Legal experts critique Stefanik's reasons for objecting electoral votes

Emily Burkhard
Updated: January 09, 2021 11:56 AM
Created: January 08, 2021 06:29 PM

NewsChannel 13 viewers voiced concerns Thursday that Congresswoman Elise Stefanik's reasons for objecting to Electoral College votes in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Georgia were unfounded.

Stefanik and other Republican lawmakers said they objected because those states expanded absentee voting without state legislature approval.

Legal experts told NewsChannel 13 state legislatures often delegate that power to Secretaries of State, Governors or Boards of Election. They also cited public health concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

They also said it's odd Stefanik didn't object to New York's electoral votes, because similar expansions were ordered here, where President-Elect Joe Biden got 60% of the votes.

"The states were challenged specifically because of the margin of victory and because of the tactical selection and not because of some sort of constitutional principle and I think that much is clear," said Scott Iseman, a partner at O'Connell and Aronowitz.

"They made an argument that was founded in the Constitution I think it was a pretty weak argument that they made," Iseman said. "It's a stretch that any of these measures violated the Electors Clause and I think that's why you saw the courts summarily rejected all of the claims that were made on that argument."

Stefanik told NewsChannel 13 her objecting to the Electoral College votes wasn't about trying to overturn the results of the election, but rather to voice the concerns expressed by tens of millions of Americans who didn't feel the election was fair.

Julie Novkov, a political science professor from UAlbany's Rockefeller College said the House floor is not the appropriate place for that.

"Her position unfortunately demonstrates some significant misunderstandings of both the history and structure of elections in the United States," Novkov said.

Novkov said the Electoral Count Act of 1887 was written for a much different reason.

"This act was passed at a time when the country had recently experienced states submitting two certified vote counts and then Congress would have to figure out a way to determine which set of votes were the actual votes from the states," Novkov said. "That's absolutely not the case in this election."

Novkov said voters themselves can object to election mishandling by going to their state legislature and asking for changes or by filing lawsuits.

"We didn't see these objections until after the election was over," she said. "The courts that heard these cases, even courts that heard substantive claims all found there is no colorable evidence of electoral fraud or electoral mismanagement."

Both New York Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have called Stefanik complicit for refusing to call for Trump's resignation. Jacobs said Stefanik should resign.

New York Republican Party Chair Nick Langworthy fired back. He called it an outlandish, laughable attack that Stefanik won't bat an eyelash at.

Alex Degrasse, Senior Advisor to Stefanik, also released this statement in response to calls for her resignation:

"The Far-Left New York Democratic Party Chair continues to prop up the worst Governor in America. Governor Cuomo is responsible for the deaths of thousands of seniors in nursing homes, the crippling of our small business economy in NY, and the abysmal vaccination roll out disaster. The New York State Democrat Party Chair should focus on their own disaster of a Governor. Congresswoman Stefanik proudly stands up for the vast majority of constituents who voted to re-elect her with the largest number of votes for any congressional candidate in the history of the North Country."


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