An open letter calling for an audit of the 2020 presidential election, garnered 491 signatures between Sunday, Jan. 3-Tuesday, Jan 5. Signatories to the letter include Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, and Kevin McCabe, a member-elect of the Alaska House of Representatives. Cordova Mayor Clay Koplin and former Cordova City Council member Ken Jones both signed the letter in a personal capacity. Signature-gathering ended Jan. 5, the day before Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory was expected to be certified by Congress, and the letter was sent to Alaska’s Congressional Delegation.
The letter, authored by Republican Party Cordova Precinct leader William Deaton, called on Republicans Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Sen. Dan Sullivan, and Rep. Don Young, to support an audit of the Nov. 3 presidential election to assess allegations of voter fraud.
“I believe this will help to ensure trust in our electoral system, and bring back the integrity of our electoral system, which is very, very important,” Deaton said in a Jan. 5 interview. “It’s not good to have half the country believe that [Biden] is not even the real president of the United States… It’s dangerous for the country and for the world.”
Though an ardent supporter of President Donald Trump, Deaton said he believed the best-case scenario would be an audit confirming Biden’s victory, since such an outcome would be most likely to unite the country.
The letter alleged the existence of a coordinated effort to rig the presidential election against Trump. Several pieces of supporting material were cited, such as a video shot in Atlanta, Ga., which the letter described as showing poll workers illegally telling observers to leave a polling facility, and then counting ballots in secret, in some cases counting the same ballot multiple times. State and county officials told the Associated Press that the footage shows no improper behavior, and that observers left after confusion arose because election workers thought that they had finished for the night. Georgia tallied its votes three times before certifying Biden’s victory.
Among several other items, the letter cites the testimony of Richard Hopkins, a Pennsylvania postal worker who signed an affidavit claiming that tardy mail-in ballots were backdated so that they would still be counted as valid. An audio recording later emerged in which Hopkins, in an interview with U.S. Postal Service investigators, seemed uncertain whether the content of his affidavit was accurate. Hopkins subsequently denied that he had recanted his original claims.
Despite the president’s claims of fraud, state officials have insisted the Nov. 3 election ran smoothly and that there was no evidence of irregularities that would have altered the outcome. By Wednesday, Jan. 6, nearly all of the 50 lawsuits filed by the president or his allies challenging the election outcome had been dropped or dismissed. Most recently, the Senate dismissed a challenge to Biden’s win in Arizona by a vote of 93-6. Several Republican senators who had planned to support the objection reversed course after a group of pro-Trump rioters invaded the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, according to AP reports.
Murkowski, Sullivan and Young, to whom the letter was addressed, have all publicly acknowledged Biden as president-elect in one capacity or another. Sunday, Jan. 3, a group of 10 senators, including Murkowski, issued a brief statement condemning efforts to contest the election results.
“The 2020 election is over,” read the statement by the group of Republican, Democratic and independent senators. “All challenges through recounts and appeals have been exhausted. At this point, further attempts to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the 2020 Presidential election are contrary to the clearly expressed will of the American people and only serve to undermine Americans’ confidence in the already determined election results.”
The suggested election audit parallels the commission that resolved the disputed 1876 presidential race between Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and Democrat Samuel J. Tilden. Though many of Tilden’s supporters considered “Rutherfraud” Hayes’s victory illegitimate, even passing a House resolution declaring Tilden the real winner, Hayes was peacefully inaugurated.
“Without these conversations happening, without an audit happening, millions of Americans and thousands of Alaskans will believe that this election was illegitimate, and that matters,” Deaton said. “We can’t just push them away as ‘crazy people,’ because they represent a large portion of our population.”