U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik explained why she objected to electors from four states in a speech on the House floor Wednesday night.

The irregularities alleged in her speech and a press release included some falsehoods and omissions, but also some true statements.

This came after the Electoral College vote was interrupted by a violent occupation of the Capitol building by pro-Donald Trump rioters who demanded Congress “stop the steal,” a common Trump phrase since the Nov. 3 election won by Joe Biden.

Stefanik said voting irregularities in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Michigan led to her objections. She said she hopes that further investigation would allow Americans to have greater faith in elections.

Three of her statements on irregularities were mentioned in the New York Times’ live fact-checking of the session, and all were deemed “false.”

Trump, his family and his political circle have alleged voter fraud and irregularities long before the November election, spending the past few years leading up to this election casting doubt on the electoral process and telling supporters to look for evidence to support their claims. Trump had said before the election that he might not accept the results if he lost.

Trump has pitched a myriad of allegations of voter fraud and election stealing on the part of Democrats. While some constitute legitimate critique, most have been based on a lack of understanding of data, unverifiable accounts and deliberate misinformation.

Stefanik said several of these irregularities were “unconstitutional.” Most of them are legal through state law, which in some cases was changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and verified by state election officials and each state’s electors.

Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, Stefanik said the state Supreme Court and secretary of state rewrote election law eliminating signature matching requirements. She said making this change without the state legislature was “unconstitutional.”

The action described is true. Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled that mail-in ballot envelopes require a voter’s signature but do not require that signature to be matched.

However, case law has set precedent for the constitutionality of the executive branch to change state election law and for the courts to interpret it.

Next, Stefanik wrote “they arbitrarily allowed late arriving ballots to be counted even though doing so explicitly ignored and broke state election law.”

Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court decided in September to let the state accept mail-in ballots received up to three days after Nov. 3 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, high rates of main-in voting and concerns over whether the U.S. Postal Service could deliver ballots on time.

“And duly credentialed election observers were not allowed to observe voting and the counting of the vote — another unconstitutional act,” Stefanik wrote.

This is not true. Poll watchers were allowed to watch the processing of mail-in ballots, according to a court complaint from the Trump campaign. However, they were not close enough to see the writing on the ballots, which witnesses complained about. The state Supreme Court has ruled that poll watchers do not need to be close enough to see writing and stated that their view was “sufficient” in the 2020 election.

Georgia

In Georgia, Stefanik said the secretary of state “unilaterally gutted signature matching for absentee ballots and in essence eliminated voter verification required by state election law.”

This is false. Georgia required two signatures for absentee ballots. One given with a request for a ballot is compared to voter registration signatures. Another signature on the outside of the ballot envelope is then checked against both the absentee ballot application and voter registration.

This is a process Trump Chief of Staff Mark Meadows witnessed on Dec. 22 when he visited an audit site in Cobb County, Georgia, where 35 Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents and 15 state elections investigators conducted a 10% sample audit of ballots

“In addition, more than 140,000 votes came from underage, deceased and otherwise unauthorized voters — in Fulton County alone,” Stefanik wrote.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said after an investigation, only two illegal votes from dead people have been confirmed by the state. The Trump campaign alleged specific cases of dead voters in November, only for it to be revealed that these were several instances of two people sharing the same name, one dead and the other alive and voting.

State officials said they are investigating 74 potential felons who may have voted and three cases where someone voted in Georgia and another state. State officials said no unregistered or underage people voted. Four individuals requested a ballot before turning 18, but all four turned 18 before Election Day.

Trump called Raffensperger Jan. 2 and in an hour-long harangue asked him to “find 11,780 votes” and threatening him with criminal prosecution, which legal experts say may constitute election fraud or extortion.

Stefanik has not answered questions about this call.

Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, Stefanik said state officials circumvented a state law that required absentee voters to provide photo identification before obtaining a ballot.

“Wisconsin’s very own Supreme Court reprimanded the officials for issuing ‘legally incorrect’ guidance,” Stefanik wrote. That is true.

Wisconsin election law requires photo ID with exceptions for voters “indefinitely confined” by illness or disability. These voters are verified by signatures on their ballots. The definition of “indefinitely confined” was expanded this year because of the coronavirus.

In March a Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling indeed found that this expansion was “legally incorrect.”

“It is also a fact that Wisconsin state law specifies absentee ballots may only be returned by mail or delivered in person to the clerk’s office — but the city of Madison illegally held events at multiple locations to collect more than 17,000 ballots anyway,” Stefanik wrote.

This citywide “Democracy in the Park” event was objected to by the Trump campaign but was upheld in state Supreme Court, with the majority opinion judges saying to invalidate these ballots would “disenfranchise” voters.

Michigan

In Michigan, Stefanik said “many individuals signed affidavits documenting the unconstitutional irregularities they witnessed.” These allegations included officials physically blocking poll watchers from observing vote counts, the counting of late ballots and hand-stamping ballots with the previous day’s date.

