Republicans in Congress have been divided in their response to President Donald Trump's assertions of a "stolen election." While some have quietly acknowledged Joe Biden's win, others are obstinately touting the President's absurd and baseless claims, despite the failure of numerous legal challenges to the results staring them square in the face.
But it should be noted that over the past few months, state and local officials -- both Democratic AND Republican -- have actually done a heck of a job running a presidential election under extraordinary circumstances. In the midst of a Covid-19 "100-year storm," election workers needed to recruit hundreds of thousands of poll workers, make polling and canvassing locations safer, get more funding, and then go on and process and count an unprecedented number of mail-in ballots.
Every election sees some number of errors or irregularities that don't affect the outcome. And remarkably, with record turnout, experts say that the 2020 election was run smoothly. At the invitation of the Trump administration, the Organization of American States sent observers to monitor the election and found in its preliminary report that there were no "serious irregularities." Election cybersecurity officials from the Trump administration itself declared the 2020 election the "most secure in American history," and that they had "utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections."
What's more, despite the cries of "foul" from Trump's supporters, the fact is Republicans not only gained seats in the House of Representatives but, depending on the outcome of the January runoff between Georgia's GOP Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, may hold on to their majority in the Senate.
Republicans running for office faced down powerful headwinds, with a polling-cabal consensus that predicted Republicans would get smashed by a "blue wave" of elected Democrats. But after all the ballots have been counted, Republicans are set to leave Nancy Pelosi with a slimmer majority in the House.
It's time to move on to the business of governing the country. We need to recognize that the claims of widespread fraud just haven't been true.
In the face of extraordinary political pressure from voters and politicians who were disappointed by the results of the election, it certainly hasn't been easy to admit defeat. By and large, national Republicans, the Republican National Committee and many members of Congress are aiding and abetting Trump's burn-it-down response to his loss.
But we, one of us liberal and the other conservative, want to acknowledge that many state and local Republicans have also publicly acknowledged the truth: the election is over and Joe Biden is our President-elect. We're grateful for their honesty and their courage, and they deserve credit for it.
CNN contributor Ben Ginsberg, one of the nation's top election lawyers, a Republican who worked on the Bush v. Gore dispute after the 2000 election, said there is "not evidence" of widespread fraud in this election.
In Georgia, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger reassured voters, "I understand half of the people will be happy, half of the people will be sad, but I want 100% of the people to understand that the process was fair and accurately counted." Gabriel Sterling, voting systems manager for the Secretary of State's office, said that Georgia election officials have not seen any "widespread irregularities" in the counting of votes. And, of course, last Friday the Secretary of State's office announced certification of the results in a joint press conference with Gov. Brian Kemp. Kemp has also signed the certificate of ascertainment for the electors going to the Electoral College. (All three are Republican.)
On Friday, after meeting with Trump, Michigan state Republicans Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey and state House Speaker Lee Chatfield, restated in a joint statement, "And the candidates who win the most votes win elections and Michigan's electoral votes. These are simple truths that should provide confidence in our elections." On Monday, Republican Aaron Van Langevelde, on the State Board of Electors, provided the third vote to certify the results, saying he had a clear legal duty to do so. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed the certificate of ascertainment for the electors going to the Electoral College on Monday night.
In Pennsylvania, state legislators had been clear about the role of legislators even pre-election. When asked about the absurd proposition of appointing an alternate slate of electors -- populated by pro-Trumpers who could ignore the outcome of the state's popular vote -- state Senate Majority Leader (and soon-to-be President Pro Tempore) Jake Corman, a Republican, has said the legislature can't overturn the will of the people, "The law states that when the Secretary of State certifies the election, the governor appoints the electors. That's the law. And we will follow the law." House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (Republican), similarly, has said, "That is not our role." On Tuesday, the state's Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar certified the results, with Governor Tom Wolf signing the certificate of ascertainment for the electors going to the Electoral College.
In Arizona, members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors heard detailed testimony from election officials to assure voters the system they used is accurate and reliable before certifying the results last Friday. As of Monday, all counties in the state had certified results and the state will certify on November 30. Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has stated, "I trust our election system. There's integrity in our election system. Joe Biden did win Arizona."
In Wisconsin, where two counties are doing a recount of the presidential vote, even though Wisconsin's nonpartisan chief election official has said no evidence has been provided of systemic or widespread election issues, it's important that the state's Republican Speaker Robin Vos has also gone on the record to pour cold water on the idea of Wisconsin legislators ignoring the popular-vote winner. And Republican Rep. Ron Tusler is doing a great job investigating actual claims of voter fraud while maintaining he has seen nothing to indicate any "drastic action" requiring overturning the results of the election. The recount Trump requested in Dane and Milwaukee counties and the certification process is expected to be completed by December 1.
Four years after the integrity of the 2016 presidential election was impacted by vicious attacks from what US intelligence agencies said were malignant foreign actors, we should be proud of the Americans, many without national profiles or well-known names, who worked night and day this election to make sure the United States held an election free of interference from those who would do harm to our republic. We're proud of the leaders who've had the guts to stand tall and say so. Thank you.