Hawley Joins Challenge to Electoral College Results, Giving House Members Key Vote in Senate
WASHINGTON – Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. announced Wednesday that he will object to certifying the Electoral College vote during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, becoming the first GOP senator to back the effort by House conservatives.
Hawley’s decision, announced via Twitter, virtually ensures that hours of debate will precede the vote in the House and Senate on the Electoral College results.
Biden won the Electoral College vote 306 to 232. In addition, he won the popular vote by a margin of more than 7 million votes.
But like some of his GOP counterparts in the House, Hawley alleges that some states failed to follow their own election laws and that large tech and social media companies conspired to deny President Donald Trump re-election.
“I cannot vote to certify the electoral college results on January 6 without raising the fact that some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws,” Hawley said in a statement.
“And I cannot vote to certify without pointing out the unprecedented effort of mega corporations, including Facebook and Twitter, to interfere in this election, in support of Joe Biden,” he continued. “At the very least, Congress should investigate allegations of voter fraud and adopt measures to secure the integrity of our elections. But Congress has so far failed to act.”
It will be the third time Congress has had to debate an objection since 1887, according to the Congressional Research Service. Hawlyey cited two of those instances in his statement.
“Following both the 2004 and 2016 elections, Democrats in Congress objected during the certification of electoral votes in order to raise concerns about election integrity,” he said. “They were praised by Democratic leadership and the media when they did. And they were entitled to do so. But now those of us concerned about the integrity of this election are entitled to do the same.”
A group of House conservatives, led by Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala, have vowed to attempt a long-shot bid to overturn the results of the November presidential election and keep Trump in office.
But in order to force a debate on certifying the Electoral College votes — and potentially set up a vote on their objections to specific states’ results — they needed a senator to also object.
By long standing rules, if a House and Senate member appeal a state’s slate of electors, the joint session of Congress will be dissolved and the House and Senate will meet separately for at least two hours to debate each contested state’s electoral vote.
Each body then votes whether to accept or reject that state’s slate of electoral votes. Then the House and Senate will reconvene in the joint session.
A state’s slate of electoral votes is only tossed if both the House and Senate vote to do so.
Because Democrats will continue to control the House in the 117th Congress and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has already acknowledged Biden’s Electoral College victory, it’s unlikely the dissenters will be able to muster enough votes to reject any state’s certification.
Further, many Senate Republicans are said to be strenuously against the move, saying privately that it will only expose fissures in the party and force members to go on record about whether they truly believe Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud.
Brooks was the first member of Congress to say he would challenge the results of the election and has been on an all-out media campaign since November promoting his assertions.
In an interview with Paul Gattis of al.com, Brooks argued, “The key, if you are a thinking individual, is to examine whether or not there has been voter fraud and election theft. And the evidence is overwhelming and compelling that voter fraud and election theft has plagued this 2020 election cycle unlike any time in American history.”
At least 10 of the newly-elected Republican Congressmen and women who will be sworn in on Sunday have gone on record as saying they support Brooks’ effort.
They are Reps-elect Barry Moore, of Alabama, Marjorie Taylor Greene, of Georgia, Lauren Boebert, of Colorado, Madison Cawthorn, of North Carolina, Burgess Owens, of Utah, Yvette Herrell, of New Mexico, Dr. Ronny Jackson, of Texas, Bob Good of Virginia, Jerry Carl of Alabama, and Andrew Clyde, of Georgia.
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