Republican U.S. Senator from Missouri Josh Hawley on Wednesday became the first senator to announce that he would object to Congress’s electoral vote count next week, resulting in a slowdown in the final stage of Joe Biden’s election .
“I cannot vote to certify the results of the electoral college on January 6 without mentioning the fact that some states, particularly Pennsylvania, did not follow their own election laws,” Hawley said in a statement.
“And I cannot vote to certify without highlighting 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 electoral fraud and adopt measures to ensure the integrity of our elections. But Congress has so far failed to act, ”Hawley said.
Millions of voters concerned about electoral integrity deserve to be heard. I will object on January 6 on their behalf pic.twitter.com/kTaaPPJGHE
– Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) December 30, 2020
Under U.S. law, a joint session of Congress will meet on Jan.6 to count the electoral votes certified by each state on Dec. 14, when the constituency met and formalized Biden’s election as president.
Vice President Mike Pence, as Speaker of the Senate, is expected to chair the session, which in most years is a well-organized ceremonial event. This year, however, Hawley’s planned action, combined with a group of Conservatives in the House of Representatives, led by U.S. Representative from Alabama, Mo Brooks, who has previously indicated he will raise objections to election votes. States, promises to slow down the process and add a dramatic tinge to the proceedings.
The law allows any member of Congress to oppose a state’s votes, but for an objection to be official, a member of the United States House and a United States Senator must oppose it. If Hawley objects, an objection will be dealt with by Congress as a whole.
Once an objection to a state’s votes is made, each chamber of Congress meets in their respective chambers, debates the objection for two hours, and votes on whether to uphold the objection. The House and Senate must vote to confirm that the objection becomes official.
Given that the House has a Democratic majority, it is certain that any objection raised by Republicans will not stand.
In fact, no electoral objections have been upheld since this electoral process was codified into law in 1887. Only twice before, in 1969 and 2005, Debate was forced on an objection raised, according to the Congressional Research Service, and both times the objections were dismissed.
The objections that will be raised will only slow down the countdown and should not alter the end result: 306 electoral votes for Biden and 232 for President Donald Trump. Indeed, the Conservative-backed slowdown will ultimately be a showy protest, something that is sure to please Trump and his supporters, but will not prevent Biden from swearing in on January 20.
“I don’t expect this to make a difference in the outcome, but rather to prolong the day as Chambers of Congress consider the objections,” Rick Hasen, electoral law expert and university law professor from California to Irvine, wrote on his blog.
Trump, who did not concede the election and unsuccessfully sought ways to overturn the election results, urged his Republican supporters in Congress to face challenges during the Jan. 6 count and criticized Republican leaders who have tried to end the idea.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged Republicans not to raise objections because he fears putting members in the uncomfortable political position of having to officially vote for or against Trump.
Second Senate Republican John Thune predicted earlier this month that any effort to influence the end result “would fall like a hound.”
“I just don’t think it makes a lot of sense to bring this to everyone’s life when you know what the end result will be,” Thune said.
Trump slammed him on Twitter last week saying that Thune “should just let it play.” South Dakota doesn’t like weakness. He will be awarded in 2022, political career ended !!! “
Republicans in the Senate forget so quickly. Right now they would lose 8 seats without me supporting them in the last election. RINO John Thune, “Mitch’s boy,” should just let that play out. South Dakota doesn’t like weakness. He will be awarded in 2022, political career ended !!!
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2020