Editor’s note: This is an excerpted version of U.S. Sen. Rob Portman’s column that appeared this week in the The Cincinnati Enquirer.
I have supported the Trump campaign’s right to count every lawful vote, request state recounts, and pursue lawsuits regarding election fraud or other irregularities.
Based on polling, a substantial majority of the nearly 74 million Americans who supported President Trump question the legitimacy of the election. I believe going through a fair and transparent process to ensure the election was properly decided is important for our democracy and to help heal our polarized country.
In supporting this post-election process, I have said that the states and the courts should act expeditiously and that any allegations of fraud must be based on evidence, which is what the law requires.
States have now completed counting votes and most battleground states will have certified their election results as of this week. Some state recounts have been completed and those remaining are expected to be completed within the next two weeks. Based on all the information currently available, neither the final lawful vote counts nor the recounts have led to a different outcome in any state. In other words, the initial determination showing Joe Biden with enough electoral votes to win has not changed.
I voted for President Trump, was a co-chair of his campaign in Ohio, and I believe his policies would be better for Ohio and the country. But I also believe that there is no more sacred constitutional process in our great democracy than the orderly transfer of power after a presidential election. It is now time to expeditiously resolve any outstanding questions and move forward.
As noted above, the key recounts, state certifications and most pending lawsuits are expected to be completed in the next two weeks. This timing coincides with a crucial deadline of December 8 in a law establishing a “safe harbor” for states to certify their electors. This means that if Congress receives those slates of Trump or Biden electors by that date, those slates are final. Going past that deadline would cause unprecedented uncertainty and raise serious constitutional questions. In Bush v. Gore in 2000, the Supreme Court said the safe harbor date “is designed to lead to a conclusive selection of electors…” and felt it necessary to finalize its decision by that date.
The presidential election was contentious and hard fought. Roughly half of America was bound to be disappointed with the outcome. My hope is that all of us, as Americans, regardless of who we supported in the campaign, will be willing to accept the result because a thorough process was followed and the final vote count was clear.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R) represents Ohio.