Ohio officially cast its 18 electoral votes to President Trump yesterday with the 55th Electoral College meeting at the Ohio Statehouse.
The Columbus proceedings were largely perfunctory and were part of a nationwide casting of electoral ballots on Monday, with presidential-elect Joe Biden receiving the most ballots as was expected.
Ohio’s meeting was also drama-free compared to the lead-up to Electoral College gatherings in other battleground states won by Biden that Republicans have cast as being illegitimate victories.
Dozens of Ohio Republican lawmakers have claimed that these unproven allegations of widespread fraud elsewhere have therefore disenfranchised voters in Ohio. Secretary of State Frank LaRose repeatedly stressed on Monday that the election here was fair and the results are accurate.
“The people’s voice was heard,” LaRose said. “Ohioans were heard. Ohioans by the millions participated in a free and fair election and today we will award their 18 electoral votes.”
The hour-long affair rarely strayed from parliamentary procedure, save for compliments about election organizers and to Republican leaders for having secured the state for Trump.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted also offered an endorsement of the Electoral College system, having previously overseen the gatherings in 2012 and 2016 as secretary of state. He called the Electoral College “a gift from our founders.”
Husted also called Ohio’s election laws a “template” for how all states should conduct their elections.
“You need not look beyond what happened in many of those states to understand why it’s important to have this electoral college process,” he said, “rather than a system that relies just on the national popular vote.”
Husted acknowledged the presidential election result in saying, “we stand here today with President Donald Trump winning Ohio’s electoral vote, but not the majority of the electoral votes cast in other states.”
Gov. Mike DeWine was present at the Ohio Statehouse to observe the proceedings, and he too has acknowledged Biden as the winner — something few other Ohio Republican officials have done.
As of Dec. 5, weeks after the election was called for Biden, only two of the 13 Ohio Republicans in Congress had recognized Biden as the winner, according to a survey of U.S. representatives conducted by The Washington Post.
Five others supported a recent lawsuit filed by the Texas Attorney General’s Office seeking to overturn the election results: Republican Reps. Bob Gibbs, Bill Johnson, Jim Jordan, Bob Latta and Brad Wenstrup.
Additionally, 42 Republican state legislators signed a Dec. 10 letter urging Attorney General Dave Yost to join the lawsuit. The letter alleged, without evidence, “irregularities in the vote count, unexplained statistical anomalies, as well as grave allegations of irregularities and misconduct in the swing states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia and Pennsylvania.” All four of those states were won by Biden.
The letter claimed the “alleged unconstitutional rule changes and actions taken by these states” led to the 42 lawmakers being “concerned that Ohio voters are being disenfranchised as well.”
Yost did file a brief in the case that day but it disagreed with the effort to overturn the results; Yost instead called on the U.S. Supreme Court to rule more broadly on a question about the Electoral College.
The Supreme Court rejected the case a day later.
On Monday, LaRose reiterated that Ohio “has a strong track record of running fair and honest and accessible elections.”
Calling the 2020 General Election “the most difficult election of our lifetimes,” LaRose noted that Ohio set a new voter turnout record this year despite the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I would call it the most successful election in Ohio’s history,” he said.
The 55th Ohio Electoral College meeting can be viewed here.