Newly-elected Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis stood by her objection to Arizona’s and Pennsylvania’s electoral votes — even after a handful of GOP senators rescinded their challenges following the attack on the US Capitol.
“It has been really heartbreaking to see what happened yesterday,” Malliotakis said in an interview with Fox News, before adding that she has “serious concerns” about voter fraud in Arizona’s and Pennsylvania. “States’ rights do not supersede law or the Constitution, and there were a number of irregularities, a number of changes made, that many people believe led to fraud.”
Malliotakis — who beat out Democratic incumbent Max Rose for the southern Brooklyn and Staten Island congressional seat in November — was one of 138 House Republicans to vote against the certification of Pennsylvania’s vote, and one of 121 to challenge the Arizona vote.
She and the other Republican challengers argued that some last-minute voting accommodations in light of the COVID-19 pandemic opened the door to fraud.
“There were states that changed their laws via governor executive orders and that would be unconstitutional,” Malliotakis said on a Monday appearance on Kevin McCullough Radio. “There are a lot of concerns about, you know, all the different types of ways ballots were harvested and collected with the changing rules for the accommodation of the virus.”
One accommodation that Republicans have cited was a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that allowed voters to return absentee ballots via drop boxes. Republicans have claimed that the ruling, which was legally made in September, allows people to “harvest” — or collect — other people’s ballots and change their votes before dropping the ballots off.
However, the challengers have not identified any evidence that fraud occurred, and many states use drop boxes without problems. Ballots returned in drop boxes undergo the same rigorous vetting process that all absentee ballots receive.
Since the Nov. 3 election, President Donald Trump’s campaign has launched 60 court challenges based on theories of voter fraud. All challenges but one have been dismissed citing a lack of evidence — some by Trump-appointed federal judges.
Still, Malliotakis and many other Republican members of the House and Senate pledged to vote against the certification of Pennsylvania’s and Arizona’s ballots — at least until the Jan. 6 incursion of the Capitol.
After a mob of Trump supporters violently stormed the federal building during the final electoral count — destroying the representatives’ offices and sending the electeds into hiding — at least four senators who previously opposed the election’s results changed their tune.
Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Ten.) reversed their plans to oppose the election results.
“The events that have transpired today have forced me to reconsider, and I cannot now, in good conscience, object,” said Loeffler.
Six Republican senators stuck by their decision to vote against the Arizona results, and seven voted against the Pennsylvania results.
Meanwhile, a few Republicans blamed Trump for the violent mob, arguing that his claims of fraud and his posts on Twitter incited the violence.
“Trump and I, we had a hell of a journey. I hate it being this way,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), a longtime supporter of Trump’s who was dismissive of the voter fraud claim. “All I can say is count me out. Enough is enough. I tried to be helpful.”
Others begged the president to issue a strong statement demanding that his supporters back down.
“Mr. President @realDonaldTrump the men & women of law enforcement are under assault,” Sen. Mark Rubio (R-Flordia) wrote on Twitter. “It is crucial you help restore order by sending resources to assist the police and ask those doing this to stand down.”
Malliotakis, for her part, has not condemned the president’s actions, but told Fox that Vice President Mike Pence was right to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
“I think that the vice president did what he was constitutionally required to do,” she said.
She added that she opposed the votes’ certification not in order to overturn the election, but to investigate the alleged irregularities.
“I voted against certification of the two challenged states not to “overturn an election” but to highlight need for a proper hearing into unconstitutional rule changes, irregularities and alleged fraud,” she wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “I swore an oath to the Constitution and REFUSED to turn a blind eye.”
Malliotakis’ office did not respond to a request for further comment by press time.