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Timmons to Object to Electoral College Certification on January 6

 Congressman William Timmons (SC-04) today announced that he will object to the Electoral College certification process on Wednesday, January 6. He released the following statement:

“On January 6, 2021, the U.S. House and Senate will convene in a joint session to open the 2020 presidential election electoral votes submitted by state government officials, certify their validity, count them, and declare the official result of the election. As the representative of South Carolina’s Fourth Congressional District, I took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and this is a duty that I do not take lightly or without careful consideration and deliberation. 

“Since Election Day, I have continually said that to preserve the integrity of our election system, we must fight to ensure that every legal vote is counted, every count is verified, and every voice is heard. Implicit in that effort is a need to ensure that no illegally cast votes are included in the results. Every American must be confident in the integrity of our electoral process. After all, free and fair elections are the bedrock of our republic. 

“Unfortunately, in the months preceding the November election, a group of big money funded, special interest, liberal elites intentionally and systematically sought to use state and federal judges to manipulate the election laws in swing states in a manner that reduced the requirements for voter registration, identification, and verification; extended the deadlines to submit absentee votes; and altered or extended the ability to ‘cure’ defective votes. These efforts were numerous, targeted, and in open contravention of legal norms. Furthermore, these efforts were executed with strategic timing, within weeks of the election, and in collusion with so-called ‘get out the vote’ operations in the same states. The timing in making these changes so close to the election was almost certainly intentional because of the difficulties and delays associated with challenging and appealing a court’s ruling prior to the election. Moreover, the manner in which the rules were changed made it more difficult (if not impossible) to challenge the results of the election after the fact. These judicial modifications of state election laws were successful in many states, but not all.

“In South Carolina, Democrats and out of state special interest groups pursued an injunction to override the South Carolina General Assembly’s recently adopted COVID-friendly modifications to our state election laws. ‘No excuse’ absentee voting, as adopted by the General Assembly in South Carolina, appropriately balanced election integrity and public health. Our elected Senators and Representatives in Columbia, working with our Governor, undertook their constitutionally prescribed duty to dictate the election laws of our state. 

“Days later, special interest groups filed a lawsuit asking a federal judge in South Carolina to overrule the General Assembly. The district judge issued a ruling that unilaterally and unconstitutionally altered the election laws of South Carolina by striking South Carolina’s witness requirement for absentee mail-in ballots. This ruling was in direct contravention of the laws passed by the South Carolina General Assembly and would have compromised South Carolina’s ability to verify that mail-in ballots were cast by bona fide, duly registered voters of South Carolina. Thankfully, South Carolina was ready to defend our state’s election laws and through an expedited appeals process obtained a ruling on October 5, 2020 from the United States Supreme Court overturning the district judge’s order, see Andino v. Middleton, 592 U.S. ___ (2020).

“In a concurring opinion of that Supreme Court ruling, Justice Brett Kavanaugh outlined why judges changing the election laws so close to an election is improper and unconstitutional. Justice Kavanaugh wrote, ‘First, the Constitution principally entrusts the safety and health of the people to the politically accountable officials of the States.’ Thus a ‘State legislature’s decision either to keep or to make changes to election rules to address COVID-19 ordinarily should not be subject to second-guessing by an unelected federal judiciary, which lacks the background, competence, and expertise to assess public health and is not accountable to the people.’  ‘Second, for many years, this Court has repeatedly emphasized that federal courts ordinarily should not alter state election rules in the period close to an election.’

“Justice Kavanaugh concluded, ‘By enjoining South Carolina’s witness requirement shortly before the election, the District Court defied that principle and this Court’s precedents.’ 

“While South Carolina was ready and successfully obtained expedited relief from the highest Court in the land, other States were not. These last-minute attacks on election laws were launched by liberal special interest groups in many of the swing states that are currently at issue and for which, on January 6, 2021, I must vote whether to seat their electors. The fact that other states were not able to obtain relief from these attacks so close to the election does not make the conduct proper.  

“To the contrary, this very situation validates Justice Kavanaugh’s concerns with changes in the election laws by unelected officials (or unlawful consent decrees by officials in the state executive branch) within weeks of an election. Simply put, it deprives citizens of the ability to ensure the integrity and fairness in their election.

“This is of grave concern to me, as I know it is to many of you. Actors other than state legislatures, as required by the Constitution, changed the rules of the game after kickoff. At best, these rulings and the activist judges that unilaterally imposed them are responsible for diminishing trust in our elections. At worst, they may have enabled widespread fraud that could have altered the results of the election. Democrat activists succeeded in their efforts to bypass state legislatures and have voting laws changed by courts across the country. They tried and failed here in South Carolina, but this type of judicial activism in election laws must stop. 

“If these unprecedented and unconstitutional changes were not bad enough, Big Tech, the media, and ‘pollsters’ piled on. Big Tech censorship inappropriately placed their thumb on the scale with the purpose of influencing public opinion. We witnessed the culmination of years of one-sided media coverage that influenced public opinion with the goal of affecting electoral outcomes. Not to mention the grossly inaccurate polling which painted a much different image of the election and possibly influenced a targeted group of Americans to stay home instead of heading to the polls. Together, these factors are drastically worse than the supposed (and debunked) ‘Russian collusion’ in the 2016 election – unproven allegations that Congress and the media have aggressively investigated for the last four years. 

“I am also troubled that some of my colleagues across the aisle and some members of the media are leveling accusations of sedition and treason against those of us who disagree with them. These ad hominem attacks are not uncommon from those unable to debate the issues on the merits. But it is especially ironic here, since these same people spent the last four years breathlessly voicing their concerns that President Trump was a Russian asset despite the absence of any evidence. These attacks are dangerous and inappropriate when made against duly elected members of Congress who are merely seeking to protect and ensure the integrity of our elections and represent the voices of our constituents.

“Let me be clear: changing state election laws through the judicial branch in the weeks before the election was unconstitutional and wrong. These changes, pursued by Democrats, sought to decrease the integrity of the elections in swing states by aggressively reducing identification requirements. 

“The American people are right to look to Congress for answers and action, but to date, Congress has failed to launch any meaningful investigation or oversight into anything that relates to election integrity. This is unacceptable at a time when tens of millions of Americans feel disenfranchised.

“For these reasons, I plan to object to the Electoral College certification from states that unconstitutionally changed their election laws. In the coming months, I look forward to working with my colleagues to establish standards and ensure this does not happen again.”