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GOP Sen. Josh Hawley to challenge Electoral College vote results in Senate and object to certification

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) just did what no other Republican senator had the spine to do. On Wednesday he became the first U.S. senator to declare his intention to object to the Electoral College certification of Joe Biden as president on Jan. 6. There were already dozens of Republicans in the House led by Mo Brooks who plan on objecting.

Hawley will object to the certification of the Electoral College votes from Pennsylvania and other key states that he claims failed to follow their own election laws. Hawley will also call for Congress to launch an investigation into allegations of voter fraud and other election irregularities made by President Trump’s campaign.

“Following both the 2004 and 2016 elections, Democrats in Congress objected during the certification of electoral votes in order to raise concerns about election integrity. They were praised by Democratic leadership and the media when they did. And they were entitled to do so. But now those of us concerned about the integrity of this election are entitled to do the same,” Hawley said in a statement.

“I cannot vote to certify the electoral college results on January 6 without raising the fact that some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws. And I cannot vote to certify without pointing out 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 voter fraud and adopt measures to secure the integrity of our elections. But Congress has so far failed to act.”

“For these reasons, I will follow the same practice Democrat members of Congress have in years past and object during the certification process on January 6 to raise these critical issues.”

This ensures that the process will be bogged down and delayed by debate in Congress. It will also force Republicans to choose a side and their choice will be noted by President Trump and 75 million Americans who voted for him.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) is leading a band of Republicans in the House that support this. They have already announced they will object when Congress moves to officially certify the Electoral College votes from several contested battleground states where the Trump campaign’s legal team and its allies have made allegations of election irregularities. When Hawley joins these representatives in objecting, they will trigger several hours of debate in a joint session of Congress in the House chamber.

Brooks said earlier this month Republicans were considering objecting to six states that Biden won, meaning as much as 12 hours of debate that would turn the process into a political circus and could spill into a second day of debate.

After the debate, the House and Senate will vote on whether to accept the results from Pennsylvania and other disputed states. This will force GOP senators to choose between supporting President Trump’s claims of voter fraud or signing off on the certified election results of these states.

The vote would put a number of GOP incumbents up for re-election in 2022 in a bind by forcing them to decide between throwing their support behind Trump’s claims of voter fraud, which many of them have publicly dismissed, or breaking with the president and opening themselves up to a bloody primary fight.

Several other GOP senators have not yet said if they will object, including Rand Paul (KY), Ted Cruz (TX), and Tom Cotton (AR). Sen.-elect Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) is also drawing close scrutiny after his campaign manager said he was seriously considering objecting.

It will be the third time Congress has had to debate an objection since 1887, according to the Congressional Research Service. The other two times, in 1969 and 2004, were ultimately unsuccessful in changing the results of the election and the objections were rejected. House Democrats have challenged the results of the 2000, 2004, and 2016 elections, but only after the 2004 election did California’s Senator Barbara Boxer join in the challenge. That year, Democrats objected to Ohio’s electoral votes, which forced a two-hour debate and was defeated by a wide margin.

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