Sen. Thune, Rep. Johnson comment on counting of Electoral College votes
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - As the U.S. Congress votes to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win, South Dakota’s congressional delegation has spoken out.
Representative Dusty Johnson says he will vote to uphold the election results that were certified, recounted, and audited from various states across the nation.
“Like many South Dakotans, I am frustrated with how certain states handle their elections, and in the weeks following the 2020 election, I supported the president’s right to his day in court. Those legal challenges were filed in dozens of state and federal courts, but failed to overturn any votes.
“The Constitution is more important than my personal political views or my political popularity. There is no constitutional basis for Congress to substitute its judgement for that of the states and courts. There is only one sentence in the Constitution that addresses Congress’s role on Jan 6. It states:
“The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted.”
“The only person performing an official act is the President of the Senate, who counts the votes. Other than being present, there is no constitutional role for Congress. Congress is instructed to act as witness, not judge. I cannot seize powers not legally provided to me. That is tyranny.”
“Our state would raise hell if the Nancy Pelosi-controlled House overturned South Dakota’s election results for President Trump. Our founders knew well the grave risks associated with concentrating power in Washington, D.C., especially the power to select our president. They placed that power with the states, and just as I would resolutely defend the results of South Dakota’s elections from federal interference, I cannot overturn the legally-certified election results of another state and its voters.”
Senator Thune, who has been facing opposition from President Trump, says “the oath I swear as the senator for South Dakota is not to any one person, but to the U.S. Constitution.”
“Perhaps the strongest part of America’s electoral system is that Washington, D.C., is far removed from it. States, not the federal government, are entrusted with the sacred duty of running elections, ensuring eligible citizens can vote, and verifying that every legal ballot is counted. While a large majority of South Dakotans voted for President Trump, South Dakota’s election is not at question here. Every state, including South Dakota, has certified its vote in the presidential election, some after multiple recounts, audits, and extensive review by the courts. Republican-led state legislatures in many of the swing states like Georgia, Arizona, and Pennsylvania have held hearings and investigated alleged irregularities, but have ultimately not acted to de-certify the election outcomes in their states.
“I support efforts to continue to examine and strengthen the integrity of our elections, while respecting the constitutional role of the states. For example, some have proposed a forum to scrutinize the 2020 election, which is a concept I support. Nevertheless, the question we face today is whether a small number of politicians in Washington, D.C., should substitute their judgment for the judgment of millions of Americans from other states who cast their ballots in the presidential election, believing they would be counted.
“The oath I swear as the senator for South Dakota is not to any one person, but to the U.S. Constitution. Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution and the 12th Amendment make clear that the Senate’s role in presidential elections is limited to counting the electoral ballots certified by the states. While this election may not have turned out the way many of us wanted, our constitutional system, in which I have tremendous faith, does not allow Congress to change the result.”
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