Commentary

printed 01/08/2021

The question national election doubters continue to ask is what would have been the harm of having a federal commission look at the results in key states to determine if voting fraud occurred?

The easy answer is that it would turn the constitution on its head by federalizing the elections, blow apart the concept of state’s rights, and possibly result in the dismantling of the Electoral College.

The constitution grants the legislatures of each state the authority to conduct elections as long as they do not breach other constitutional guarantees such as the right to vote. The states also have the power to name their own elections officials, such as the secretaries of state, who also are bound by state and federal laws.

To impose a higher level of oversight such as a congressionally appointed commission to examine how the states, their legislatures and elections officials did their jobs would nullify the states’ exclusive control over elections and their voting verification processes. In other words, it would suggest that the bipartisan state legislatures can’t be trusted, while the federal government can be. Ahem.

It would also mean that ballots cast in any targeted state would not count until the federal government says they do. Equally disturbing is that this commission proposal offered no acceptable “then what?” solution, as in if the commission found a problem, then what?

If that problem didn’t change the electoral vote count, nothing would happen. But if objections to electoral votes, such as those lodged Wednesday by members of the Senate and House, including Rep. Andy Harris, were validated by a commission’s findings and affirmed by Congress, no one would like what comes next.

If the number of electoral votes thrown out resulted in no candidate meeting the minimum 270 electoral vote requirement, all voters in the nation would be disenfranchised, because the House of Representatives would get to decide who, of the top three electoral vote recipients, would be president.

Obviously, the objectors in Congress on Wednesday didn’t think anything like that would occur. Then again, they also didn’t think an inflamed mob would break into the Capitol Building and defile the “temple of our democracy.”

The harm, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, is that “The voters, the courts, and the states have all spoken. If we overrule them all, it would damage our republic forever. If this election were overturned by mere allegations from the losing side, our democracy would enter a death spiral. We'd never see the whole nation accept an election again.”

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