Four Pennsylvania Senate Republicans, including President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Benner Township, sent a letter to congressional leaders asking them to delay certification of the commonwealth’s 20 electoral votes for President-elect Joe Biden.
Echoing many of the same claims made by fellow state Republican leaders in recent weeks, the letter — which also was signed by Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill of the 28th District and Sen. Judy Ward of the 30th district — alleges ‘unlawful violations’ of election process by Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar and a ‘rogue’ state Supreme Court they say usurped the legislature’s authority.
“As members of the Pennsylvania Senate, we believe in the integrity of the election process,’ they wrote. ‘After speaking with our colleagues, a majority of the State Senate is troubled by the many inconsistencies that happened in our Commonwealth during the 2020 election.’
Outgoing President Donald Trump shared the letter on Twitter on Tuesday night.
BIG NEWS IN PENNSYLVANIA! pic.twitter.com/7JqTWYUgOr
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2021
The letter came just before a joint session of Congress on Wednesday to count and make the final certification of electoral votes. All states have certified their election results.
Biden won Pennsylvania by 80,555 votes, one of several key battleground states that helped the Democrat to a 306-232 Electoral College margin over President Donald Trump. The president and his allies have been dealt a long line of legal defeats in their attempt to overturn Biden’s victory, with nearly 60 cases rejected by courts nationwide for lack of evidence and lack of standing.
Corman and his colleagues contend Pennsylvania’s results should not have been certified.
“Due to these inconsistent and questionable activities, we believe that PA election results should not have been certified by our Secretary of State.’
Those inconsistencies, they wrote, include a state Supreme Court order allowing mail-in ballots to be received up to three days after Election Day, relaxed signature-matching requirements, guidance from Boockvar that said counties could allow mail-in voters to ‘cure’ technical problems with ballot, and allowing the use of drop boxes for mail-in ballots.
All of those, they wrote, were in conflict with Act 77 of 2019, which provided for no-excuse-required mail-in voting for the first time in Pennsylvania.
The state senators’ letter also made the claim that ‘certified Republican poll watchers in Philadelphia were prohibited from overseeing the canvassing of ballots.’ While a state judge ordered city election officials to allow observers within 6 feet of canvassers, instead of the established 20 feet, a lawyer for Trump admitted during a hearing in federal court that the campaign’s observers were present in the canvassing room.
They also claimed that the U.S. Supreme Court is set to soon hear a case brought prior to the election by Republicans against Boockvar over the changes to election procedures.
“Members, we ask for more time given the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court is to hear Trump vs. Boockvar in the coming days,’ they wrote. ‘We ask that you delay certification of the Electoral College to allow due process as we pursue election integrity in our Commonwealth.’
The Supreme Court, however, has declined to expedite the case and has not set any date for if and when it will be heard, Bloomberg News Supreme Court reporter Greg Stohr wrote on Twitter.
‘Despite what the letter says, the Supreme Court is not set to ‘hear Trump v. Boockvar in the coming days,” Stohr wrote. ‘The court has (a) not even said whether it will hear the case and (b) ignored a Trump motion to expedite that sought to resolve everything before Jan. 6.’
The letter is the latest effort among Pennsylvania Republicans to stop certification of Biden’s win. In December, state House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Bellefonte, joined House and Senate colleagues in a letter to the state’s congressional delegation asking them to dispute the electors.
Eight Pennsylvania Republican Congressmen — including Rep. Fred Keller, R-Kreamer, and Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Howard Township, who represent Centre County — said they will object to the certification of Pennsylvania’s electors on Wednesday, citing similar reasons as the state legislators’ letters.
The objections are almost certainly doomed to failure. For Congress to reject a state’s electors, a majority vote of both chambers is required — an impossible scenario with the Democrartic-majority House of Representatives. On Wednesday afternoon, the House and Senate had already separated for required debate after objections were made to Arizona’s electoral votes, which were won by Biden.
Proceedings came to a halt, however, as a large mob of pro-Trump extremists breached breached security and stormed the Capitol. Lawmakers were evacuated and the National Guard had been deployed as of early Wednesday evening.
In the Senate, about a dozen Republicans have said they will oppose certification, but a growing number of GOP senators have openly said they will not, including Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.
Toomey said in a statement that the disputes have already been adjudicated, that Trump’s own attorney general, William Barr, said there was no widespread election fraud, and that ‘he evidence is overwhelming that Joe Biden won this election.’
Gov. Tom Wolf, in a statement on Wednesday, lambasted the Pennsylvania congressmen who planned to object to the state’s electoral votes.
“Republican members of the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation plan to object to the counting of Pennsylvania’s electoral votes by claiming the election was compromised, and that our electoral votes are suspect,” Wolf said. “This is an outrageous lie, and they are undermining our democracy by recklessly repeating that lie to deceive the American people.
“Today, these Republican Congressman have a choice. They can stand with our country and uphold our constitution, or they can stand by a single defeated politician pushing baseless claims in an attempt to overturn an election.”
Locally, State College Borough Council President Jesse Barlow wrote a letter on behalf of council to Keller and Thompson, urging them to ‘stand down’ and vote with Toomey and Democratic Sen. Bob Casey to certify the votes for Biden.
‘Like you, each of us swore an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution,’ Barlow wrote. ‘In supporting this effort, you are turning your back on that oath and you are turning your back on the voters of State College Borough and the voters of Centre County.’
Centre County Board of Commissioners Chair Michael Pipe, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter that in objecting, Keller and Thompson will ‘will lie, distort, and present a sham in the hallowed halls of Congress in attempt to thwart the will of the people of Pennsylvania.’ He also called Corman’s letter ‘stunningly and flagrantly anti-democratic.’
‘I couldn’t be prouder of the team in the [Centre County] Elections Office during the 2020 General Election,’ he added. ‘They performed admirably on the forefront of democracy. What will take place in Washington today will not take away from their passionate and dedicated work.’