by Margot Cleveland
Headlines recently proclaimed that eight of Trump’s “fake” electors accepted immunity deals. Of course, in reporting the news, the corporate outlets all missed the real story — that the electors’ testimony failed to incriminate anyone, including Trump, and that the county prosecutors engaged in massive misconduct. Equally appalling, however, was the corrupt media’s continued peddling of the “fake electors” narrative.
There were no “fake” electors. 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.
Nor was appointing an alternative slate of electors some cockamamie plan devised by Trump lawyers. On the contrary, Trump’s election lawyers and the contingent electors followed the precise approach Democrats successfully used when the date Congress established for certifying an election came before the legal challenges John F. Kennedy had brought in Hawaii were decided. And that approach 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.
Here’s What Happened in Hawaii Six-0
Election day in 1960 fell on Nov. 8 and pitted Kennedy, a Democrat, against Republican Richard Nixon. The outcome remained unknown for some time, 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.
Based on the original count in favor of Nixon, the acting governor of Hawaii, Republican James Kealoha, certified the Republican electors on Nov. 28, 1960. On Dec. 13, over the objections of the state attorney general, state circuit court Judge Ronald Jamieson ordered a recount. Then, 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.”
Ten days later, 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.
The Peach State Repeat
The Georgia situation 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 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 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, then-President 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 recertified 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.
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. However, their lawyer confirmed in a court filing that none of the electors implicated anyone in criminal activity.