Early Thursday morning, hours after law enforcement cleared the U.S. Capitol Building of thousands of rioters who had invaded it twelve hours earlier, Congress returned to the business they had been forced to set aside -- certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory by counting the Electoral College results.
After midnight, Pennsylvania’s electoral votes were disputed by eight of the nine GOP House members from the commonwealth, joined by scores of others from around the country. Their objection forced the House to debate the matter for two hours.
Lancaster County’s congressman, Lloyd Smucker of West Lampeter, participated in the debate, delivering a short speech around 1 a.m. in which he outlined his reasons for seeking to disenfranchise millions of Pennsylvania voters.
The full text of his speech is transcribed below. LNP | LancasterOnline fact checked the key assertions Smucker made, which you can find below the speech text.
Delivered in the early morning hours of Jan. 7 on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives:
Thank you Madam Speaker, I’d like to start by making two basic points. No. 1, individual states who administer elections must ensure that they’re conducted fairly, uniformly and in accordance with the law. And No. 2, every American wants to be, and deserves to be confident that our elections are secure and that all eligible legal votes are counted accurately and in a transparent manner.
I’ll say this, in my district in Lancaster and York counties I think that occurred. I’m very proud of my county election officials who upheld the Pennsylvania constitution and followed the letter of the law.
But unfortunately, that sentiment is not shared across the commonwealth. And today my objection is not about voter fraud, (1) it is grounded in unconstitutional measures taken by bureaucrats and partisan justices in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania that have unlawfully changed how this election was carried out.
(2) This potentially changed the outcome and certainly caused millions of our state’s voters to question the election results.
Other speakers have outlined this issue. In brief, Pennsylvania’s state Legislature in 2019 passed a bipartisan election law reform bill, and then (3) the partisan Pennsylvania Supreme Court took it upon themselves to rewrite that law just seven weeks before the election.
(4) They unlawfully legislated from the bench and made substantive changes to the law, including allowing for unsecure drop boxes, and ordering that ballots received after the election be counted, among other things.
The Pennsylvania secretary of state went even further. Her (5) unilateral, unconstitutional changes resulted in counties treating ballots differently so that some voters had the opportunity to change mail-in ballots to correct insufficiencies, while in other counties, their ballots simply were not counted.
As members of Congress, we serve as a voice for our constituents. (6) This is the one time I have a voice in this process, and I cannot simply look away when tens of thousands of my constituents have real and legitimate concerns about how this election was conducted in Pennsylvania.
In fact, I think inadequate response to those concerns by Pennsylvania officials is one of the major problems. (7) Simple measures like audits should be routine and random and supported by both parties, and I believe they are critical in restoring faith in Pennsylvania’s elections moving forward.
(8) The bottom line for my constituents is that Pennsylvania's officials at all levels failed to conduct a uniform and legal election, and for that reason, they inappropriately and unlawfully certified the state’s electors. With that, Madam Speaker, I would like to yield the balance of my time to my colleague from Pennsylvania, Mr. Kelly.