Former WA Attorney General: ‘Irresponsible’ to try forcing electoral college to defy state voters

Nov 12, 2020, 7:58 AM | Updated: 12:49 pm
Joe Biden, electoral college...
President-elect Joe Biden. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

As President Trump and Republicans continue to call the results of the 2020 election into question, some in the party have called on state Legislatures to choose electors who will give their electoral college votes to Trump in battleground states Biden ultimately won. What’s the likelihood of that happening? Former Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna weighed in.

“I was reading an article today where one expert said, ‘Yes, it’s possible in the way that a killer asteroid is possible,'” McKenna told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross. “So is it possible? Yes, but it would take a series of frankly improbable events to all line up for that to happen.”

“Theoretically, it could happen, but I think it’s going to miss the Earth by a country mile,” he added.

McKenna hearkens back to the last major electoral college controversy that occurred in the 1876 presidential race between Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel Tilden. In that race, “several states sent competing sets of electors to Congress,” calling a decisive 20 electoral votes into question.

Ross: Post-election headlines don’t sound like the America we know

A compromise was ultimately reached in 1877, where the 20 disputed votes were awarded to Hayes by southern Democrats, in exchange for withdrawing federal troops from the South, effectively ending the post-Civil War era of Reconstruction.

A decade later, the Electoral Count Act of 1887 was passed, which mandated that a state’s certified election results are binding and can’t be changed by Congress. As for what happens when a state sends competing electors, that remains a slightly more open-ended question.

“Let’s say the Legislature sends one list of electors voting for Trump and the governor and secretary of state of the same state sends a different list. What are you supposed to do?” McKenna posited. “This is where the problem actually comes up — that’s unclear.”

Even so, McKenna is skeptical that we’re on the brink of a Constitutional crisis.

“The reason we’re not going to get to that question is because the states are going to certify their results within the required time frame,” he noted. “Number two, I mean, there just isn’t enough evidence of fraud, and frankly, the margins are big enough in every state, even the states that are going through recounts.”

Given the lack of solid proof of fraud and the wide margin of victory Biden saw in key states, McKenna also hopes to see his fellow Republicans speak out against attempts to subvert 2020’s results through an end-around in the electoral college.

“I would like to see more Republican elected officials step up and really speak out against any talk of using the Electoral Count Act to upend the results of the election,” he said. “There just is no basis for doing that.”

McKenna: If election comes down to one lawsuit, it’ll be Pennsylvania

“It’s really irresponsible for anyone to suggest that the electoral list should be picked by the Republican legislature of a given state — that’s wrong,” he continued. “I hope that more Republican leaders start stepping up and making that clear.”

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross

Steve Bannon...
Dave Ross

Ross: The person who really needs to testify about Jan. 6 riot isn’t Steve Bannon

Steve Bannon may be the one summoned to testify in Congress about Jan. 6, but there's someone else who has more to answer for.
1 day ago
Freedom, vaccine mandate...
Dave Ross

Ross: Freedom requires level of unselfishness many in our country don’t have

Total freedom requires a level of unselfishness that doesn't come naturally for a lot of people, as we've seen firsthand with the state vaccine mandate.
2 days ago
car tabs, Orting...
Dave Ross

Ross: Did you vote for I-976 car tab cuts in 2019? Wish granted

While a vaccine mandate cost the ferry system 7% of its staff, let’s remember this is happening in a state that was ready to impose bigger cuts two years ago.
3 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: May we live long and prosper with our vaccine choices

Talk show host Dennis Praeger decided to put it all on the line to prove he’s right about vaccines.
4 days ago
Flu vaccine...
MyNorthwest Staff

A new ‘universal’ flu-COVID shot on the horizon, says local MD

Mercer Island’s Dr. Gordon Cohen discusses how future iterations of the COVID mRNA vaccine could also treat seasonal flu.
5 days ago
Crypto power plant...
Dave Ross

Ross: The troubling downside behind megawatts of crypto-power

Power plants feeding Bitcoin miners will create jobs, but they’ll do it by pumping CO2 into the air in service of creating more of the currency.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Former WA Attorney General: ‘Irresponsible’ to try forcing electoral college to defy state voters