McClintock opposes efforts to stymie certification
Special to the Sierra Sun
U.S. Rep. Doug LaMalfa announced plans to join a group of Republican lawmakers in objecting to the certification of the presidential election and calling for an investigation into election integrity.
“I will be joining with Senator Ted Cruz and many other members of Congress to challenge the electoral college certification until a Congressional investigation is complete,” LaMalfa said in a Tuesday press release.
Congress was scheduled to certify the Electoral College’s vote Wednesday.
LaMalfa, whose district includes most of Nevada County, said his objections stem from “an endless dripping of reports of mishandled ballots, numbers not adding up and outright violations of the U.S. Constitution’s clear direction for setting election rules.”
In an email Tuesday LaMalfa’s office declined to provide further details of voter fraud allegations.
“The continual release of allegations are readily available to anyone who’s paid attention to the news since mid-November,” LaMalfa’s Chief of Staff Mark Spannagel said.
Nevada County Assistant Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters Natalie Adona said LaMalfa has not expressed election concerns to the county, and it takes integrity concerns seriously.
“To try and address any general worries, I’d add that the integrity of every election rests on careful planning and preparation, including pre-election testing of voting equipment and a post-election audit,” Adona said in an email.
“Our voting equipment passed all tests for logic and accuracy and our audit showed no discrepancies.”
U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, who represents part of eastern Nevada County, said he will not object to the election certification despite his concerns over election integrity.
“I do NOT support the election outcome – I wish the Electoral College had sent us at least 270 votes for Trump. It didn’t,” McClintock said in an email Tuesday.
“I DO support the Constitution, which commands Congress to count the votes – ALL the votes – the states DID send us.”
The effort to hold up election certification comes following a string of failed maneuvers in the courts. Last month both congressmen signed on to support a lawsuit before the Supreme Court asking for an injunction stopping certification in several states.
The suit was dismissed for lack of standing, which was enough for McClintock.
“I believe that fraud may indeed have occurred and that some states and courts have done a poor job of assuring the integrity of the vote and investigating allegations of fraud,” McClintock said. “But that does not give Congress the power to seize the powers accorded to the states and the courts to itself. Period.”
LaMalfa, however, has persisted, citing a failure of the courts to do their duty and ineptitude from White House lawyers.
“The court system should have reviewed these problems. Before the election, the court punted saying no one was ’injured’ yet. After the election, it became a political issue and courts sidestepped the question using ‘standing,’ ‘procedure,’ and some sloppy lawyer work by the Trump legal team,“ he said.
While the latest attempt to hold up the transfer of power is unlikely to succeed — the objections would need approval from a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives — election experts say the move could have lasting impacts on our democracy.
According to Paul Gronke, professor of Political Science at Reed College and founder of the Early Voting Information Center, the display even if performative could be “deeply corrosive to the democratic process.”
Gronke, who researches voter trust and election implementation, said while the data is limited, efforts to question election integrity could pale in comparison to all other factors known to affect voter confidence.
“(W)e don’t have reliable scientific estimates of how damaging these are compared to the ’winners effect/losers regret’ or the voter experience, but all indications are that they swamp anything we’ve seen in the past,“ Gronke said in an email.
LaMalfa said he did not come to his decision lightly, acknowledging the potential for his objection to damage the electoral system and further divide the country.
“Because the courts at all levels have sidestepped their duty to the Republic, there is no other alternative than to use the power of Congress to investigate and hopefully get to the truth,” he said.
Nevada County Board of Supervisors Chair Heidi Hall, saying she was speaking for herself, said the election has been decided and the challenge would be an affront to voters.
“Any challenge to this certification will rightly be seen as an attempt to throw over the vote of the people, a grave and serious violation of the Constitution,” Hall said in an email.
“Congressman LaMalfa will do a grave disservice to his constituents, the Constitution, and the country if he votes against certifying what the voters, the County elections officers, the state Secretaries of State, and the Courts at every level have determined to be the legitimate, duly elected next President of the US.”
Hall ran unsuccessfully against LaMalfa in 2014.
John Orona is a staff writer for The Union, a sister publication of the Sierra Sun. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.
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