‘Fake electors’ in Georgia? Uh, no, Trump lawyers followed JFK’s ‘Hawaii scenario’

Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, May 15, 2023

President Donald Trump’s so-called “fake electors” in Georgia in the 2020 election have been obsessed over by leftist media since The New York Times first brought up the subject in February 2022.

Recently, Big Media reported on how Trump’s “fake electors” had accepted immunity deals in another of the many court cases the Left is pursuing against the former president.

John F. Kennedy disputed and later won the state of Hawaii over Richard Nixon in the 1960 election. / Wikimedia Commons

Wikipedia even has an entry titled “Trump fake electors plot.”

Big Media “missed the real story — that the electors’ testimony failed to incriminate anyone, including Trump, and that the county prosecutors engaged in massive misconduct,” Margot Cleveland wrote for The Federalist on May 15. “Equally appalling, however, was the corrupt media’s continued peddling of the ‘fake electors’ narrative.”

There were never any “fake” electors, Cleveland noted. “There were contingent Republican electors named consistent with legal precedent to preserve the still ongoing legal challenges to the validity of Georgia’s certified vote.”

In fact, Trump’s legal team was following the Democrats’ playbook. Democrats had used the process successfully in 1960, when the date Congress established for certifying an election came before the legal challenges John F. Kennedy had brought in Hawaii were decided.

The Democrats’ strategy allowed Kennedy to be certified the winner of Hawaii’s three electoral votes on Jan. 6, 1961, even though the Aloha State had originally certified Richard Nixon the victor.

“The Hawaii scenario in 1960 mirrors in every material respect the facts on the ground in Georgia on Dec. 14, 2020 — the date both the Democrat and Republican presidential electors met and cast their 16 electoral votes for Joe Biden and Donald Trump respectively,” Cleveland wrote.

Like 2020, the outcome of the 1960 election went beyond election day, with a total of 93 electoral votes from eight different states undecided in the days following the election. Hawaii was one of those states.

“By Dec. 9 of that year, Kennedy had accumulated enough electoral votes to win the White House, but Hawaii’s winner was still in question. While the presidency did not depend on Hawaii’s three electoral votes, Democrats there had challenged the initial returns that gave Nixon a 141-vote edge, or 0.08 percent margin of victory,” Cleveland noted.

Republican acting Gov. James Kealoha, certified Nixon’s electors in Hawaii on Nov. 28, 1960. On Dec. 13, over the objections of the state attorney general, state circuit court Judge Ronald Jamieson ordered a recount. On Dec. 19, both the Nixon and Kennedy electors met, “cast their votes for President and Vice President, and certified their own meeting and votes.”

In casting their electoral ballots for Kennedy, the three Hawaiian Democrats certified they were the “duly and legally qualified and appointed” electors for president and vice president for the state of Hawaii and that they had been “certified (as such) by the Executive.” The Hawaii electors further attested: “We hereby certify that the lists of all the votes of the state of Hawaii given for President, and of all the votes given for Vice President, are contained herein.”

Two of the three Democrat electors were retired federal judges, William Heen and Delbert Metzger, and Heen personally mailed the Democrat electoral votes to Congress on Dec. 20. In fact, the envelope containing the certificates, further attested: “We hereby certify that the lists of all the votes of the state of Hawaii given for president … are contained herein.”

On Dec. 30, 1960, Judge Jamieson held that Kennedy had won the election. In so holding, Jamieson stressed the importance of the Democrat electors having met on Dec. 19, as prescribed by the Electoral Count Act, to cast their ballots in favor of Kennedy. That step allowed the Hawaii governor to then certify Kennedy as the winner of Hawaii’s three electoral votes and, in turn, Congress to count Hawaii’s electoral votes in favor of Kennedy.

Cleveland noted that the so-called “fake electors” situation in Georgia in 2020 “mirrored the events of 60 years ago in Hawaii.”

Election day in 2020 fell on Nov. 3, although by then many ballots had already been cast, given the adoption of mass mail-in and early voting. Trump held a lead in Georgia until the morning of Friday, Nov. 6, when Biden reportedly overtook the incumbent. With the margin remaining tight, on Nov. 11, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced a statewide audit.

Following the audit, Biden reportedly remained in the lead by approximately 12,000 votes, leading Raffensperger to certify the election results on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Republic Gov. Brian Kemp signed the certification the same day. Then on Nov. 21, Trump requested a recount, as allowed under Georgia law given the closeness of the count.

On Dec. 4, 2020, Trump and Republican elector David Shafer filed suit in a Fulton County state court against Raffensperger, arguing tens of thousands of votes counted in the presidential election had been cast in violation of Georgia law. While Trump’s lawsuit was still pending, on Dec. 7, 2020, based on the recount, Raffensperger re-certified Biden as the winner of Georgia’s 16 electoral votes by a margin of 11,779.

Trump and Shafer’s Fulton County lawsuit contesting the election results remained pending on Dec. 14, 2020, the date the presidential electors were required by federal law to meet.

“Thus, while the Democrat electors met and cast their ballots for Joe Biden, the Republican electors met separately and cast their 16 votes for Trump,” Cleveland noted. “At that time, Shafer made clear the Trump electors had met and cast their votes to ensure Trump’s legal battle in court remained viable. Nonetheless, following Biden’s election, Fulton County Prosecutor Fani Willis targeted the Republican electors as part of her criminal special purpose grand jury investigation.”

While the grand jury has since issued a report and been disbanded, Willis agreed to grant immunity to eight of the electors, “likely to push them to implicate the other electors,” Cleveland wrote. “However, their lawyer confirmed in a court filing that none of the electors implicated anyone in criminal activity.”

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