Congressman Brett Guthrie (KY-02) released the following statement Wednesday night regarding the Electoral College vote count in Congress.
“I took my first oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution when I was 19 years old as cadet at West Point,” said Guthrie. “It’s the same oath that I took this week when I was sworn in to serve Kentuckians in the Second District. During this debate on whether to accept Electors, I have been carefully listening to all sides and reading and rereading the 12th Amendment of the Constitution. Just as the 1st Amendment provides the right to free speech and the 2nd Amendment the right to bear arms, the 12th Amendment specifies the role of Congress with the Electoral College, which is to ‘open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted.’ Before the votes from the Electors are presented to Congress, votes are legally certified according to the rules and processes of each state legislature. Therefore, Congress has no authority to reject these votes. Rather, state legislative bodies have the authority, and the majority of states in question have Republican-led state legislatures. However, not one state legislative body has submitted an alternate slate of Electors. Therefore, I feel bound by the 12th Amendment to accept Electors that have been ‘sign[ed] and certif[ied], and transmit[ted] sealed to the seat of the government.’ My duty to the Constitution is the same today as a Member of Congress as it was when I was a new cadet at West Point, and today I believe I upheld my duty to the Constitution.”
Excerpt from the 12th Amendment“The Electors shall meet in their respective states and vote by ballot for President and Vice-President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; they shall name in their ballots the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice-President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice-President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate;-the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates and the votes shall then be counted;-The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President…”