"I fear we'd lose our country forever" says State House Speaker on overturning election results

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Posted at 12:41 PM, Dec 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-14 12:41:07-05

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan's Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield says he will not attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential election in Michigan.

In a statement released hours before Electoral Voters cast the state's 16 votes for the Presidency, Chatfield says having state lawmakers decide the outcome "unpresidented."

"I can't fathom risking our norms, traditions and institutions to pass a resolution retroactively changing the electors for Trump, simply because some think there may have been enough widespread fraud to give him the win," said Chatfield.

Michigan's Electoral Voters are scheduled to cast their ballots at 2 p.m. Watch it live here.

Read the full statement by Speaker Chatfield below.

“I was raised to respect our system of government and appreciate God for the blessings He’s given us in this country. Our republic has lasted because of a deeply held belief in our norms and institutions and adherence to our Constitution. Because I love my country, I now teach those same values and lessons to my children.

“I worked hard to get President Trump reelected this year. I did everything I could. He has done an incredible job for our nation. He put our country first and accomplished more than many other presidents have before him. I was all in, and I will be forever thankful for all he has done to make America great again.

“President Trump also had every right to pursue his options and try every legal step available to contest this election. The race for the presidency is not something you take lightly. In Michigan, after reports of fraud, we as the Legislature began our investigations. We wasted no time. We issued subpoenas. We sent record retention letters to clerks. We had hearings. We brought in President Trump’s legal team. Even Dominion is coming in this week. We’ve diligently examined these reports of fraud to the best of our ability.

“There were irregularities with this recent election that need more attention. That is why the Legislature, which is the voice of the people, is still looking into those allegations and giving the people their right to speak and be heard at the state Capitol. Our investigation and hearings will continue. Every single instance of fraud should be uncovered and corrected. Some of the things that occurred in places like Wayne and Antrim County cannot be allowed to happen again if we are to uphold the confidence and integrity of our election system. Election reform will be needed next year.

“If there’s fraud, it needs to be found. Anyone who broke our laws need to be prosecuted. Election integrity makes our country unique. The people of America, whether they win or lose, have peace of mind knowing that the people spoke, the law was followed and that our institutions carry on in accordance with our Constitution. If there’s fraud, we punish it. If there’s not, we move on.

“This has also led to a national conversation over the Legislature’s role in choosing the electors. I’m a states’ rights guy, so I’m happy to have this conversation. But the Legislature in Michigan chose decades ago to award our electors to the winner of the popular vote. Although many reasonably believe otherwise, I personally believe that the Legislature could pass a resolution changing the manner in which electors are appointed, but the Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that once created, the right to a popular vote for President becomes fundamental, and the exercise of a fundamental right can’t be infringed retroactively for due process reasons. Maybe they were right. Maybe they were wrong. But that was the Court’s decision. And it still stands today.

“Again - I fought hard for President Trump. Nobody wanted him to win more than me. I think he's done an incredible job. But I love our republic, too. I can't fathom risking our norms, traditions and institutions to pass a resolution retroactively changing the electors for Trump, simply because some think there may have been enough widespread fraud to give him the win. That's unprecedented for good reason. And that’s why there is not enough support in the House to cast a new slate of electors. I fear we'd lose our country forever. This truly would bring mutually assured destruction for every future election in regards to the Electoral College. And I can't stand for that. I won’t.

“I know this isn’t the outcome some want. It isn’t what I want, either. But we have a republic if we can keep it. And I intend to.”
Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield (R)
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