Sen. Sullivan defends decision to certify election for Joe Biden – Alaska Watchman

Sen. Sullivan defends decision to certify election for Joe Biden – Alaska Watchman

Sen. Dan Sullivan issued a letter defending his Jan. 6 decision to approve the Electoral College votes which officially certified Joe Biden as president elect.

The 2,000-plus word letter also addresses the violence that took place at the Capitol building on Jan. 6 following a peaceful protest of hundreds of thousands of Trump supporters. Sullivan condemned those who forced their way into the halls of Congress as legislators were voting on the Electoral votes from each state.

Sullivan was criticized by thousands of Alaskans for not speaking out in support of Trump’s effort to have the electoral votes from several states thrown out due to concerns about voter fraud and irregularities. Sullivan said his silence on the matter was purposeful.

“I have refrained from talking to the media before I could fully absorb all of the material — particularly the relevant constitutional provisions, historical record, precedents, and input from Alaskans and fellow senators,” he said in the Jan. 9 letter. Sullivan noted that he was also focusing in on how his actions might set future precedents regarding constitutional norms and states’ rights.

“…thousands of Alaskans, question the legitimacy of the outcome of this election and the integrity of the American electoral process.”

He admitted that “many Alaskans” encouraged him to join Sen. Ted Cruz and others in challenging the electoral votes in certain states, which he ultimately refused to do. He said he was unwilling to join this cause due to his concern that “Congress would be dramatically expanding its limited constitutional role in presidential elections by usurping the explicit constitutional power of the states and the people to elect the President.”

Despite voting to confirm Biden’s Electoral College victory, Sullivan did say he was “deeply concerned that the incoming Biden administration will work to undermine much of the historic progress we have made during the Trump administration that has positively impacted working families, our economy, our military and veterans, access to our lands, Alaska Native communities, and the federal judiciary.”

His letter also noted the imperative to restore confidence in election integrity.

“It is increasingly clear that tens of millions of Americans, including thousands of Alaskans, question the legitimacy of the outcome of this election and the integrity of the American electoral process,” Sullivan wrote. “This should trouble all Americans, whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent. These concerns should not be dismissed.”

He emphasized that it is “vitally important that Americans have confidence in election integrity.” To this end he has joined several other U.S. Senators to introduce a bill that calls for the establishment of a “9/11-type commission that will bring transparency to many of the issues and irregularities of the 2020 election with the goal of advancing state-led reforms that will protect and enhance the integrity of our electoral systems.”

With regards to the belief that there was substantial election fraud in the 2020 presidential contest, Sullivan walked a fine line.

“Elections are often contested, and commonly involve all manner of recounts and legal challenges — 2020 was no exception,” he said. “The pandemic, and the unprecedented number of mail-in and absentee ballots cast, made those challenges all the more pronounced. I supported the Trump campaign’s right to request recounts and pursue legal challenges through our courts. In our constitutional system of government, this is how electoral disputes and allegations of fraud are resolved.”

Sullivan noted, however, that legal challenges in six battleground states, never gained sufficient traction.

Fundamentally, Sullivan opposed the challenge to electoral votes based on his view that Congress is limited in its power to reject state electors.

“While some instances of election fraud and irregularities have undoubtedly occurred, no Supreme Court justice, state or federal judge, state legislature, or governor found sufficient evidence to overturn their state’s election results,” he said. “Of the six states to which questions have been raised, five have state legislatures controlled by Republicans and two have Republican governors. Pursuant to their constitutional obligations, each of these states has certified Electoral College slates to be counted by the Congress. No state submitted multiple slates of electoral votes.”

But Sullivan acknowledged that there are many who are convinced that widespread fraud took place.

“They encouraged me to join efforts by some of my Republican Senate colleagues to object to the counting of certain electoral votes,” he said, before explaining  that such objections “would not have resulted in a second term for President Trump.”

That’s because it would have taken both the U.S. House and the Senate to vote in favor of throwing out Electoral College votes from any given state. Since the Democratic controlled House was certain to reject any attempt at throwing out Biden votes, the effort was largely a way to simply “raise the issue of election integrity,” he noted.

Fundamentally, Sullivan opposed the challenge to electoral votes based on his view that Congress is limited in its power to reject state electors.

“These Alaskans should not be confused with or lumped together with those who perpetrated violence in the historic halls of the U.S. Capitol.”

“Such a precedent would be unwise and troubling, especially for states like Alaska,” he claimed. “It could create a system that would allow the President to ultimately be chosen by whichever political party controls the Congress, overriding the power of the states.”

Sullivan concluded his letter by noting that he was “saddened and angered by the violence that engulfed the Capitol” on Jan 6, and that he wished “fervently that President Trump had accepted the results of the election, and more forcefully and earlier repudiated the violence on that sad day.”

He then emphasized that the violence that took place on Jan. 6 should not be used as tool to condemn the vast majority of Trump supporters.

“These Alaskans should not be confused with or lumped together with those who perpetrated violence in the historic halls of the U.S. Capitol. Working with Alaskans, the Trump administration helped our state make historic progress on a variety of issues that positively impact working families, our economy, our military and veterans, access to our lands, Alaska Native communities, and the federal judiciary,” he said.

TAKING ACTION

To contact Sen. Sullivan, call (202) 224-3004, or visit www.sullivan.senate.gov.

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