Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) on Wednesday announced that he plans to object to the Electoral College certification process during a Jan. 6 joint congressional session, marking another effort by President Donald Trump’s allies to overturn the election.
Hawley is the first senator to say he will object to the process, joining fellow Trump loyalist Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) in a long-shot bid to throw out President-elect Joe Biden’s win.
“At the very least, Congress should investigate allegations of voter fraud and adopt measures to secure the integrity of our elections,” Hawley said in a statement. “But Congress has so far failed to act.”
The Justice Department and election officials nationwide have found no evidence of widespread voter fraud or ballot-counting irregularities, despite Trump’s baseless claims to the contrary.
Under federal law, if one House member and one senator jointly object to the returns from any state, then the certification process pauses while each chamber separately debates the objection. Each body then votes whether to accept or reject the electoral votes in question.
The objections from Hawley and Brooks are largely symbolic, as they’re likely to be voted down in the Senate and the House, respectively. Nonetheless, it’s a move that is sure to curry favor with Trump and his supporters.
Trump has publicly dragged Republican leaders in the Senate for not doing enough to support his unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. Though every state has certified its election results and members of the Electoral College have formally cast their votes, cementing Biden’s win, Trump has refused to concede the election.
In his statement Wednesday, Hawley pointed to Democrats who objected to the Electoral College certification process in 2017 after Trump’s win, in an effort to justify his planned objection. But no senator joined House Democrats in their objections at that time.
Hawley said his objection is intended to raise several “critical issues,” such as Pennsylvania failing to “follow their own state election laws.”
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court rejected a request from Pennsylvania Republicans to overturn Biden’s win in the state. It was one of dozens of legal challenges filed by the Trump campaign and Republicans after the election that were ultimately thrown out.
Asked about Hawley’s plan, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that she has “no doubt” Congress will accept the electoral votes next week and confirm Biden as the next president.
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