The electoral commission proposed by a group of 11 Republican senators would look at alleged election irregularities, Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said Saturday.
“They’re gathering all the information and they’re challenging every single thing that’s out there. I mean, everything from Sharpies on ballots in Arizona to suitcases of ballots under tables in Georgia to laws that were changed to individuals that were dead or that moved or from out of state that voted,” Lankford said during an appearance on Fox News.
“All those things demand us to be able to take a look at. We have got to take take it seriously about this moment, because there were so many areas that are out there. Some are rumor, some are fact. But those are facts, we have to be able to resolve and determine is this election settled? And then what do we do from here on out.”
Arizona officials have said Sharpies did not cause ballots to be rejected while officials in Georgia acknowledged that poll workers counted ballots for over an hour on Election Night after observers and media went home. Lawyers for President Donald Trump’s campaign alleged last month that 1,500 dead voters in Nevada cast ballots while multiple states are accused of counting votes from voters who had moved away.
Lankford is one of 11 senators who earlier in the day pledged to object to electoral votes during the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress, unless Congress authorizes an election commission to review the 2020 election process.
The commission would be modeled on what was formed in 1877 to resolve the electoral issues in the election the previous year. Three states–Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina–had reports of voter fraud, leading to a contested election without a clear winner.
The commission back then was comprised of five senators, five House of Representatives members, and five Supreme Court justices. The commission began on Feb. 1, 1877. Eventually, Congress, acting on the decision of the commission, awarded the disputed electoral vote to Republican Rutherford Hayes, handing him the presidency.
The group of 15, who would be given subpoena power, would not decide the election, Lankford said.
In a written statement, Lankford said millions of Americans “still have significant questions” about the Nov. 3 election, referencing reports of problems with voting machines, double voters, and different rules for mail-in ballots versus in-person ballots.
“These are not questions that exist in the dark corners of the internet, but ones I hear at the grocery store, the gas station, through text messages, and on phone calls. For the sake of the nation’s unity, these questions should not be ignored,” he said.
The proposal by the Republicans is still within the Electoral College system, Lankford said.
“We’re demanding that we have a good, hard, serious, professional look at this, then the states in our system of government, according the Constitution, actually pick the president through the Electoral College. So we’re not trying to take that over,” he said.
“We’re doing our constitutional duty, and laying this out, giving it back to the states and say, ‘States, if you want to reevaluate where you’re sending, and who you’re sending, then you can choose to do that.’ But the states have to be able to make that decision.”
Lankford and the other senators want a 10-day emergency vote audit completed by a commission, paired with a delay of the joint vote counting session.
“Once completed, individual states would evaluate the Commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed,” they said in a joint statement.
If the joint session takes place without the audit being completed, the senators plan on objecting to electors from disputed states.
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