GOP senators, including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Kennedy (R-LA), and Mike Braun (R-IN), are joining Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) in objecting to electoral college votes on January 6, they announced on Saturday in a joint statement alongside four senators-elect.
The senators and incoming lawmakers — including Sens.-elect Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) — released a joint statement on Saturday, expressing their intent to “reject the electors from disputed states” on January 6, explaining that the 2020 presidential election featured “unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities.”
“And those allegations are not believed just by one individual candidate. Instead, they are widespread,” the lawmakers said, citing a Reuters/Ipsos poll showing that over one-third of Americans, or 39 percent, believe the election was “rigged.”
“That belief is held by Republicans (67%), Democrats (17%), and Independents (31%),” the Republicans said, noting that some members of Congress disagree, “as do many members of the media.”
“But, whether or not our elected officials or journalists believe it, that deep distrust of our democratic processes will not magically disappear. It should concern us all. And it poses an ongoing threat to the legitimacy of any subsequent administrations,” they continued, explaining that, in an ideal world, the courts “would have heard evidence and resolved these claims of serious election fraud.”
The Supreme Court, however, declined to do so on two occasions, they argued.
“On January 6, it is incumbent on Congress to vote on whether to certify the 2020 election results. That vote is the lone constitutional power remaining to consider and force resolution of the multiple allegations of serious voter fraud,” they said, explaining the “long precedent of Democratic Members of Congress raising objections to presidential election results, as they did in 1969, 2001, 2005, and 2017.”
And, in both 1969 and 2005, a Democratic Senator joined with a Democratic House Member in forcing votes in both houses on whether to accept the presidential electors being challenged.
The most direct precedent on this question arose in 1877, following serious allegations of fraud and illegal conduct in the Hayes-Tilden presidential race. Specifically, the elections in three states—Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina—were alleged to have been conducted illegally.
In 1877, Congress did not ignore those allegations, nor did the media simply dismiss those raising them as radicals trying to undermine democracy. Instead, Congress appointed an Electoral Commission—consisting of five Senators, five House Members, and five Supreme Court Justices—to consider and resolve the disputed returns.
We should follow that precedent. To wit, Congress should immediately appoint an Electoral Commission, with full investigatory and fact-finding authority, to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states. Once completed, individual states would evaluate the Commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed.
“Accordingly, we intend to vote on January 6 to reject the electors from disputed states as not ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified’ (the statutory requisite), unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed,” they announced.
The GOP lawmakers contended that support of election integrity should “not be a partisan issue” and called for a “fair and credible audit” completed prior to inauguration day, expressing the belief that such would “dramatically improve Americans’ faith in our electoral process and would significantly enhance the legitimacy of whoever becomes our next President.”
“We owe that to the People,” they continued:
These are matters worthy of the Congress, and entrusted to us to defend. We do not take this action lightly. We are acting not to thwart the democratic process, but rather to protect it. And every one of us should act together to ensure that the election was lawfully conducted under the Constitution and to do everything we can to restore faith in our Democracy.
The senators’ announcement puts them alongside Hawley, the first GOP senator to announce his intention to object to the electoral college votes in key states.