for selecting electors. Madame Speaker, this is something that is clear that our Founding Fathers debated about as a fundamental decision about how we choose our president. There was a lot of back and forth—if anyone reads the founding documents of our country—about the different versions they went through to ultimately come up with a process where each state has elections, each state has a process for selecting their electors and sending them to Washington. And, Madame Speaker, in a number of those states that constitutional process was not followed and that’s why we’re here to object. If you look at what the requirement says, nowhere in Article II, Section I does it give the secretary of state of a state that ability. Nowhere does it give the governor that ability. Nowhere does it give a court that ability. It exclusively gives that ability to the legislatures. And, in fact, in most states that’s the process that was followed. But for those states that this wasn’t followed. Unfortunately, this is not new. We have seen—over and over again—more states where the Democrat Party has gone in and selectively gone around this process. That has to end, Madame Speaker. We have to follow the constitutional process.

"Now, there might be reasons why some people don’t like the process laid out by a legislative body. Madame Speaker, I served on one of those legislative bodies when I was in the state legislature for twelve years. I served on House governmental affairs committee, where we wrote the laws for our state’s elections. And I can tell you when we had to make changes, those were extensively negotiated. We would have people on both sides come—Republicans and Democrats, Madame Speaker, would get together to work through those changes, any minute change: to how a precinct would function, to how a change would be made in the time of an election, signature requirements, all the many things that involve a clerk carrying out the duties in each parish, in our case.

"You would see people come and give testimony, Madame Speaker. Both sides could come. Clerks of court were there in the hearing rooms. It was an open process, by the way. Not behind closed doors in a smoke-filled room, where somebody might want to bully a secretary of state to get a different version that might benefit them or their party or their candidate. That’s not what our Founding Fathers said is the process.  Maybe it’s how some people wanted to carry it out, but they lay it out, that process. So, when we would have to make those changes, they were in public view. They were heavily debated. And then, ultimately, those laws were changed in advance of the elections so everybody knew what the rules were. People on both sides knew how to play the rules before the game started. Not getting somewhere in the process and saying, well, you don’t think it’s going to benefit you so you try to go around the Constitution. That’s not how our system works. It’s gotten out of hand.

"So, President Trump has called this out. And President Trump has stood up to and so many of us have stood up to it. And, in fact, over a hundred of my colleagues, Madame Speaker, asked the Supreme Court to address this problem just a few weeks ago, and, unfortunately, the court chose to punt. They didn’t answer it one way or the other. They did not want to get in the middle of this discussion. We don’t have that luxury today. We have to discuss this. We have to fix this. In fact, on our first full day of this Congress, many of us brought legislation on to the House floor to start fixing the problems with our elections, to restore integrity to the election process, which has been lost by so many millions of Americans. And, we had a vote.  Every single Republican voted to reform the process. Every single Democrat voted against it. They don’t want to fix this problem.

"But the Constitution is our guide. And it’s time we start following the Constitution. It’s time we get back to what our founding fathers said is the process for selecting electors. That’s the legislatures, in public view, not behind closed doors, not smoke-filled rooms, not bullying someone who might give you a better ruling. Let’s get back to rule of law and follow the Constitution, Madame Speaker. And I yield back the balance of my time.”

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