Daines joins senators calling for election investigation
Last updated 1/4/2021 at 11:53am
Sen. Steve Daines R-Mont., has announced his intention to join some of his fellow senators to reject electors from swing states on Wednesday's vote to certify the results of the 2020 Election unless an electoral commission is established to examine alleged irregularities during the 2020 General Election, an election federal officials said was the most secure in the nation's history.
Daines said the intention of this commission is to restore the faith of the American people in the electoral process.
"The processes and the way Americans voted was altered at a scale never before imagined outside what the state legislative process intended," a statement from Daines's office said. "There have been continued reports of irregularities with signature verification, different rules for mail-in ballots versus in-person ballots, delayed receipt of ballots, inconsistent curing of ballots, a lack of meaningful access to the polls, the dispute process and counting process for partisan poll watchers. These issues have cast doubt on the legitimacy of the presidential election outcome which needs further investigation for the credibility of our institutions."
The Havre Daily News has reached out to Daines's office to address these concerns but there was no response by print deadline this morning.
The office of U.S. Sen. Tester, D-Mont., provided a statement to Havre Daily News on the issue.
"Sen. Tester believes it's long past time for these irresponsible attacks that put our democracy at risk to end. The election is over," Tester spokesperson Sarah Feldman said in the statement. "Sen. Tester is urging both sides to focus on working together to heal our partisan divisions and address the serious issues facing our nation."
Daines's statement said that after examining the alleged irregularities, the commission would present its findings to the states and individual contested states would then evaluate the commission's findings, and could convene special legislative sessions to certify a change in their vote, if needed.
Officials from The Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency have said the 2020 election was the most secure in U.S. history, and nearly all of the 50-plus lawsuits filed in the wake of that election alleging fraud or unconstitutional behavior by election officials have been rejected as without merit.
Courts - and election officials - have said the complainants have brought no evidence of significant fraud or irregularities.
Public officials on both sides of the political spectrum have raised the concern that by establishing this commission, effectively questioning the result of an extremely secure election, faith in the electoral system would be even further damaged.
A joint statement by the senate group including Daines calling for an investigation said the rejection of the electors and the establishment of this proposed commission has precedent and should not be a partisan issue.
"Whether or not our elected officials or journalists believe it, the deep distrust of our democratic processes will not magically disappear," the statement says, "It should concern us all. And it poses an ongoing threat to the legitimacy of any subsequent administrations."
The statement also commented on the recent lawsuits that have been filled alleging fraud or voting irregularities.
"Ideally, the courts would have heard evidence and resolved these claims of serious election fraud," the statement said. "Twice, the Supreme Court had the opportunity to do so; twice, the court declined."
Multiple state and federal courts, including in the cases appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, said the plaintiffs had no evidence to back their claims.
One of the cases rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court was filed by Texas and joined by other states including Montana Attorney General Tim Fox. The court ruled that Texas had no standing to object to election results from other states.