In Case You Missed It: Rep. Kelly Says Future Elections Must Adhere to Constitution

Jan 19, 2021

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Representative Mike Kelly authored an op-ed that was published in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in which he sets the record straight regarding his vote against certifying Pennsylvania's 2020 electors and the lawsuit he and others filed against Pennsylvania's Act 77.

Read in full here: Mike Kelly: As America moves forward, the law must matter

Key Excerpts

As Americans prepare for Joe Biden to become our 46th president on Wednesday, those of us who serve in government must take with us the lessons of the recent past. Among these is that no crisis should trump the rule of law.

Like every other member of Congress, I swore an oath to support and defend the United States Constitution. My devotion to that oath is why I could not in good conscience vote to certify the slate of electors sent by Pennsylvania to the Electoral College, which determines the presidency. And it is why, shortly after November’s election, I (and others) filed a lawsuit against Act 77, which permitted any registered voter to vote by mail for any reason at all.   

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Despite certain media depictions to the contrary, my opposition to Act 77 is not and has never been about reversing the results of November’s election or taking away any candidate’s legally earned votes. It is about making sure the law, as written, actually matters. Period.

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Whatever one may think of the merits of Act 77 and no-excuse mail-in voting, it is a simple matter of fact that legal corners were cut to bring it about.

Matters were further complicated last year when Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar unilaterally decreed additional sweeping changes to Pennsylvania’s elections.

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It must be noted that, to date, there has still been no defense of the constitutionality of Act 77, only deflection. When the partisan Pennsylvania Supreme Court dismissed Act 77’s challenge, it did not address the question of the law’s compliance with the constitution.

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Are governors, legislatures and state supreme courts bound by the constitutions that give them their authority? If we are a republic dedicated to the rule of law, then the answer is yes, and Act 77 cannot stand for future elections.

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Objecting to Pennsylvania’s slate of electors in the House of Representatives on Jan. 6 was our last opportunity to highlight, debate and question the state government’s administration of this election. ...[O]ur goal was to ensure that our elections are administered in accordance with the constitution and our laws — regardless of whether widespread fraud is evident.

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As we move forward as a new Congress, I look forward to once again working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to craft policies that help all hardworking Western Pennsylvanians prosper. As a New York Times columnist recently observed, “The economy under Trump was the best for the working class in two decades.” So, let’s now come together to build on the policies we know work and do so with a steadfast regard for the rule of law — not as an inconvenience but as an enduring source of our nation’s strength and the foundation of our republic.  

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