Dan Bishop, Madison Cawthorn, other GOP members of U.S. House backing baseless claims of election fraud
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, including six from North Carolina, 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. 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 North Carolina have said publicly about whether they will support certifying the results or will object to that process:
OBJECTING TO ELECTORAL COLLEGE RESULTS
“Millions of Americans believe there were consequential problems in November’s presidential election. I’ve heard from an overwhelming number of my own constituents, and they share this belief. They witnessed voter safeguards unconstitutionally removed by non-legislative officials. They saw states with no signature verification, no voter ID laws, outdated voter rolls, poll watchers denied access to the count, and ballots accepted long after Election Day had passed.”
“The right to vote in a free and fair election is the cornerstone of our republic. Attempts to undermine this strike at the very heart of a representative government ‘of, by, and for the people.’ I will not be silent.”
“The American people need to have confidence in the integrity of our election process. Currently, millions of people do not trust the outcome of this presidential election because there is incontrovertible evidence of voter irregularity — if not outright fraud—in multiple states. Furthermore, election laws were changed in numerous states contrary to Article II of the Constitution. These election changes included extending the deadline for mail-in ballots, adding unsecured drop box collection sites, and changes to signature verification measures — processes that are susceptible to increased fraud as spelled out by a bipartisan commission on election reform co-chaired by former President Jimmy Carter.”
“The American people need clarity that this election was fair and truly reflective of the will of the people. Unfortunately, the electoral and judicial processes so far have not provided for a thorough vetting. Congress is the last forum for the arguments to be heard in the short-term. For these reasons, I will be objecting to the Electoral College votes certified by the states in question and believe the idea proposed by Senator Cruz and other members of the Senate to immediately appoint an electoral commission to do a ten day audit of the votes cast would, if nothing else, help restore confidence in our elections moving forward.”
“Contrary to what many in the mainstream media would have you believe, this is not about a person, but rather about upholding the Constitution. It very clearly states in Article II Section 1 that state legislatures are charged with writing election laws, not executive officials and judges. Unfortunately multiple states, some more egregiously than others, violated that section of the Constitution. Whether objecting would change the outcome is not the question that must be addressed. It is rather, did certain states follow their constitutional duties in how they chose electors? I believe the answer is ‘no’. Unless we solve this problem now by objecting and calling into question the irregularities in the process this year, it will call into question the integrity of every election this nation faces moving forward.”
- Rep. Dan Bishop of District 9, says he will object to the Electoral College results from Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin:
“Because the Democrats’ campaign of litigation has tainted some states’ elections, I will join in objections to those states’ electors. I consider this to be an obligation of utmost gravity, predicated on my oath to defend the Constitution, and I hope that the controversy at hand will lead to restoring the administration of elections as the Constitution envisions.”
Responded “no” when asked by POLITICO about joining Sen. Josh Hawley’s effort to object.
- Sen. Thom Tillis