Sullivan Votes to Count the Electoral College Vote

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) released the following statement after the conclusion of Congress’ joint session to count the Electoral College vote from the 2020 presidential election as mandated by the U.S. Constitution.

“The violence that occurred in the Capitol building during the counting of the Electoral College vote was sad and dispiriting. There is no excuse for political violence. Those who chose violence in order to disrupt our constitutional duties, however, did not have the last word. Early this morning, the Congress completed its constitutional responsibilities, underscoring the resilience of America’s democracy. 

“Elections are often contested—2020 was no exception. I supported the right of President Trump’s campaign to pursue legal challenges and to request recounts through the courts. In our constitutional system of government, this is how electoral disputes and allegations of fraud are resolved.  However, no Supreme Court justice, state or federal judge, state legislature or governor has found sufficient evidence to overturn any state’s election results. Of the six battleground states for 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, like all others, submitted certified Electoral College slates to be counted by the Congress. No state submitted competing or multiple slates of electoral votes.  

“Objections were raised by some of my fellow senators that would have rejected the state-certified electoral votes from certain battleground states. I did not join these objections, despite having numerous Alaskans whom I respect encouraging me to do so. I studied this important issue, the relevant constitutional provisions, and the historical precedent thoroughly. My conclusion was that by objecting to state-certified Electoral College votes, the 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. This would set an unwise and extremely troubling precedent, especially for states like Alaska.   

“Overturning this election would, in essence, create a system that would allow the president to be chosen by whichever political party controls Congress, overriding the power of the states. It would also ultimately eviscerate the role of the Electoral College, which gives Americans in less populous states, like Alaska, a much greater voice in presidential elections, and has benefitted Alaskans and enhanced federalism and our individual freedoms for decades. Protecting our constitutional order and the explicit constitutional right of states to elect the president requires the Senate to respect the limits placed on its own power. 

“Where do we go from here? During these trying times, it is important that we all work to listen to and respect each other. For example, 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. This should trouble all Americans, whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or Independent. These concerns should not be dismissed. The lack of confidence in the integrity of our elections began well before the 2020 elections, as we witnessed many prominent national elected officials questioning the legitimacy of the 2016 presidential election results over the past four years. It is vitally important that Americans have confidence in election integrity. To that end, I, along with a number of my colleagues, introduced yesterday one of the first bills of the 117th Congress 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.  

“This past November, a significant majority of Alaskans supported President Trump’s reelection. These Alaskans should not be confused with or lumped together with those who perpetrated violence in the historic halls of the U.S. Capitol yesterday. 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. Although I stand ready to work in a bipartisan manner with President-elect Biden, I am deeply concerned that the incoming administration will work to undermine much of the progress we have achieved in the past few years. 

“But, ultimately, my oath is to the Constitution and the laws of our nation. This includes the Electoral College process, which was completed this morning, and the orderly transfer of power—one of the most sacred elements of our great constitutional republic—which will take place on January 20th. For these reasons, I voted this morning to count the 2020 state-certified Electoral College votes, which helps to underscore for Alaskans, our fellow Americans, and the rest of the world that American democracy remains resilient and strong.”

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