From the Washington Post:
Benjamin L. Ginsberg practiced election law for 38 years, representing Republican candidates and parties and is a distinguished visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Bob Bauer served as White House counsel during the Obama administration and is a professor at the New York University School of Law. David Becker is executive director and founder of the nonpartisan, nonprofit Center for Election Innovation & Research and a former trial attorney in the Justice Department’s Voting Section. Ginsberg and Bauer are co-chairs of the Election Official Legal Defense Network, a project of CEIR.
As Donald Trump flails about trying to “rescind” the 2020 presidential election and castigating Republicans who point out the Constitution doesn’t allow that, here is a heads-up for state legislators considering doing his bidding: You were elected to office by the same voters using the same ballots on the same day.
If somehow Joe Biden’s victory was fraudulent, so was yours.
If Joe Biden shouldn’t be in the White House, you shouldn’t be in your statehouse.
Wisconsin Republicans pushing that state’s special counsel investigation and those supporting the Cyber Ninja charade in Arizona or the “audits” being attempted in several states and counties apparently aren’t aware of the implications of their claims or how elections work.
You cannot disqualify just one race on an illegal ballot. Simply put, it is impossible.
If a ballot is disqualified because someone voted fraudulently, then all votes for all offices on that ballot must be disqualified, including the votes that likely gave Republican legislators their majorities in key battleground states.
Recall that in 2020, Trump lost but that Republicans did very well down ballot. Republican voters in swing areas, mostly suburbs, split their tickets by abandoning Trump but voting for Republican congressional and state candidates, including for state legislatures. Republicans gained a net 141 seats and two legislative chambers, while Democrats won no new chambers.
The recent report by Wisconsin special counsel Michael Gableman illustrates the peril Republicans face in pursuing decertification efforts and claims of fraudulent election results. Gableman, who was appointed by Republicans in the state Assembly, has alleged that rules for voting in nursing homes during the pandemic along with election officials’ acceptance of private grants for Wisconsin cities constituted “unlawful conduct in the 2020 Presidential election [that] casts grave doubt on Wisconsin’s 2020 Presidential election certification.”
Consider just the nursing home claim. Citing 12 claims of voting fraud, the report extrapolates that, because 92,000 people live in such facilities, there is “rampant fraud and abuse” amounting to “tens of thousands of illegal ballots,” casting “doubt on the 2020 Presidential election result.” The report does not offer math to support this remarkable extrapolation. Nor does Gableman acknowledge that if fraud on that scale were true, it would cast doubt on all 2020 Wisconsin races, certainly including the eight Assembly races Republicans won by margins of less than 10 percent, including four by 2,000 votes or fewer. If votes are illegal in the presidential race, they are illegal in all other races.
It’s a similar story in other states where Republicans continue to allege that fraudulent votes elected Biden. In Arizona, Republicans control the state Senate 16-14 and the House 31-29, with a series of competitive races expected in the next decade under a new commission-drawn map. In Pennsylvania, Republicans won seven state House seats in 2020 by fewer than 2,000 votes and 13 races by less than 10 percent, and they face a less friendly map after redistricting. In Michigan, a new redistricting commission drew maps with more competitive districts, giving Democrats their best shot at legislative control in several decades.
As even an attorney who represents Gableman explained recently to an Assembly committee, trying to decertify the 2020 election now is a sideshow since there is no legal mechanism or legal authority to do so once Congress certifies the electoral college votes. States cannot undo their certification 15 months later, as even Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) knew to tell Trump.
But it becomes something more than a sideshow if disqualifying ballots for unproven fraud is the 2024 game plan for the Trump loyalists running for secretary of state or for county and municipal offices with responsibilities for overseeing elections. Nearly two dozen Republican secretary of state primary candidates have denied the accuracy of the 2020 election or called for decertification of Biden’s victory. While many are running in heavily Republican states, Trump-inspired candidates are also competing in the presidential battlegrounds of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin.
It is worth asking all secretary of state candidates some questions: Would they have certified the 2020 election? And under what circumstances, with what hard evidence, would they refuse to certify future elections? Do they recognize that invalidating a vote for one office means invalidating the votes for all offices on a ballot? Their answers will be revealing, and Republican officials whose elections may be called into question should pay attention.
These issues spotlight the crucial role of election officials — the people charged in our democracy with calling balls and strikes. When umpires or referees call a game so that the team they favor wins, we recognize that as an “illegal fix.”
When they make claims that betray a basic lack of knowledge of how elections work, we should call them what they are: unqualified for the office.