December 22, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We are blessed to live in the most exceptional nation on earth, a nation to which more people from around the world are drawn each year than to any other, because of its promise of opportunity and freedom.
One of the key ways we have lived out and protected that freedom is to conduct fair and free elections, by which we the people choose those who will represent us, write and enforce our laws, and judge our disputes. Those who govern us derive their powers to do so from the consent of the governed, and subject to the laws of Almighty God.
Our Founders understood God’s law and the value of human freedom. They also understood human weakness and sinfulness, and foresaw how that sinfulness could threaten our freedom. They therefore built into our system of government and our manner of elections provisions to safeguard us in the event that human error or willful deception would taint our elections or threaten our freedom.
It is not unprecedented that in the conduct of our national elections, we have had to resort to procedures and remedies which are rarely utilized but nonetheless completely legal and constitutional, in order to assure that our elections reflected the will of the voters and the demands of honesty, integrity and fairness. These remedies have been employed in order that public confidence in our electoral system would be maintained.
Today, in the elections of 2020, we face the need to do so once again. Since Election Day, the percentage of our fellow citizens who believe that these elections were tainted by fraud has risen from nearly one third to nearly half.
Americans have become increasingly aware of the more than 50 lawsuits, thousands of affidavits and declarations, testimony presented in various state hearings, published reports and analyses by think tanks and legal centers, videos and photos, public comments and first-hand accounts, and various press reports, all of which suggest that something went seriously wrong in the way our Presidential race was conducted and tabulated, particularly in six disputed states (PA, AZ, GA, WI, MI, NV).
These concerns cross partisan lines, as well they should. If the most powerful nation and greatest system of government in the world cannot conduct free and fair elections, then we and the rest of the world have little hope for the survival of freedom.
The concerns about our election are well documented, and summarized in documents like this report by Peter Navarro and this brief by the State of Texas. Problems include outright voter fraud (e.g. counting ballots multiple times, destruction of ballots, creation of fake ballots, ballots from people who were ineligible to vote because they live elsewhere or have died), mishandling of ballots (e.g. failing to check for signatures, accepting ballots after the legal deadline, backdating ballots, lack of identification, ballots without security envelopes, unauthorized or unsupervised access to ballots), violation of procedures (e.g. throwing out poll watchers, fixing mistakes on ballots in violation of state law, allowing people to vote who were not registered), violations of equal protection (giving certain voters and poll watchers preferential treatment over others), voter machine irregularities (inaccuracies and inexplicable surges of Biden votes), and statistical anomalies (below average rejection rate of absentee ballots, voter turnout exceeding 100%, unusual vote surges and statistically improbably vote totals).
State officials have changed election laws and loosened election security in an unconstitutional manner by bypassing the state legislatures, which are the only bodies empowered by the Constitution to set the manner for choosing electors.
Besides these specific problems, countless Americans wonder why the vote counting in various key states suddenly stopped on election night, when President Trump was leading by hundreds of thousands of votes in four of the disputed states (PA, WI, MI, GA), and then, upon resuming, saw Biden ballots come pouring in to erase that lead. Americans wonder how Biden could have won when he lost in the bellwether counties across the nation, and did worse than Hillary Clinton did in 2016 in the major urban centers except only for the four cities in the key states he had to win: Milwaukee, Detroit, Atlanta, and Philadelphia.
These and numerous other questions persist, and the refusal of courts to grant relief has not been because they have examined the evidence and provided satisfactory answers to these questions, but rather precisely because the merits of the questions have not been given the examination they deserve.
But the courts are not the final resort here. Both state and federal legislators have authority to make things right in these disputes. State legislators determine how the electors will be chosen in a given state. And the Congress, on January 6th, must meet in joint session to count and make official – or object if necessary – to the votes taken by those electors.
All of our public officials take an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. And that duty is carried out according to how each of them understands the Constitution. It is not an oath to carry out a court’s understanding of the Constitution.
On January 6th, certain courageous members of the US House and the US Senate will rise to object to the electoral vote as it has been cast in various states that are in dispute. These members hold that if the election results in a given state are so questionable that they cannot be certain they are a valid representation of the will of the voters in that state, then those electoral votes simply cannot be accepted. To object in this case is not only a right but a duty. It is not only logical, but patriotic.
It is up to us, the people these Members of Congress represent, to strengthen them in their resolve, and to communicate to the rest of the Members that we share these concerns and that we also object.
Now is the time to communicate with those who will serve in the 117th Congress, to let them know where we stand, and to urge them to object to the electoral votes in the disputed states. If, as a result of this process, neither presidential candidate receives the requisite 270 electoral votes, then the House of Representatives should choose the President, and the Senate choose the Vice President, as the Constitution provides.
Some of our fellow citizens dismiss all these concerns and say we should “just move on.” But “move on” to what? We are dealing here with a fundamental threat to our freedom, and a weakening of one of freedom’s most crucial safeguards: the confidence of the people in fair and free elections. This is not a fight we put off to some other time. The time to resolve this is now, and to do so with the full measure of courage it requires.
To dismiss the concerns of half the country on a fundamental matter, and to leave as an open question whether this election was stolen, is to “move on” to an unstable republic and an unsteady footing for all future elections. It is to “move on” to the possibility – and for tens of millions, the conviction – that we will have inaugurated an illegitimate President who stole an election. It is to “move on” to a position in which election law – whether by statute or the Constitution itself -- doesn’t matter anymore, and where the consent of the governed is replaced by brute force.
This is as unacceptable today as it was in 1776, and should be met with as much resistance by citizens today as it was by our Founding Fathers at the dawn of our Republic.
Indeed, from those of us who are religious leaders, there should be a battle cry for honesty, integrity and transparency in our election process – a call based not on partisan preferences but on the fact that the Commandments prohibit lying, cheating and stealing.
And from those who are Democrats, and indeed from Joe Biden himself, and from every elected official and candidate, there should be a clear message sent to American voters: I do not want, and refuse to accept or benefit from, a single illegal vote.
Whatever else is needed for national healing and national unity, these are undoubtedly necessary ingredients and starting points.
We have arrived at a pivotal moment in American history. Fortunately, we have a President who is fighting, not simply for himself, and not for some passing glory or power, but for us, the American people, and for the freedom we all enjoy. Let us pray to God that we and our public officials may have the insight and courage to do what is right. Our founders pledged to one another their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. We can do no less.
Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life