Stephen Maseda | Here’s the ‘Reasonable Basis’

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
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Rep. Mike Garcia voted in favor of an objection to the Arizona presidential electoral results. Thomas Oatway (letters, March 14) and now Jim de Bree (letters, March 26) assert that this represents a lack of patriotism. Both Mr. Oatway and Mr. de Bree also assert that there was no “reasonable basis” to question the Arizona results and that therefore, Mr. Garcia’s vote “disrespected the Constitution.” 

Let’s address the assertion concerning the Arizona results. Mr. de Bree asserts that he has “extensively researched the issues” surrounding the Arizona vote, and Garcia’s statement is “devoid of substantive factual or legal analysis.” The principal area of concern related to the Arizona election results concerns judicial overreach in relationship to the registration of voters. Mr. de Bree fails to discuss Mi Familia Vota v. Hobbs, a case filed five days before the expiration date for voter registration, Oct. 5, 2020. Suffice it to say that on Oct. 5, the last day for registration, the U.S. District Court for Arizona improperly extended the registration deadline from Oct. 5 to Oct. 23 at the behest of minority groups asserting that they needed additional time to register minority voters. 

You need not take my word that this order was improper, because the ruling was appealed to the 9th Circuit, which ruled that there was no basis for the District Court’s order, that the District Court had abused its discretion, and it vacated the order, but then did exactly what the District Court had done — it extended the registration period to Oct. 15. It did so based on the concept that some people may have relied on the erroneous District Court order in not registering by the legal deadline. It is difficult to imagine how people who had not registered by the last day to register had done so in the hope that the District Court would erroneously extend the date on the last day to register, and if they did, how they should be rewarded by allowing them to register past the deadline, which they voluntarily chose to ignore. 

During this 10-day period, over 35,000 people registered to vote in the 2020 election in violation of Arizona law. Biden won Arizona by 10,457 votes, or less than one-third of the number of illegally registered voters. Minority voters voted disproportionately for Biden by an almost 20% margin. 

It seems Mr. de Bree has a rather contorted view of what constitutes a “reasonable basis” for questioning the Arizona vote, not least of all by the fact that one judge in the three-judge panel, while agreeing that the District Court order was improper, dissented from the remedy, writing that “Arizona set forth its rules in advance, in accordance with the U.S. Constitution, federal statutes, and the Arizona Constitution. In the long run, it is more important that we be able to rely on the integrity of elections — that the rules be announced in advance and be fairly and equally administered — than that we declare the rules suspended for this election because of a judicial misstep.”

As for Mr. Garcia’s vote disrespecting the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution, there is likewise no basis for that assertion. The Electoral Count Act of 1887, as of Jan. 6, 2021, provided Congress with the authority, consistent with the Constitution, to question and reject the electoral vote of any state so long as the objection was submitted in writing and made by one member of each branch of the Congress. Insofar as the Arizona objection, it was made in compliance with this statute in writing by Rep. Paul Gosar and Sen. Ted Cruz. Clearly an issue existed for Congress to legitimately consider, as shown by the decision, including the issue raised by the dissent, in Mi Familia. Consistent with the statute, the two houses then separately debated and voted on the objection. 

The statute requires that the objection is upheld if both houses vote in favor of the objection. That did not happen and so the objection was rejected. Thus, the statutorily provided process for questioning the Arizona vote was followed. So I find it difficult to see how Mr. Garcia’s vote disrespected either the rule of law or the Constitution. 

As an aside, the Democrats objected pursuant to the Electoral Count Act in 2000, 2004, and 2016 — each year in which a Republican was elected president. Did they disrespect the rule of law or the Constitution? Were they unpatriotic?

Stephen Maseda

Santa Clarita 

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