Election law at center stage as legal battles continue in several states

By Bethany Blankley | The Center Square

Lawsuits remain ongoing in several states alleging election irregularities and fraud, and improperly followed state and federal procedures, which could impact how and when Electoral College votes are cast on Dec. 14. Before then exists an obscure rule, called the Safe Harbor date – Tuesday, Dec. 8, this year – established by federal law.

The Safe Harbor date already plays into a recent ruling made by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

In one of the lawsuits brought against the state of Pennsylvania, Alito on Sunday asked Pennsylvania officials to file briefs no later than the morning of Dec. 8, moving up the deadline from Dec. 9. The request is in response to an emergency injunction petition filed by Republicans seeking to invalidate or rescind the results of the Nov. 3 election already certified by the state.

At issue are several key dates established by federal law in 1948: Dec. 8 and 14 and Jan. 6. Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, is established by the U.S. Constitution.

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Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.

In 2000, 37 days after media outlets declared that former Vice President Al Gore won the presidential election, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on a legal issue related to Florida’s election and ultimately, Al Gore did not receive the necessary Electoral College votes of 270 to win. The key deadline then, as is this year, is the date when the Electoral College meets to vote on each state’s certified votes.

Federal law requires electors to vote on the Monday after the second Wednesday in December of the presidential election year (US code 3, Section 7), which this year is Dec. 14. Electors will meet in person to cast their votes. In 32 states, electors must vote for the candidate chosen by the winner of the popular vote of their state.

In July of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states can legally penalize or replace faithless electors, those who do not vote according to the popular vote of their state. Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia require electors to vote for the candidate selected by the popular vote. Fifteen states remove, penalize or cancel the vote of a faithless elector: Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.

The Supreme Court may once again rule on a case brought before it as it did in 2000 and two cases in Pennsylvania that Alito has already weighed in on. Others anticipate cases in other states to be heard before the high court. But if they are, many look to Dec. 14 as the benchmark.

Each state has its own set of election laws and codes that county and state officials must follow, subject to federal law and the U.S. Constitution, as outlined in a brief by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.

After the popular vote, governors of states sign and seal Certificates of Ascertainment in order for their respective states’ electors to vote (U.S. Code 3, Section 6) on Dec. 14.

In the 116th Congress, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, proposed changing this date to Jan. 2 to give states more time to certify results.

U.S. Code 3, Section 5 stipulates that if states follow established procedures and certify their votes at least six days prior to Dec. 14, then that determination is final and cannot be later challenged by Congress.

But, “the Supreme Court has ruled that the law does not actually require states to appoint Electors by that date in order for those Electoral Votes to be counted by Congress when determining the winner of the presidential election,” the Thomas More Society’s Amistad Project notes. “In the current context, states have laws in place awarding presidential Electors according to the popular vote.

“Because the laws governing the vote were violated in numerous ways in several key states, certification of the election results cannot be said to have been made in accordance with the laws established in those states. Therefore, the responsibility still rests with state legislatures to appoint their state’s Electors, because no ‘determination made pursuant to such law’ has actually been made.”

Known as the “Safe Harbor” date, some states have already certified their votes ahead of Dec. 8. But like Rubio, in the 116hth Congress, Rep. David E. Price, D-N.C., proposed changing the Safe Harbor date to Jan. 1.

Both the Dec. 8 and 14 deadlines have “zero constitutional basis,” the Amistad Project argues. The nonpartisan nonprofit organization most recently filed a lawsuit contesting the election results in Georgia.

“The only Electoral College deadline specifically required by the Constitution is noon on January 20, at which point President Trump’s first term officially ends,” the Amistad Project argues in its 8-page report. “All other deadlines – the ‘safe harbor’ deadline of December 8, the Electoral College voting on December 14, and even the congressional vote count on January 6 – are dates set by federal law.

“Moreover, these dates are arbitrary, being based on obsolete and outdated concerns,” the project maintains. “It is also well established that the U.S. Constitution is the highest law in the land, holding precedence over both state and federal laws. In the event that federal law presents an obstacle to faithfully adhering to constitutional requirements, it is necessary to disregard the statute in favor of the plain meaning of the Constitution.”

The Amistad Project argues that state and local officials enabled election irregularities that led to more than 1.2 million potentially fraudulent ballots cast on Nov. 3 and that the existing federal laws are still subject to the U.S. Constitution.

