By Raymond Wolfe
Vice President Mike Pence has decided not to reject contested electors on “unilateral authority” during today’s electoral vote certification, according to his letter published on Twitter earlier today.
“Some believe that as Vice President, I should be able to accept or reject electoral votes unilaterally,” the letter reads, adding that Pence doesn’t consider that “view” to be “correct.”
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) January 6, 2021
“I do not believe that the Founders of our country intended to invest the Vice President with unilateral authority to decide which electoral votes should be counted during the Joint Session of Congress, and no Vice President in American history has ever asserted such authority,” he said.
Some constitutional experts, however, have argued that multiple vice presidents, including Thomas Jefferson, Richard Nixon, and Al Gore, acted unilaterally during previous electoral certifications. As President of the Senate, Pence “can do his duty under the constitution … he can follow historical precedent, he can follow the language of the Constitution,” former Texas lawmaker Rick Green contended.
“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 said.
Nevertheless, “I welcome the efforts of Senate and House members who have stepped forward to use their authority under the law to raise objection and present evidence,” his letter continues.
“Those who suggest that raising objections under the Electoral Count Act is improper or undemocratic ignore more than 130 years of history, and fail to acknowledge that Democrats raised objections in Congress each of the last three times that a Republican candidate for President prevailed,” it acknowledges.
President Trump slammed Pence on Twitter over the vice president’s decision, saying that Pence “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and Constitution.”
He added that Pence refused to allow “[s]tates a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify.”
Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2021
State lawmakers from across contested swing states had petitioned for a ten-to-twelve-day halt of the vote certification, to allow state legislatures time to investigate allegations of illegality and recertify electors.
“These elected officials are not asking Mike Pence to overturn the election results, and they’re certainly not trying to subvert our democracy,” said former Kansas attorney general Phill Kline. “Rather, they’re simply requesting that they be allowed to perform the role required of them by the Constitution — an opportunity that in some cases has been actively denied by their own governors.”