The local area’s national representative added his voice to the dispute over November’s presidential election results.
In an interview with The Advocate & Democrat on Monday, Jan. 4, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN) confirmed that he planned to vote against certification of the Electoral College votes last week.
“There were substantial irregularities in several states that had a number of causes,” Fleischmann said. “Procedurally, many states, due to the pandemic, entered into a very patchwork job of mail-in voting and rules that were decided on by courts late in the game, sometimes by county administrators late in the game, as opposed to the constitutionally preferred and, I think, mandated way of going through the state legislature. It created a situation leaving many Americans concerned about the manner that the national election was conducted. Every legal vote should be counted, other votes should not.”
Fleischmann explained why he encouraged an audit of the states where results are questioned.
“I’m very warm to what these U.S. Senators are asking for, which is something I think all Americans should be asking for,” he said. “What we would ask for is to audit the procedure so that in those states, to the best degree possible, based on where we are now, that audit be conducted within the next 10 days to look at those votes to determine whether or not they were properly cast, properly tallied and properly certified. I think it’s a perfectly reasonable request and is consistent with what the Democrats have done in previous elections. This is not a new or novel approach.”
Fleischmann said his concerns center around questions about the validity of the presidential portion of the election.
“(President Donald Trump) and I and millions of other Americans have questions about the accuracy of the vote and vote counts in several key states,” he said. “He has a legal team which has advised him, so there have been court challenges, now there will be challenges in the legislative realm at the federal level this week and, in certain instances, state legislatures have convened to address this. We, as a people, as a republic, are dealing with this in the best way we can in light of all the problems, procedurally and otherwise. The problems have been widespread.”
Fleischmann added that he has only seen these issues in the presidential portion of the election and said he feels comfortable with the results of both the House and Senate races.
In the U.S. Senate, Democrats gained several seats and Tuesday’s runoff elections in Georgia determined the party with the majority. In the U.S. House, Republicans gained nearly a dozen seats and Democrats narrowly held their majority.
“I would have to turn to the people who monitor the elections at the local, state and federal levels to see where, in fact, there would be criticisms (of House and Senate races),” he said. “I have heard no criticisms of the Senate or House races that have been out there. The criticisms have largely been directed toward the swing states – specifically Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, Nevada, to a lesser degree Minnesota – where these alleged irregularities surfaced at a number of levels.”
Fleischmann said that he understands the difficulties that arose due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that the laws still needed to apply or be changed in a proper manner.
“Even in a time of crisis, I would say we’ve got to maintain constitutional sanctity of proper voting procedures,” he said.
Fleischmann was also up for re-election in November of 2020 and he said, from what he saw, Tennessee’s election appeared to run well.
“Thanks to Tre Hargett, our secretary of state, and our entire state election infrastructure our elections have been airtight, secure, efficient and accessible,” he said. “I gave our state an A+ for the manner in which they have conducted the elections – both primary and general.”
Fleischmann also thanked the local and area citizens for re-electing him to his seat in the House.
“I am infinitely thankful to the voters of the 3rd District of Tennessee for a sixth time with record numbers they have allowed me to be their representative in the 117th Congress,” he said.