“Voters decide elections, not the candidates,” says the bipartisan National Council on Election Integrity.
In a post-election press briefing with reporters, the bipartisan National Council on Election Integrity reminded Americans that the lawful process of our elections is that no candidate decides elections, they are players, not referees.
To this end, they announced an ad they are running in Pennsylvania to remind Americans that we count every vote as part of our longstanding process of peaceful elections.
The panel, consisting of the founder of Issue One Nick Penniman and five bipartisan members, assured voters of the process and importance of counting every vote.
Specifically, this Pennsylvanian was able to ask about President Trump’s troubling comments early Wednesday morning, “So we’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop.”
Sarah Jones: As a Pennsylvania based outlet, we are wondering about President Trump’s comment that he would go to the Supreme Court to stop the voting.
The President seemed to have been conflating the (at that time, the remaining) 2.2 million remaining early and mail-in ballots with ballots postmarked on Election Day but not received until after 8 PM, in an attempt to try to stop legitimate votes from being counted.
How confident can Pennsylvania voters be that their early and mail-in votes received on or by Election Day will be counted?
Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge (R-PA) answered first, assuring this reporter that there is “absolutely no reason to be anything but confident… Regardless of what the President might say, and I’d say his remark was even to some extent unAmerican because he tried to disenfranchise millions of voters.”
Ridge went on to note that President Trump’s comments were repudiated by conservatives, and that every legitimately cast vote will be counted and added, “Patience is required and deserved, and so is confidence.”
It was noted by the panel that neither candidate should be calling this election until every vote is counted. They were displeased with President Trump’s comments early this morning and with former Vice President Joe Biden’s comments today saying he felt positive about the election.
Nick Penniman added that there have been no significant disruptions yet and former Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) said “We are all Americans and we deserve to have our votes counted.”
The prevailing sentiment was a reminder that it is not unusual to not know the outcome of an election. Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) said, “The Constitution guarantees a right to vote, not a right to a quick outcome.”
Former Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN) added there has been “no, zero” evidence of election fraud and all votes will be counted under applicable state laws.
The point was made that the law does not allow counting early/mail in ballots in the states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, and the National Council on Election Integrity had urged that states move those dates up to allow a longer runway for the counting of those ballots.
Former Rep. Wamp reminded his conservative friends “We did this to ourselves,” as those laws were passed in many of the states by Republican legislatures.
Ridge noted that it is “the right of individual states to set timelines, we have historically embraced this,” as he pointed out that Republicans “abandon this basic tenet in our party when we criticize the states having their say.” Ridge added that states setting their own laws for elections is “consistent with fundamental Republican view of federalism.”
The panel remained focused on the positives of a peaceful election day and post-election day, as well as the record turnout of 160 million Americans voting, even during a pandemic. The process is playing out as intended, and we all need to remain calm and be patient.
(All quotes were live transcribed and might not be exact, will be updated with any clarifications when the video is supplied.)
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.