If you were busy last week, perhaps you didn’t find the time to check Facebook for U.S. Rep. Garret Graves’ 738 word statement explaining his vote against the results of the 2020 election.
In a clear-cut test of whether to stand with the principle of democratic rule, the Baton Rouge Republican split the baby in voting on whether to accept electoral votes from two states won by Joe Biden. He voted to support the vote of electors from Arizona but reject the slate from Pennsylvania.
This whole unprecedented assault on democracy was supposed to be about fraudulent voting turning the results of an election, although Joe Biden won convincingly and no court found any irregularities mandating intervention.
Nowhere in his statement does Graves demonstrate any fraud in Pennsylvania. And it’s not like he had a word limit. He could have gone on for another 738 words if he had any evidence of misconduct. Facebook wouldn’t mind.
So let's dive into what Graves did say.
In Arizona, he said “the Republican governor certified the state’s election results and there was no substantive objection by their legislature. Both the Arizona House and Senate have Republican majorities. “
In Pennsylvania, by contrast, “the governor, attorney general and secretary of state appeared to be involved in some changes — all Democrats.”
So Republicans can be entrusted with vote counting, but Democrats cannot?
Moreover, in Pennsylvania, “judges made changes that did not comply with the election process established by the Pennsylvania legislature.”
Perhaps he has a point there: There are perils to having judges meddling in election rules.
But wait. The same thing happened in Louisiana.
U.S. District Judge Shelley Dick, of Baton Rouge, altered Louisiana’s election rules to allow for greater leeway during the coronavirus crisis. The judge, a Democratic appointee, expanded access to mail-in ballots.
But Graves did not object to approving the electors from his own state, which was easily carried by President Donald Trump.
Graves is not a lawyer, but he is a smart fellow and has represented Baton Rouge and Louisiana capably.
In reaching his decision, he says he worked hard, reading “nearly 1,200 pages of court filings, judicial opinions, law review articles, Congressional Research Service briefs, opinion columns and other documents” and speaking with “constitutional lawyers, law professors and others.”
He concluded that legislators are supposed to set election rules, but in some cases “judges and others that were NOT legislatures made decisions” that “prevented a fair election.” But he does not say which decisions bother him or how they tilted the results.
While much of Graves’ logic Wednesday was unsound, we do agree with one thing he says:
“This election is over and it is past-time to move on.”