States need to investigate election irregularities and put controls in place that will restore voter confidence in the process, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said on Jan. 7.
“I sincerely hope this debate will serve as a wake-up call to state legislatures to recognize the legitimacy of these concerns, fully investigate the irregularities in their states, reassert their authority over federal elections, and establish controls to restore confidence in our election system. The solution lies in the states, not with the federal government,” Johnson said in a statement.
Johnson noted that millions of Americans are worried that the 2020 presidential election was fraught with fraud and called such worries legitimate.
“Those who have lost confidence are not crazy,” he said. “They are patriots who dearly love America and are alarmed by what they have witnessed over the last four years: a thoroughly corrupt FBI investigation of a duly elected president; a grossly biased media that has chosen sides and uses its power to interfere in our politics to a far greater extent than any foreign entity could ever hope to achieve; an increasingly powerful social media that censors news and conservative voices; and courts and election officials that usurp the constitutional authority of state legislatures in setting the times, places, and manner of holding elections.”
Americans saw the COVID-19 pandemic “being exploited” to ramp up the use of mail-in ballots and heard that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg poured $500 million into local governments as part of contracts that allowed nonprofits to dictate how elections were run, Johnson noted.
“Then, on Election Day, they saw poll watchers being thrown out or obstructed from observing. They heard reports of dead people voting, votes being cast by people who have moved out of state or reside at vacant addresses, people voting twice, once by absentee ballot and once in person, of large Democrat-controlled counties waiting until after Republican counties have reported and then dumping their vote totals in the wee hours of the morning, election officials and others refusing to turn over evidence to those investigating irregularities, and courts refusing to hear what evidence was obtained and instead dismissing election challenges on procedural grounds,” he added.
“Is it any wonder that so many have lost confidence in the fairness of our election system and question the legitimacy of the result?”
The statement outlined a speech that Johnson said he was going to read on the Senate floor on Jan. 6, while Congress debated an objection to Arizona’s electoral votes. That debate was interrupted by protesters who stormed the Capitol.
“For the future unity of our nation, it is crucial that states properly shoulder their responsibility, take the action required, and alleviate any doubt that future elections will be fair and legitimate,” Johnson concluded.
Johnson, a second-term senator whose current term is up in two years, chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He held the only federal hearing on irregularities in the 2020 election.
Johnson, before the joint session, had committed to objecting to electoral votes if Congress didn’t establish a commission to examine election irregularities. Congress didn’t do so, and Johnson didn’t end up objecting to votes.
Sens. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), and Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) joined Johnson in reversing their commitment to object.
“I cannot now in good conscience object to the certification of these electors,” Loeffler said in a brief speech. “The violence, the lawlessness, and siege of the halls of Congress are abhorrent and stand as a direct attack on what my objection was intended to protect, the sanctity of the American democratic process.”