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 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. ET Wednesday.
The positions of every Republican member of Congress from States Newsroom’s 20 states are collected here—as well as the names of the many Republicans who have not yet disclosed whether they will vote to certify Biden as the president-elect.
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 U.S. Reps. 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.
Eight of Pennsylvania’s nine Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives have released a joint statement saying they will oppose the certification of Pennsylvania’s electors when Congress meets to count electoral votes on Jan. 6.
The lawmakers, U.S. Reps. Dan Meuser, 9th District; Scott Perry, R-10th District, Lloyd Smucker, R-11th District; Fred Keller, R-12th District; John Joyce, R-13th District; Guy Reschenthaler, R-14th District; Glen ‘GT’ Thompson, R-15th District, and Mike Kelly, R0-16th District, argued in a joint statement that Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar exceeded their authority by, among other things, allowing counties to accept mail-in ballots that were received after Election Day but were postmarked by Nov. 3.
“These unlawful actions were taken without the authority or consent of the Pennsylvania state legislature. These are facts, and they are indisputable,” the lawmakers said. “Additionally, the Pennsylvania Attorney General did nothing with regard to these unlawful activities. Not one inquiry, no questioning, and certainly no investigations. Not to mention that hundreds, if not thousands, of affidavits outlining election complaints and potential fraud were documented, submitted, and ignored. The Pennsylvania election could be summed up as a free-for-all with no oversight and different standards applied throughout the Commonwealth. It is also very apparent that the unlawful actions described were concentrated in heavily populated, Democrat-led counties.”
U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, a Republican who represents the Bucks County-based 1st Congressional District, did not sign the letter.
Seven of the eight lawmakers also were among the 126 signatories an amicus brief to a lawsuit, filed by Texas’ attorney general, that sought to throw out election results in key battleground states, including Pennsylvania. State Attorney General Josh Shapiro slammed the lawsuit as “seditious abuse.”
Neither Smucker nor Fitzpatrick signed the amicus brief.
Democrat Joe Biden beat President Donald Trump by more than 80,000 votes to carry the Keystone State and its 20 electoral votes. Wolf and Boockvar have certified the results and the Electoral College awarded the state to Biden when it met in Harrisburg last month. Despite that, Trump and his allies have continued to falsely claim that the race was stolen.
Pennsylvania Capital-Star Editor John L. Micek contributed to this story.