Hawley Becomes First Senator to Announce Plans to Object to Electoral College Certification
Do you support objections to the certification of Biden’s victory in the Electoral College?
by Causes | 12.30.20
What’s the story?
- Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) on Wednesday became the first senator to announce that they will object to the Electoral College’s certification of the presidential election results during the joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021.
- Hawley explained why he is joining the last-ditch effort to thwart the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in a statement, which read in part:
“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. 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.
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. 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. 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.
What does it mean for the electoral college certification process?
- When Congress meets in a joint session to certify the results of the Electoral College, objections to any state’s returns may be raised in writing by at least one senator and one member of the House.
- If a qualified objection is raised, the joint session recesses so the House and Senate can debate the question in their respective chambers for up to two hours before voting to accept or reject the objection.
- The joint session is then reassembled, and an objection to a state’s electoral vote must be approved by both houses for contested votes to be excluded.
- Hawley’s objection will likely be qualified due to at least one House Republican joining it. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) has indicated there may be “dozens” of GOP lawmakers who lodge objections regarding Electoral College votes from Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and potentially others in an effort to keep President-elect Joe Biden from reaching 270 electoral votes.
- While the prospect of a qualified objection or objections being raised may prolong the joint session’s certification meeting, it’s unlikely to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s victory given that Democrats and numerous Republicans have expressed that they’re unwilling to exclude contested electoral votes. Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD) said the effort is doomed and “going down like a shot dog.”
What happened with past electoral college objections?
- In 2005, Sen. Barabara Boxer (D-CA) and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) objected to Ohio’s 20 electoral college votes in favor of President George W. Bush due to alleged irregularities, which if successful would’ve put Bush below the threshold needed to win the Electoral College. The House and Senate went through the process of considering the objection before each rejected the objection, and Ohio’s electoral votes were counted as cast.
- In 2017, leading House Democrats objected to several states’ electoral votes, including Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern (D-MA), Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Progressive Caucus Co-Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD). None of their objections were joined by a senator, so they were ruled out of order by the Senate’s president who chaired proceedings, then-Vice President Joe Biden:
— Eric Revell
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