Rosendale joins with Daines to contest election results

Montana representatives provides no evidence of voter fraud

By: and - January 5, 2021 8:22 pm

U.S. Rep. Matt Rosendale meeting with constituents (via Facebook).

Rep. Matt Rosendale, Montana’s lone representative in the United States House, announced Tuesday that he will vote against the certification of the presidential election claiming there are widespread and credible allegations of fraud, despite the absence of evidence validating those claims.

With his decision, Rosendale joined U.S. Sen. Steve Daines of Montana in voting against the presidential election results.

In lieu of specifics or evidence of voter fraud, Rosendale said sweepingly, “it is clear that there are widespread, credible allegations of fraud and irregularities in many states.” 

The only specific type of fraud that Harry Fones, a spokesperson for Rosendale, mentioned was deceased people voting, but he did not reference a case that had been substantiated.

Fones said the investigation by former U.S. Attorney General William Barr that found no evidence of widespread voter fraud was not sufficient enough to quell Rosendale’s suspicions.

Rosendale joined Daines in calling for an Electoral Commission to conduct a 10-day audit of election returns. 

“We are supporting the call for this audit to clarify this stuff and make sure we have faith in the election,” Fones said. “Let’s open this up for debate.”

Rosendale’s spokesperson said they were looking into a number of states including: Michigan, Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada, all of which Trump lost. 

A recount of votes in Milwaukee County ended in President-elect Joseph Biden furthering his lead over Trump and a Georgia recount also solidified Biden’s victory. The Washington Post published leaked audio of a phone call between President Donald Trump and the Georgia Secretary of State, in which Trump asked him to “recalculate” and find the votes needed for him to win the state.

Meanwhile, Daines said last weekend that he would join with 11 other Senators to oppose the certification of the election, proposing a remedy that was tried one other time, in 1877.

Daines said he favored an approach used during the disputed election between Samuel Tilden and Rutherford Hayes.

Daines and the group of senators put out a lengthy statement in which they said because of “unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law and other voting irregularities,” they wanted Congress to call a commission comprised of Congresspeople and Supreme Court justices.

They said they want a commission to restore faith in the system, not necessarily to change the outcome.

In the press release, the senators, along with Daines, don’t reference a single specific case or irregularities, instead pointing to opinion polls that show 39 percent of people believe the vote was rigged.

Daines’ office did not respond to requests by the Daily Montanan this weekend to clarify those points, nor did his office respond on Tuesday when asked for more information.

Daines — and the other senators’ — suggestion is to follow a path that was first pioneered nearly 150 years ago in which Congress established an Electoral Commission. Daines suggested that commission, comprised of five representatives, five senators and five Supreme Court justices investigate the findings.

However, the United States Supreme Court has twice declined hearing challenges to the election, and dozens of courts throughout the United States have rejected claims of illegal voting practice.

“Once completed, individual states would evaluate the commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed,” Daines suggested.

Daines also failed to specify whether he had concerns with Montana’s election — or any other contest — except the presidential race. The 2020 general election results saw the U.S. House Democrats lose some seats. The U.S. Senate race in Georgia is being decided on Tuesday. And Republicans in many state legislatures have swept to victory, including a nearly historic rout in Montana.

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Darrell Ehrlick
Darrell Ehrlick

Darrell Ehrlick is the editor-in-chief of the Daily Montanan, after leading his native state’s largest paper, The Billings Gazette. He is an award-winning journalist, author, historian and teacher, whose career has taken him to North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Utah, and Wyoming. With Darrell at the helm, the Gazette staff took Montana’s top newspaper award six times in seven years. Darrell's books include writing the historical chapters of “Billings Memories” Volumes I-III, and “It Happened in Minnesota.” He has taught journalism at Winona State University and Montana State University-Billings, and has served on the student publications board of the University of Wyoming.

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Keith Schubert
Keith Schubert

Keith Schubert is a reporter for the Daily Montanan. Keith was born and raised in Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2019. He has worked at the St.Paul Pioneer Press, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and most recently, the Asbury Park Press, covering everything from local craft fairs to crime and courts to municipal government to the Minnesota state legislature. In his free time, he enjoys cheering on Wisconsin sports teams and exploring small businesses. He can be reached by text or call at 406-475-2954 .

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