December 5, 2020 4:08 PM | With information from DPA
15 minutes. Republicans Bryan Cutler, Speaker of the Pennsylvania State House, and Party Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, petitioned along with 73 other lawmakers from their party for the state Congress to revoke the election results in the been, in which Joe Biden was victorious.
Hours after assuring that they would not bet on that option, and after public criticism from the White House legal team, the Republican signatories called for the disavowal of the election result, which reflected a victory of 81,000 votes difference for President-elect Biden . In addition, they accused Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, of “undermining the many protections” they passed a year ago to expand generalized voting by mail.
“For these reasons,” they wrote to the state Congressional delegation, “we, the undersigned members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, urge you to oppose Electoral College votes received from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”
The letter arrived while outgoing President Donald Trump continued his attempts to doubt the integrity of the elections.
But the publication of the letter last Friday also culminated in dizzying hours marked by Republican attacks within the party.
Just a day earlier, Republicans Cutler of Lancaster and Benninghoff of Center had stated unequivocally that state legislators had no authority to ignore certified election results and appoint Pennsylvania delegates to the Electoral College themselves.
“It would set a precedent for a majority of the General Assembly to override the will of the people as demonstrated by the popular vote.”, according to Republican leaders.
That statement prompted a swift reprimand from Trump’s top aides. Attorney Rudy Giuliani accused them in a tweet of “covering up Democratic crimes” and misleading the president. He said he was ashamed of them for “disappointing America.”
Following those attacks, Cutler, Benninghoff, and the other Republicans issued their letter urging Congress to block the votes of the Pennsylvania Electoral College.
In it, they reiterated many of the complaints presented in the legal challenges of the campaign of Trump, including disputes over partisan monitors’ access to vote counting and the fact that some counties allowed voters to correct ballots by mail.
The letter’s signatories did not mention that the election they were rejecting also helped their party expand its majority in the state House this year.
They do not see a future for the initiative
Election Law Experts described the success of this initiative as “highly unlikely”, based on a federal law on the official certification of the results.
If a challenge is presented to all 20 Pennsylvania voters, the House and Senate would have to vote on whether to accept that objection. It would take a simple majority for both houses to support it.
The House, controlled by the Democrats, will reject any such scheme. Although Republicans will have a slim majority in the Senate when the vote takes place, no senator dared to publicly support this challenge. In fact, US Senator Pat Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, already strongly warned on Friday that he will not oppose Pennsylvania voters.