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

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross

L.B. Gilbert

Ross: Griner’s freedom is more than her own, it represents America

America is standing up for freedom: A peaceful protestor with a taste for hashish in exchange for a merchant of death.
15 hours ago
Gingerbread House...
Dave Ross

Ross: The dark paradox of building a gingerbread house

I spent very little time reading up on current issues, and so I have no opinions of any value but I did help a build a gingerbread house.
2 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: Lawsuit challenges election officials for a better process

Right now, there are 26,933 ballots statewide being challenged, and some are suing for rejecting ballots just because the signatures don’t match
11 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: Another year without any major election fraud issues in sight

We’re three weeks past the election - and, based on what I’m reading, there’s no indication of any organized attempt to change or steal votes
12 days ago
Thanksgiving dinner...
Dave Ross

Ross: How to keep your Thanksgiving peaceful this year

I know Americans define Thanksgiving as a holiday to remind us all why we moved away from our relatives. But it doesn't have to be that way.
17 days ago
Dave Ross

Ross: Could planes only have one pilot someday?

Just one pilot in the cockpit. That would free up more pilots to compensate for crew shortages, and of course, save money.
17 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Former WA Attorney General: ‘Irresponsible’ to try forcing electoral college to defy state voters