Some Mid-Missouri representatives are among those who signed onto their fellow House member's call for an extension of special session to show no confidence in some other states' presidential election results.
Sixty-six Republican House members joined state Rep. Justin Hill, R-Lake St. Louis, to call for the state's second special legislative session to be extended to debate and vote on a resolution Hill filed Thursday.
That resolution, HR 2, expresses "no faith in the validity of the results of the 2020 presidential election reported by the states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada," and calls for Congress to not accept those states' electoral votes if the states' legislatures don't complete "full and fair" investigations into alleged voting irregularities outlined in the resolution.
Mid-Missouri's Republican Reps. Dave Griffith, of Jefferson City; Travis Fitzwater, of Holts Summit; and Sara Walsh, of Ashland, were among those who signed onto Hill's letter Wednesday to House Speaker Elijah Haahr outlining the resolution and the desire to extend special session.
Griffith told the News Tribune on Thursday that Hill had called him recently to ask if he would sign onto the letter endorsing the resolution.
"I just feel like states owe it to each other to try to protect the integrity of our elections," Griffith said.
Asked how he reconciles the claims of voting irregularities made in Hill's resolution with findings by the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice and various courts to the contrary, finding no evidence of election fraud, Griffith said: "We're just asking to investigate."
The Associated Press reported Thursday that President Donald Trump and his campaign have lost more than 35 of roughly 50 lawsuits filed nationwide contesting the Nov. 3 general election results, while the rest are pending.
The Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency issued a statement last month that concluded: "While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections, we can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should too. When you have questions, turn to elections officials as trusted voices as they administer elections."
U.S. Attorney General William Barr has also said there's no proof of widespread voter fraud in this year's presidential election.
Walsh said in an email to the News Tribune: "Many of my constituents, as well as Missourians throughout our state, have voiced concerns about the integrity of our national elections," and that's why she signed onto Hill's letter.
"In a national election, the votes of Missourians are impacted and weakened by a lack of election safeguards, if proven, in other states. These are serious concerns, and I stand with Missourians who demand answers," Walsh added.
Fitzwater's office did not immediately return a request for comment.
Griffith said it's unlikely Hill's resolution gets any debate on the House floor before January, but he supports it as a symbolic statement.
If the Missouri Senate were to have any formal opinion soon on Hill's resolution — if given that opportunity by a House vote — the Senate would have to be called back into special session by Gov. Mike Parson, as the Senate adjourned from special session Thursday.
Kelli Jones, spokeswoman for Parson's office, said "No, Governor Parson does not plan to call a special session" to get the Senate involved on Hill's resolution.
Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, also told the News Tribune, "It's not likely, and so I'm not seeking to come back in" for a special session on Hill's resolution.
Republican Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden, of Columbia, did not immediately return a request for comment.
Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, said he would support Hill's resolution but doesn't know if it would be practical to bring the Senate back in for special session, given how close it is to January's regular session and that it would probably cost thousands of dollars to continue special session.
Bernskoetter said he would support Hill's resolution because, "from the reports I've seen, there's definitely been some irregularities. It's important that we have free and fair elections. If nothing else, if we don't change this election, we need to make sure elections in the future, people have confidence in them."
Griffith made a similar statement. Missourians can feel good about their election results, he said, but "I'm not sure we have the same confidence" of other states.
Bernskoetter said investigations that conclude there were no irregularities would help restore confidence.
"At least if they investigate it and say everything was fine, hopefully that would give the majority of people confidence," though it would not please everyone, Bernskoetter said.