WASHINGTON — The final step in a turmoil-filled 2020 presidential election is set for Wednesday, when Congress will certify election results showing that Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump.
But a series of objections from GOP legislators is expected to stretch that routine process into a much lengthier one — and one that is dividing the Republican Party between those who back Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud and those who do not. Those claims have failed repeatedly in dozens of lawsuits brought by Trump’s legal team.
At least 12 GOP senators and dozens of House Republicans say they intend to object to the Electoral College results as those votes are read, state by state, in a joint session that begins at 1 p.m. ET Wednesday.
It’s not yet clear exactly how Wednesday’s process will unfold, but Republicans could raise objections to the results from as many as six swing states: Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Nevada.
Not all Republican lawmakers have embraced Trump’s refusal to accept the election results. A dozen House Republicans are pushing back, arguing that Congress has a narrow role in elections and that states are responsible for selecting electors to certify votes.
“To take action otherwise — that is, to unconstitutionally insert Congress into the center of the presidential election process — would amount to stealing power from the people and the states,” lawmakers wrote in a letter, obtained by the publication Punchbowl, to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Sunday.
Republicans signing that letter include Ken Buck of Colorado, Ann Wagner of Missouri, Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, Ashley Hinson of Iowa and Pete Meijer of Michigan, among others.
“It would, in effect, replace the electoral college with Congress, and in so doing strengthen the efforts of those on the left who are determined to eliminate it or render it irrelevant,” they wrote.
Raising a formal objection to the Electoral College results requires a written document signed by at least one member of the House and one senator. A recognized objection prompts two hours of debate in each chamber, followed by a vote.
While the process may drag out, possibly even into Thursday, those objections are unlikely to change the outcome, with both the Democratic-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate expected to defeat the challenges.
As that debate plays out inside the Capitol, potentially violent protests are expected in downtown Washington, where militia groups and members of the extremist group the Proud Boys are already gathering to show support for Trump.
Here’s what Republican members of Congress from Georgia have said publicly about whether they will support certifying the results or will object to that process:
“If fraud is tolerated, tyranny will ensue!,” he wrote on Twitter. “We cannot afford to be idle. These are the moments that count. We must eradicate election fraud and prosecute the guilty. OBJECT to the electoral certification in Congress on Jan 6!”
“After weeks of researching Georgia’s handling of the 2020 General Election, I have a reasonable and significant doubt that the electors selected to represent Georgia in the electoral college actually reflect the true will of the people of Georgia,” he said in a statement. “Due to the many unanswered and credible charges of potential fraud, highly respected members of the State House and Senate have called for a special session to address the certification of Georgia’s votes. However, no special session has been called. Therefore, on behalf of my colleagues in the Georgia General Assembly, I will be objecting to Georgia’s electors when these votes are presented to the U.S. House of Representatives on January 6, 2021.”
- Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene:
“I am writing to highlight the bipartisan nature of the fight for election integrity,” she wrote in a letter along with Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina. “Not too long ago, prominent Democrats in the House expressed similar sentiments to the ones we will be putting forward on January 6th, starting with yourself. You said in early 2019 that one of the goals of Democrats’ majority was to, ‘restore faith in government, so that people can have confidence that government works for the people.’ I would submit that standing for election integrity would be a great place to start.”
- Rep. Austin Scott
- Rep. Buddy Carter
- Rep. Drew Ferguson IV
- Rep. Rick Allen
- Rep. Andrew Clyde
- Sen. Kelly Loeffler:
“The American people deserve a platform in Congress, permitted under the Constitution, to have election issues presented so that they can be addressed,” she said in a statement. “That’s why, on January 6th, I will vote to give President Trump and the American people the fair hearing they deserve and support the objection to the Electoral College certification process. I have also already introduced legislation to establish a commission to investigate election irregularities and recommend election integrity measures, which I will be working to get passed in the Senate. We must restore trust, confidence and integrity in our election system.”