A resolution introduced by Republican state legislators in the state of Pennsylvania charges the Commonwealth’s government with usurping constitutional power to set the rules of the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
The text of the resolution was first unveiled on Nov. 27 and introduced on Nov. 30.
It calls upon Pennsylvania’s secretary of the Commonwealth to withdraw the certification of the presidential election results in the state, where the Trump campaign has open lawsuits alleging widespread voter fraud that favored Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden.
Pennsylvania, with 20 electoral votes, is a key battleground state.
According to the GOP legislators, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Sept. 17 ruled in violation of the U.S. Constitution when it extended the deadline for receipt of mail-in ballots, relaxed standards to treat as timely ballots without a postmark, and accepted ballots in cases where the voter’s signature could not be verified.
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The text of the resolution reads, “Officials in the Executive and Judicial Branches of the Commonwealth infringed upon the General Assembly’s authority under the Constitution of the United States by unlawfully changing the rules governing the November 3, 2020, election in the Commonwealth.”
Election process undermined
The 2020 election, according to the resolution, is in dispute, and the U.S. Congress should declare it as such.
In addition to the September ruling, the state supreme court ruled on Oct. 23 to drop the requirement that signatures on mail-in ballots be authenticated to be considered valid.
And on Nov. 2, the day before the election, the Pennsylvania commonwealth secretary called upon Democrat-leaning counties to “notify party and candidate representatives of mail-in voters whose ballots contained defects,” the resolution says.
The actions taken by the state’s executive and judicial branches violate the Pennsylvania Election Code. According to the Code, mail-in ballots are to be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day, mail-in ballots must have their signatures authenticated, and defective mail-in ballots may not be counted.
A statement by members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly says, “A number of compromises of Pennsylvania’s election laws took place during the 2020 General Election. The documented irregularities and improprieties associated with mail-in balloting, pre-canvassing, and canvassing have undermined our elector process and, as a result, we cannot accept certification of the results in statewide races.”
“We believe this moment is pivotal and important enough that the General Assembly needs to take extraordinary measures to answer these extraordinary questions. We also believe our representative oversight duty as Pennsylvania’s legislative branch of government demands us to re-assume our constitutional authority and take immediate action.”
‘Unilateral and premature’
The resolution states that the Nov. 24 certification of the election results in favor of former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was carried out “unilaterally and prematurely despite ongoing litigation.”
It also brought up a host of irregularities and allegations of fraud in the election. Many of the issues listed in the resolution had been described by witnesses during a hearing before the Pennsylvania Senate Majority Policy Committee on Nov. 25.
Republican Pennsylvania state senator Doug Mastriano said on Nov. 27 that his party would attempt to reclaim the authority to appoint Pennsylvania’s electors for the Electoral College, which decides the election. The 535 members of the Electoral College will cast their votes on Dec. 14 and the results will be certified on Jan. 8.
The state’s legislature is currently controlled by the Republicans, with 28 GOP senators to the Democrats 21 and one independent. The state house of representatives has 113 Republicans versus 90 Democrats.
“The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has the duty to ensure that no citizen of this Commonwealth is disenfranchised, to insist that all elections are conducted according to the law, and to satisfy the general public that every legal vote is counted accurately,” the resolution states.