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Congressman Cliff Bentz Statement on Electoral College Certification

January 7, 2021

Congressman Cliff Bentz of Oregon’s Second Congressional District released the following statement regarding the recent events at the United States Capitol and the Electoral College certification process in Congress.

“The violent events that took place yesterday on the Capitol grounds are a stain on the history of our country. There is absolutely no excuse for protests to turn into riots, and I condemn the actions of the rioters in the strongest terms possible. I call on all Americans to choose peaceful protests over violence, chaos, and anarchy. I commend Capitol Police for their brave efforts to end yesterday’s incident and enable Congress to return to our important work.

“As the Representative of Oregon’s Second District, I am committed to listening to the opinions of my constituents, upholding the Constitution, and engaging in the deliberative process entrusted to the United States House of Representatives. I have heard many speak of distrust in the elections that were facilitated by several states. That is why I wrote to Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month, urging for a prompt and thorough congressional investigation into voting irregularities during the 2020 presidential election. So far, my request has fallen on deaf ears. Therefore, the duty has fallen on Congress to begin restoring faith in our representative form of government and to ensure the voice of the American people is heard through the Electoral College certification process.

“After seeking the opinions of constitutional experts, listening to my constituents, and many conversations with Members from the states in question, I cast my vote in support of the objection to the certification of the Electors from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In doing so, my goal was to protect the integrity of our elections and to prompt all states to uphold election laws as determined by their state legislatures – all in accordance with our Constitution.

“Article II of the Constitution sets forth that each state legislature is entrusted with the authority to establish and facilitate elections within that state. In Pennsylvania, the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the state’s Supreme Court did not adhere to the statutes set forth by the legislature when they extended deadlines for the return of absentee ballots. This action violated the principles of Article II of the Constitution because the state legislature had not previously delegated broader authority to the Secretary. Ultimately, this change in voting procedures by a non-legislative body contributed to a widespread loss of faith by many Americans in the integrity of the 2020 election – including many in my district. Such a violation of our Constitution must be discouraged in the strongest terms possible.

“I could not support objections to the certification of Electors of any other state – including Arizona. Like many states in question, the Arizona legislature had in fact delegated broader authority to administer elections to other state and local agencies, and I found little evidence supporting an argument that Article II of the Constitution was violated.

“As we conclude the Electoral College certification process, we can accept that Joe Biden will be the next President of the United States. I am committed to a peaceful transfer of power, but I continue to empathize with those whose frustrations with the electoral system remain unresolved. I share their frustrations, and as the Representative of Oregon’s Second District, I will do my best to address their concerns.”