Remarks by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ)
In the House of Representatives—January 6, 2021
Madame Speaker, after rigorous analysis and much reflection, I will not oppose the counting of certified electoral votes from any state.
I share some of the concerns about election irregularities. Today’s proceedings give Congress the opportunity to raise concerns about alleged election wrongdoing in several states which I hope will ultimately lead to bipartisan state investigations and reform to ensure fair and free elections.
Today, however, Congress is tasked with counting the electoral votes sent by each state. Nullifying the electors of any state requires proof that electors were not “lawfully certified” according to state laws.
In early December, Attorney General William Barr told the Associated Press that “U.S. attorneys and FBI agents have been working to follow up specific complaints and information they’ve received, but “to date, we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.”
All elections in the United States must be free and fair—any action to subvert, cheat, suppress or steal any election should be investigated and prosecuted.
Even if the nefarious activity was minor—and not likely to alter the outcome of an election—individuals who engage in such acts should be held accountable in a court of law.
No-one has a license to cheat.
Sixteen years ago, some Democratic members of the Senate and House tried to overturn the results of the Bush-Kerry presidential election. They failed. When counting the electoral votes on January 6, 2005, I voted “no” on the objection to accepting Ohio’s electors—enough to reverse the outcome of the election— sponsored by Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Oh) because the allegations lacked both merit and proof. Only 31 members of the House voted in favor of the election changing objection.
Congress, states and local governments need to undertake a top-to-bottom review of election law and administrative polices to ensure that elections are free and fair.
The future of our Nation depends on it.
Finally, I unequivocally condemn the assault on the Capitol today. And those who committed violence, vandalism and other crimes should be prosecuted to the greatest extent of the law.
Special thanks to the Capitol Police and all law enforcement for their brave and decisive actions to mitigate and then end today’s crisis.
Despite its many flaws, the U.S. Congress continues to be an extraordinary marketplace of ideas and differing opinions.
The enactment of wise public policy to benefit all Americans requires robust dialogue and debate—and genuine respect for one another especially when there is fundamental disagreement.
We must be committed to zero-tolerance towards violence in any form.
Congressman Chris Smith