Former Vice President Mike Pence wrote an op-ed in the Daily Signal on Wednesday, speaking about election security and a bill that House Democrats plan on passing on Wednesday involving ballot access.
While not repeating some of the false conspiracy theories spread by President Donald Trump, Pence suggested decisions by courts, governors and secretaries of state led to “voting irregularities.”
“Many of the most troubling voting irregularities took place in states that set aside laws enacted by state legislatures in favor of sweeping changes ordered by governors, secretaries of state, and courts,” Pence said.
"The tragic events of Jan. 6—the most significant being the loss of life and violence at our nation’s Capitol—also deprived the American people of a substantive discussion in Congress about election integrity in America," Pence added.
Some of the changes made in states were due to the coronavirus pandemic, which prompted many states to expand mail-in voting. For instance, in Pennsylvania, due to the virus and a slowdown in mail service, state Democrats went to court to extend the number of days ballots could be accepted by election counters. The state’s Supreme Court ruled that ballots mailed before election days would be counted as long as they were received by the Friday after the election.
The Trump campaign’s appeal to the Supreme Court failed.
While Trump and his supporters decried Pence for not intervening the counting of Electoral College votes, Pence said he wanted to give an opportunity for challenges to be raised, which is already stated in the Constitution.
“As presiding officer at the joint session of Congress certifying the Electoral College results, I pledged to ensure that all objections properly raised under the Electoral Count Act would be given a full hearing before Congress and the American people,” Pence said.
Democrats are attempting to pass House Resolution 1, which would call for same-day voter registration, mail-in votes and place limits on removing voters from the voter rolls.
The legislation would place a prohibition on campaign spending by foreign nationals and add additional disclaimers to political advertising for federal offices.
The bill also requires candidates for president and vice president to release 10 years of tax returns.
Pence argues the bill would shift the administration of elections from the state level to the federal level.
“Election reform is a national imperative, but under our Constitution, election reform must be undertaken at the state level,” Pence wrote. “Our Founders limited Congress’ role in conducting our elections for good reason: They wanted elections to be administered closest to the people, free from undue influence of the national government.”
The House Democrats’ bill comes as Republicans in a number of states are looking at curtailing voting access by reducing the number of days of early voting and placing limits on mail-in voting.
“There is now in the 21st century, a concerted effort to roll back voting rights and state legislatures across the country,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday. “Alarmingly, making it harder — harder for Americans to vote and particularly aimed at Americans of color, African Americans, Latino and native Americans. And it's becoming a feature of one of America's major political parties.”
To read Pence's full letter, click here.