Republican Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.) introduced new legislation Wednesday calling for the establishment of an “election integrity commission” that will both examine claims of election fraud and plan ways to bolster the integrity of future elections.
What are the details?
Scott’s bill would establish what he calls the “2020 Bipartisan Advisory Committee,” consisting of nine lawmakers chosen by Republicans and nine lawmakers chosen by Democrats.
The committee would investigate how the coronavirus pandemic impacted the election, and specifically the election practices like widespread mail-in voting, adopted because of the pandemic. Committee members would also investigate methods of voter fraud, the scope of voter fraud, and how to improve the election system to mitigate voter fraud.
After conducting an investigation, the committee would publish two reports: one report on precinct-by-precinct instances of voter fraud, including fraudulent registration, and another on how to stop voter fraud, especially during a pandemic.
The beauty of the American experiment is the ability to freely question our processes and build upon lessons learned. We cannot move forward without looking back and scrutinizing the issues that led to millions of Americans losing trust in our election system. While every election has a modicum of fraud, the circumstances around the pandemic led multiple states to make rushed and perhaps ill-planned changes to their election systems weeks ahead of the presidential election. Simply put, Congress needs to act in a bipartisan fashion to examine the missteps–intentional or not–made this year in state legislatures across the country.
My bill will establish an Election Integrity Commission that would study the merits and administration of the November 2020 election and make recommendations to State legislatures to improve the security, integrity, and administration of federal elections. It is absolutely critical that every American has faith in our electoral system and that their vote is counted. As President Reagan said, ‘Freedom is never more than a generation away from extinction,’ and now more than ever before is it our duty to regain the trust of the American voter.
What’s the background?
President Donald Trump and his supporters have claimed that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential contest because election fraud tainted the outcome, allegations that have not been proven true.
In response, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is calling for an “emergency audit” of the presidential contest. Cruz explained over the weekend that such action is necessary because a large segment of the American electorate believes the 2020 election was “rigged,” and investigating their suspicions would bolster the integrity of November’s election and future elections.
However, any effort to stop the Electoral College certification, scheduled for Wednesday, is ultimately a futile one.
Scott himself said as much in a statement released earlier this week:
As I read the Constitution, there is no constitutionally viable means for the Congress to overturn an election wherein the states have certified and sent their Electors. Some of my colleagues believe they have found a path, and while our opinions differ, I do not doubt their good intentions to take steps towards stamping out voter fraud. Importantly, I disagree with their method both in principle and in practice. For their theory to work, Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats would have to elect Donald Trump president rather than Joe Biden. That it is not going to happen, not today or any other day.
Indeed, Vice President Mike Pence, who will president over the joint session of Congress to count the Electoral College votes, announced his intentions to essentially accept the results of the election.
“It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not,” Pence wrote.