Signed affidavits are presented as evidence in courts where they are considered by judges and juries. Many of these affidavits Trump’s legal team presented were not admissible in court because they relied on secondhand allegations, also known as hearsay. Some were not admissible because the individual had relied on miscalculations for their allegation, such as the case of a man who through a mathematical error believed the city of Detroit had a 139.29% turnout.

Though lying on a sworn affidavit is a crime, it is hard to prove as false in cases of hearsay or misunderstanding. So these individuals are unlikely to be charged.

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(12) comments

Havenford

Now Stefanik called Twitter’s permanent ban of Donald Trump from its platform un-American and unconstitutional. Because people in elective office who went to Harvard truly can remain that uneducated.

Stefanik is literally saying she is totally cool with someone who incited a riot and has immense military power to be able to keep a megaphone even if the person who owns the megaphone says they want it back.

Republicans are pure cons.

Holmes

“ just how this "steal" went down? ” Fulton County, that’s how and it ain’t Republican controlled.. Send everyone home and break out the suitcases..

Charlie McGrath

If the NY Times fact checked a Republican you can bet they were thorough and bipartisan. By being able to eliminate the need, as there is none, to fact check Democrats, the paper can concentrate on the real liars category and get the people the truth as they see it.

mightypen

Where was this fact-check on Jan. 8 when the Times fawningly allowed Stefanik to again disseminate her Trump cult's egregious lies about the Nov. 3 election? And why did the Times leave it to another North Country newspaper to do the essential work of truthful reporting to inform the public?

Jerry Moore Staff
Jerry Moore

As I said in a reply to your comment on the other story, WDT reporter Alex Gault countered inaccurate information that Elise Stefanik referenced in justifying her objections. He cited facts pointing out where Stefanik was wrong.

As for our using this piece, we have an agreement with several other newspapers in Northern New York (Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Post-Star and Press-Republican) to share content. We do this to make the best use of the incredibly limited newsroom resources each of us has. It wouldn’t make sense for us to replicate the work that another one of our partner newspapers is already doing. So you will regularly see our stories in these other papers and vice versa. This frees our journalists to focus on the many other responsibilities they have without copying work already done by another paper. Thank you for your feedback.

Jerry Moore

Editorial page editor

Watertown Daily Times

315-661-2369

jmoore@wdt.net

letters@wdt.net

Holmes

If you say so but 75 million is a pretty big ‘cult’.

Havenford

AP review of social media posts, voter registrations, court files and other public records show the mob was overwhelmingly made up of longtime Trump supporters, including Republican Party officials, GOP political donors, far-right militants, white supremacists and adherents of QAnon.

Havenford

I've been around a while and seen good leaders and bad. Sting and incompetent. Elise Stefanik is perhaps the least qualified and capable person I have ever seen elected to public office. I judge that on nothing other than the past three days.

In the middle of a national crisis this woman is all over the internet complaining about other people and bragging about her poll numbers. Sound familiar?

I find her truly too small for the job. And whoever her "adviser" Alex is... good Lord, get another occupation, boy. This stuff ain't for you.

minder

[thumbup][thumbup]

Eagle24

Nailed it...she's a small frog in large pond... She bought into POTUS and will pay the price...her parroting Trump was obvious...the "we won in a landslide" is laughable. Example... Pa.. Governor Wolf made voting more convenient and secure by signing Act 77 of 2019, the most significant improvement to Pennsylvania’s elections in more than 80 years. The bipartisan compromise legislation takes effect for the April 2020 primary election and makes Pennsylvania a national leader with voter-friendly election reforms. ... Trump..Stefanik had no issues with Pa or Ga's election rules until he lost.. See should spend her time in her district, not Ga...

harrison

I'd also like her to explain how a state such as Georgia which is controlled by republicans from top to bottom could possibly be rigged for Biden to win? Is she saying that GA. republicans cheats and or incompetents. Every state she and trump whined about is either totally republican controlled or has a republican controlled legislature. I'd just like an explanation from her, trump and the rest of them as to just how this "steal" went down? Do they really expect sane people to believe that republicans allowed this to happen in states that they control? Could Elise also explain why she isn't complaining about all the republicans that were elected in these states while being on the same ballot as Biden and trump. Elise is simply stating the republican view that unless you vote the way she wants then your vote isn't valid. She complains about 74 million trump voters being disenfranchised while at the same time she is willing to disenfranchise 81 million Biden voters. Her hypocrisy and her low estimation of the intelligence of voters is just amazing.

Holmes

Oh, Act 77, the Act that was changed by the governor and the state court prior to the election. Hmmm, I thought constitutionally only the legislature can legislate? Just a small point you failed to mention. Go Tedra right..

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