A group of GOP senators led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, will object to the Jan. 6 certification of Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 Presidential election unless an emergency 10-day audit of the results is undertaken by an electoral commission.
The group of senators declared the Nov. 3 election “featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud and illegal conduct.”
Joining Cruz are Sens. Ron Johnson, R-Wis.; James Lankford, R-Okla.; Steve Daines, R-Mont.; John Kennedy, R-La.; Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Mike Braun, R-Ind.; as well as Sens.-elect Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.; Roger Marshall, R-Kansas; Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., and Tommy Tuberville, R-Ala.
Their effort is separate from one announced by Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who said this week that he will object to what he claims was the failure of some states — most notably Pennsylvania — to follow their own election laws.
“Voter fraud has posed a persistent challenge in our elections, although its breadth and scope are disputed,” the lawmakers said Saturday in a statement. “By any measure, the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes.”
The lawmakers say there is a precedent of Democrats objecting to election results in 1969, 2001, 2005 and 2019. “And, in both 1969 and 2005, a Democratic Senator joined with a Democratic House Member in forcing votes in both houses on whether to accept the presidential electors being challenged,” they said.
The senators and senators-elect are calling on Congress to appoint a commission to conduct a 10-day emergency audit of the election returns in states where the results are disputed. They cite as precedent the 1877 race between Samuel Tilden and Rutherford Hayes in which there were allegations of fraud in multiple states.
“In 1877, Congress did not ignore those allegations, nor did the media simply dismiss those raising them as radicals trying to undermine democracy,” the lawmakers said in the statement. “Instead, Congress appointed an Electoral Commission — consisting of five Senators, five House Members, and five Supreme Court Justices — to consider and resolve the disputed returns.”
“We should follow that precedent. To wit, Congress should immediately appoint an Electoral Commission, with full investigatory and fact-finding authority, to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states. Once completed, individual states would evaluate the Commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed.”
The senators intend to vote against certification if the audit is not conducted.
“Accordingly, we intend to vote on January 6 to reject the electors from disputed states as not ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified’ (the statutory requisite), unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed,” they said in the statement.
“American democracy relies on the consent of the governed,” Sens. Blackburn and Hagerty said in a separate statement. “Allegations of voter fraud, irregularities and unconstitutional actions diminish public confidence in what should be a free, fair and transparent process. Protecting the integrity of the electoral process is paramount to preserving trust and legitimacy in the final outcome.”
The effort by the senators marks a major win for President Trump. Trump and many of his voters believe he beat Biden, who marginally flipped a number of Republican states, including Georgia and Arizona, to get over the 270 Electoral College votes needed to secure the White House.
“These are matters worthy of the Congress, and entrusted to us to defend. We do not take this action lightly. We are acting not to thwart the democratic process, but rather to protect it,” they said. “And every one of us should act together to ensure that the election was lawfully conducted under the Constitution and to do everything we can to restore faith in our Democracy.”
Some Senate GOP leaders seem to be against efforts to challenge Biden’s win given Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s public acceptance of Biden’s victory. While the lawmakers note that most Democrats and some Republicans will vote to certify the results, they argue that an audit would increase the public’s faith in the process.
If the group of GOP senators object, along with the House Republicans who have already committed, the joint session of Congress will be dissolved, and the House and Senate will meet separately to debate the contested states’ electoral votes.
Afterward, each body will vote whether to accept or reject any contested votes. Then the House and Senate will reconvene the joint session.
In the House, at least 10 incoming House GOP freshmen are expected to back a move by Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., to object to certification.
Though Congressional Democrats objected to every Republican won presidential certification after 1988, and actually delayed the certification of George W. Bush in 2005, Republicans have never used this power over elections until now.
There is a potential twist. If Republican electors from the states where both Democrat and Republican sets were sent forward, were added to the count it could mean that instead of the Republicans objecting, the Democrats would need to object.