On Wednesday, the top Republicans on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees demanded that the Democrats who chair those committees “immediately” launch congressional investigations into “errors and misconduct” surrounding the 2020 presidential election, calling for them to hold hearings “immediately.”
“We urge you to immediately convene hearings to examine the integrity of the 2020 election amid troubling reports of irregularities and improprieties,” Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Oversight Committee Ranking Member James Comer (R-Ky.) wrote in a letter to Reps. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.).
Jordan and Comer argued that since Nadler and Maloney help lead “a political party that spent four years baselessly calling into question the legitimacy of the 2016 election with debunked allegations of Russian collusion, you owe it to all Americans to fully examine allegations of actual election errors and misconduct.”
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) November 19, 2020
The Republicans cited a report they issued in September, in which they detailed “how Democrats across the country were pushing last-minute changes to state election laws and procedures. We warned that these dangerous initiatives would increase the risk of election-related crimes and errors, undermine the integrity of the electoral process, and cause lingering uncertainty about the results of the election for several days or weeks after Election Day. Democrats ignored this report, but many of our predictions have unfortunately come true.”
Jordan and Comer cited the ongoing litigation over Pennsylvania’s extended mail-in and absentee ballot deadline. They cited Democrats’ refusal to clean up outdated and inaccurate voter rolls.
“In California, for example, Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation in June that required election officials to hold an all-mail election. After the state began mailing ballots, reports surfaced of voters receiving duplicate ballots, voters receiving multiple ballots containing different versions of their name, and receiving ballots that belonged to someone else,” the Republicans wrote. While California officials assured news outlets the multiple ballots would not be a problem, some officers mailed out as many as 2,100 “faulty ballots” that did not give residents an option to vote for president.
The Republicans also noted election irregularities in Georgia. “During a state audit, county officials unearthed over 5,000 previously uncounted ballots. On November 16, 2020, Floyd County found 2,600 uncounted ballots that were scanned onto a memory card, but never uploaded into the initial ballot count. Similarly, on November 17, 2020, Fayette County discovered 2,755 uncounted ballots, and most recently, Walton County found 284 uncounted votes.”
“These serious concerns give rise to the urgent need for congressional oversight of the integrity of the 2020 election,” the Republicans argued. “Our committees must conduct oversight hearings to ensure that Americans have faith in the integrity of our election. We ask that you work with us to schedule and plan these hearings as soon as possible.”
President Donald Trump’s campaign is litigating the preliminary election results, which suggest Joe Biden defeated Trump with 306 votes in the Electoral College — the exact same majority Trump won in 2016. While the Trump campaign has highlighted many serious irregularities, and the campaign has formally requested a partial recount in Wisconsin, it is unlikely the president’s challenges will reverse Biden’s substantial leads in key swing states.
Whether or not Trump’s litigation, his recounts, or potential congressional investigations flip the results of the presidential race, the serious irregularities that have come to light deserve scrutiny. It is important for public trust in the election system to be restored, regardless of who ultimately won the election.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.