This article is almost fiction. On the other hand, in reality, it reflects both concerns about the nation’s electoral process and the duty of elected House representatives. Readers may imagine the interviewee to be any one of the 138 GOP House members who voted to reject or nullify Pennsylvania’s 2020 certified Electoral College ballots in the early morning on January 7. On January 6, 121 GOP House members voted to reject Arizona’s submission.
Moderator: Thank you for agreeing to this interview. The 2022 midterms will get underway in earnest shortly as primary strategies are developing for Election Day. You indicated your plans for reelection. You voted to reject both Arizona’s and Pennsylvania’s certified Electoral College results on January 6th and 7th. How will you answer questions from voters as to why you rejected those results?
Congressperson: I appreciate this opportunity to respond to questions I know are on the minds of my constituents. My votes on those matters were symbolic in that far too many questions concerning voting irregularities were circulating. There was a strong sense among our caucus that a protest was in order and necessary to alert voters to the threat to our democracy.
Moderator: The procedure and process for the counting of the Electoral College ballots is laid out in the Electoral Count Act of 1887 and refined by more than 100 years of practice within the Congress. How do you reconcile your vote with that historical record?
Congressperson: The media, especially cable networks, have completely mischaracterized those votes. None of the 138 votes by my Republican colleagues nullified or overturned the popular votes of Arizonans or Pennsylvanians. The voted objection was not to recognize the electors or slates of electors authorized by state legislatures and state officials. That’s a big difference.
Moderator: But isn’t the result the same; the popular votes from those states reflected in their electoral selections represent the will, the vote of that electorate?
We have a duty to represent our constituencies as we believe they chose when we were elected. In addition, we have an independent duty to make judgments on matters before the Congress. Our votes in January were informed by serious critical reviews by responsible lawyers of the roles of members and the Vice President.
Congressperson: Every elected official swears an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States. At the same time, we have a duty to represent our constituencies as we believe they chose when we were elected. In addition, we have an independent duty to make judgments on matters before the Congress. Our votes in January were informed by serious critical reviews by responsible lawyers of the roles of members and the Vice President. This was a moment when those realities and our duty-bound responsibilities came together. The United States is not a democracy; it is a republic wherein the elected representatives – local, state, and federal – have responsibility to ensure election integrity.
Moderator: Did you have any discussions with members from either Arizona or Pennsylvania?
Congressperson: No, that was not necessary since a member from each of those states and a US Senator raised the objections. There was no reason to doubt their representations. They were, as I said, the elected representatives of those states.
Moderator: What were some of the representations?
Congressperson: The 1887 statute does not require member objections to be based upon any representations. That’s why, once the objection is made, the Senate and House convene in chambers to debate the objections. The Constitution defines both our duty and the procedure to follow.
Moderator: Can you tell us or summarize what the bases of those objections were?
Congressperson: Mostly they confirmed what we were reading and hearing about widespread voter fraud, machine failures, and other criticisms.
Moderator: Was any hard evidence provided?
Congressperson: As I said, we have a duty to make independent judgments and often we rely upon the word of those with whom we serve in Congress to provide accurate and credible information.
Moderator: Were you influenced in any way by the fact that the Electoral College vote showed Joe Biden as the duly elected president?
Congressperson: No, it all hinged on what we were hearing about fraud being committed and that the votes in certain states could not be trusted, and therefore not counted. He has been sworn in as President but concerns about election integrity continue.
Moderator: Were you concerned about advocating extra-Constitutional means for deciding an election?
Congressperson: No, because we are elected to use our best judgment. The law does not rule over us, we formulate and interpret the law. The Tenth Amendment reserves rights to the states to administer elections. At the same time, the Supreme Court maintains a hands-off posture with respect to the authority of legislatures.
Moderator: Were you at all concerned for your safety and that of other members of Congress when the Capitol was taken over? And were you influenced by the protestors?
Congressperson: Except for the super cautionary measures taken by police, January 6th was just another day at work. The only influences I recognize are those of my constituents.
Moderator: The House Committee investigating the events of January 6th has unveiled significant evidence that the allegation of a stolen election simply did not exist. At the same time, there is evidence that the takeover of the Capitol was the result of a coordinated plan. Knowing this, would you still vote to object to the Arizona and Pennsylvania electoral votes?
Congressperson: I know my election was fair and square and my duty and conscience are clear. All 138 of us had to stand up for the country and democracy.
Moderator: Do you believe that your constituents think your objection was symbolic? What would have happened if the objections succeeded?
Congressperson: Trump likely would have been elected President by the Congress. My constituents will have many opportunities to address their questions and concerns. Right now, it’s inflation, gas prices, and grocery prices that are their concerns. Our party will sweep control of Congress in 2022. That’s evidence of the support of American voters.