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Pence: Federal bills offend Founders’ intention that states conduct elections

Former Vice President Mike Pence addresses the GOP Lincoln-Reagan Dinner on June 3, 2021, in Manchester, New Hampshire. (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images via CNN)

(CNN) — Former Vice President Mike Pence contrasted Democrats’ push for election legislation with his own actions at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in an op-ed published in The Washington Post on Friday.

Pence, in the piece headlined “Jan. 6 was a power grab. So is busting the filibuster to nationalize elections,” writes, “On Jan. 6, an angry mob ransacked the Capitol, largely to try to get Congress and me, as the president of the Senate, to use federal authority to overturn results of the presidential election that had been certified by all 50 states” and credits law enforcement with securing the Capitol.

He goes on to accuse President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats of using the memory of the riot to “attempt another federal power grab over our state elections.”

“Their plan to end the filibuster to allow Democrats to pass a bill nationalizing our elections would offend the Founders’ intention that states conduct elections just as much as what some of our most ardent supporters would have had me do one year ago,” Pence writes.

His rebuke comes as the Senate is poised to take up voting legislation on Tuesday. Biden has aggressively pushed for the Senate to change its filibuster rules in order to clear the way for the legislation to pass with fewer votes but has faced opposition to the rules change from moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Pence says in his opinion piece that during the January 6 election certification, he upheld the principle that elections are determined at the state level — not by Congress.

On that day, he had rejected then-President Donald Trump’s entreaties to subvert the constitutional process that would certify Biden’s election victory, earning Trump’s wrath. After the mob breached the Capitol, Pence was rushed out of the Senate chamber as rioters calling for his death stormed the halls.

“The notion that Congress would break the filibuster rule to pass a law equaling a wholesale takeover of elections by the federal government is inconsistent with our nation’s history and an affront to our Constitution’s structure,” Pence writes in the op-ed, before going on to criticize proposals in the election legislation.

In the piece, the former vice president praised states that passed restrictive voting laws last year, such as Texas and Georgia, writing that they “led the way with common-sense reforms” in an attempt “to restore confidence in the integrity of our elections.”

Pence called on senators to “do as you did before: Uphold the right of states to conduct and certify elections. Reject this latest attempt to give Washington the power to decide how the United States’ elections are run. And keep the oath you made before God and the American people to support and defend the Constitution.”