“Through rigorous investigations supporting our litigation, we demonstrate that state and local officials brazenly violated election laws in several swing states in order to advance a partisan political agenda,” Phill Kline, director of The Amistad Project, said in a statement. “As a result, it is impossible for those states to determine their presidential electors in line with the arbitrary deadline set forth via federal statute in 1948, and thus, the only deadline that matters is Jan. 20, 2021.”

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One thought on “Election law at center stage as legal battles continue in several states

  1. “Lawsuits remain ongoing in several states alleging election irregularities and fraud, and improperly followed state and federal procedures, which could impact how and when Electoral College votes are cast on Dec. 14.


    We all know Pennsylvania is one of about 6 swing states. At present, against all odds, Biden won all six states.

    For some months before Election day, Schumer’s aides and others, may have told Biden’s handlers:

    Have him stay in the basement.
    He does not need to campaign, except for an occasional masked outing, attended by 25 to 50 people.
    Don’t let him talk to any Media.
    All will be OK.

    Fixing the Election for Biden

    Sometime in August, Democrat operatives in NY (Schumer is from NY) likely talked to Democrat operatives in Philadelphia (Biden is from PA), regarding how to use mail-in ballots to fix the election for Biden, just in case he would be behind Trump.

    It likely was decided, PA would supply to NY:

    1) The ballots for each district,
    2) The envelopes and
    3) Copies of the registered voter lists, marked with likely voters.

    It likely was decided, NY would have people in about 10 spread-out locations, who would fill in the ballots, put then in envelopes, fill in the address and sign them, and put them in USPS-supplied boxes.

    It likely was decided to have about 280,000 ballots, which likely would secure Biden’s win.

    They grossly underestimated the number, because Trump was leading by 7 million votes at 10 PM, Election night, in PA.
    Shortly after 10 PM, as if someone had blown a whistle, counting more-or-less stopped in the 6 swing states.

    Time to Complete Ballots

    If an average worker could complete one ballot, ready for mailing, in about 2 minutes, there would be 30 x 8 x 5 = 1200 ballots per week, per worker. If there were 100 such workers (ten at each location), it would take about 16 – 17 days to complete 280,000 ballots.

    The ballots likely would be stored in a secure location, ready for transport, a few weeks before Election day, to the USPS mail center in Bethpage, NY, a few miles from NYC.

    Transporting the Ballots

    Jesse Morgan is a truck driver for a USPS subcontractor. He drives a USPS trailer-truck.

    He testified, in a sworn affidavit:

    His trailer was loaded with USPS boxes with ballots:

    1) In the rear of the trailer, to be unloaded at the USPS Center, in Lancaster, PA
    2) In the front of the trailer, to be unloaded at the USPS Center, in Harrisburg, PA

    The ballots had envelopes, with addresses on them.

    He had dispatch tickets, dated October 21 (two weeks before the election), to drive to Harrisburg, PA, unload the front part of his cargo, and proceed to Lancaster, PA, to unload the rear part of his cargo.

    He arrived at Harrisburg, but nothing was unloaded, which he thought was odd.
    He asked the Dispatcher what is going on, and asked for a ticket to be paid for “wait-time”.
    The Dispatcher told him to wait, and that the Director of Transportation would tell him what to do, which he thought was odd, because he had never even talked to a Director.

    After a 6-hour wait, the Director told him to go to Lancaster, but he refused to give Jesse the paperwork he had asked for.

    Jesse thought, going to Lancaster did not make sense, because the Lancaster cargo was in the back of the trailer.
    He drove to Lancaster, parked his trailer in the usual loading dock, and drove his tractor to his nearby home.

    The trailer contained about up to 280,000 ballots, completely filled out, according to eye witnesses.

    Jesse was suspicious of his cargo-load of ballots: “I was driving completed ballots from New York to Pennsylvania. I didn’t know, so I decided to speak up.”

    Watch the driver detailing his trip.

    For information: Planning and implementing the transporting of PA ballots to NY, i.e., across state lines, processing them in NY, and then transporting them from NY to PA, involve multiple federal felonies.

    Where were the FBI and DOJ?
    Did they investigate and brush it off as a “minor rregularity”?
    Why did most of the Media not cover it?

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