If you are following the news regarding the ongoing election results controversy, you will have noted some very powerful testimony offered by whistleblowers appearing before state legislatures around the country. The picture painted of rampant abuse of the electoral process, an almost complete lack of security surrounding votes cast and arrogance on the part of officials supervising the polling places is shocking in the extreme.
Perhaps what you may not have noticed is that no such hearings are taking place in Pennsylvania. That’s because the entire legislature in Harrisburg adjourned on the 30th of November. The members went home. They won’t come back until January after this whole matter will very likely have been decided one way or the other.
Both houses of Pennsylvania’s legislature are controlled by Republicans. Most of these individuals have professed publicly for the last four years that they stand with President Trump and his agenda. And, yet, in this hour, with the fate of the nation on the line, they walked away, washed their hands and decided to sit this fight out.
Republican leadership in Harrisburg has claimed its hands are tied. current session of the legislature was due to end on the 30th of November, the new session does not start, by law, until the first Tuesday in January. Yes, they admit, there were noises made in both the Senate and the House about declaring the election in dispute, but there was no time to consider those resolutions. They would love to have helped you understand, but rules are rules. It’s all very sad.
To begin with the state constitution clearly provides for the calling of special sessions.
Special sessions shall be called by the Governor on petition of
a majority of the members elected to each House or may be called
by the Governor whenever in his opinion the public interest
This says a simple majority of members of the legislature can call for a special session. By definition that means a majority of the members can vote to call themselves into session at times when they would ordinarily not sit. It also says that the Governor “shall” call the session if the majority directs him to do so. It does not provide for discretion on his part. If the vote is taken, he must call the session.
Yet, no one in Harrisburg took any action under this provision of the constitution. No attempt was made.
From a broader perspective, all of this discussion about the clock running out is at best misdirection anyway. There was no secret in the run up to this election about the intentions of the Democratic Party. The party bosses took one look at the enthusiasm gap between Donald Trump’s supporters and the handfuls of people who showed up for Basement Joe’s infrequent and uninspiring public appearances and they knew what they had to do. They had to find a way to get millions of mail-in ballots into the system, no questions asked.
Then they went out and did the work. The Democratic Secretary of State and the partisan Pennsylvania Supreme Court methodically eliminated essentially all of the safeguards in place governing mail-in voting. The Pennsylvania state legislature, which under the Constitution of the United States, has the final word on all matters pertaining to elections, sat and watched. This was not some black bag job carried out in the dark of night. This was a brazen, daylight heist. And, the guardians of our electoral process did nothing in response.
The outrage amongst the MAGA faithful in Pennsylvania is palpable and in response the feckless Republican leadership is now making noises to give the illusion that it is fighting on behalf of the President. Sixty some Republican members of the assembly, have signed on to a letter sent to Pennsylvania’s federal lawmakers, urging them to stand up and be counted and refuse to allow the results of this election to stand. It reads as follows:
Dear Senators and Representatives:
In 2019 the Pennsylvania General Assembly enacted comprehensive changes to our Commonwealth’s Election Code. These changes both expanded voting access by permitting no-excuse mail-in ballots while also implementing reasonable safeguards to ensure that this new system would be secure, transparent, and would ensure that all Americans could have confidence in Pennsylvania’s election results. These changes received bipartisan support, including the signature of Governor Tom Wolf, a Democrat.
Unfortunately, Governor Wolf and others quickly set about undermining the many protections provided under this law. In particular:
‘The Pennsylvania Election Code requires that all mail-in ballots be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day; Governor Wolf ordered that this statutory deadline be waived in some counties during the Primary Election, then sought its waiver statewide for the General Election.’
‘The Pennsylvania Election Code prohibits counties from inspecting ballots prior to 7 a.m. on Election Day; Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State issued guidance encouraging counties to ignore this prohibition, to inspect ballots, and to contact voters with deficient ballots prior to Election Day.’
‘The Pennsylvania Election Code prohibits the counting of defective absentee or mail-in ballots; Encouraged by the Department of State, some county boards of elections ignored this prohibition, and have proceeded to include thousands of defective ballots in the certified count.’
‘The Pennsylvania Election Code authorizes poll watchers to be selected by candidates and political parties and to observe the process of pre-canvassing and canvassing absentee and mail-in ballots; Certain counties in Pennsylvania prohibited these authorized individuals from meaningfully observing the pre-canvassing and canvassing activities.’
Pennsylvania’s Congressional Delegation December 4, 2020 Page 33 U.S.C. §15, empowers Congress to reject electoral votes that are not ‘regularly given’ or ‘lawfully certified.’ The aforementioned conduct has undermined the lawful certification of Pennsylvania’s delegation to the Electoral College.
For these reasons, we the undersigned members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly urge you to object, and vote to sustain such objection, to the Electoral College votes received from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania during the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.
It would be hard to imagine a more pathetic attempt to pass the buck and deflect blame. Having failed to even attempt to discharge their responsibility to ensure free and fair elections, these men and women are now professing outrage and demanding that somebody else do something about the disaster that has unfolded. Rudy Guiliani has stated publicly that he is “ashamed” of the Republican leadership in Pennsylvania. The President’s legal adviser Jenna Ellis recently retweeted a rebuke from another Giuliani ally who referred to the GOP team in Harrisburg as “liars,” “cowards,” and “traitors.”
Those condemnations are likely not strong enough.
We hear a lot about holding our elected officials accountable. It is time to do that.
Every single one of the Republican lawmakers who just walked away and deserted the MAGA movement in its hour of critical need must be challenged. We don’t need angry letters followed by weak excuses and a return to business as usual.
Challenge them all. Turn them out. They ran for cover and folded before our eyes. Get the broom. Time for a clean sweep.