WASHINGTON — Sen. Josh Hawley, Missouri’s junior senator in Washington, announced Wednesday he will object during the Electoral College certification process next week. The move will force House and Senate votes that are likely to delay — but in no way alter — the final certification of President-elect Joe Biden's win.
In an emailed statement, Hawley said he wants to “highlight the failure of some states, including notably Pennsylvania, to follow their own election laws.” Hawley offered no specifics or evidence of his claims.
President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress have voiced claims, without evidence, of election fraud.
However, in his last public appearance as attorney general, William Barr said he had no reason to appoint a special counsel to look into claims about widespread voting fraud in the 2020 election.
Additionally, earlier this month the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Republicans’ bid to reverse Pennsylvania’s certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. The court without comment refused to call into question the certification process.
Republicans have argued that Pennsylvania’s expansive vote-by-mail law is unconstitutional because it required a constitutional amendment to authorize its provisions.
Earlier this month, the Electoral College formally chose Joe Biden as the nation’s next president. Electors in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — the six battleground states that Biden won and Trump contested —gave Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris their votes in low-key proceedings.
A group of Republicans in the Democratic-majority House have already said they will object on Trump’s behalf during the Jan. 6 count of electoral votes, and they had needed just a single senator to go along with them to force votes in both chambers, the Associated Press reported.
Asked about Hawley’s announcement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said, "I have no doubt that on next Wednesday, a week from today, that Joe Biden will be confirmed by the acceptance of the vote of the electoral college as the 46th president of the United States.”
When Congress convenes to certify the Electoral College results, any lawmaker can object to a state’s votes on any grounds. But the objection is not taken up unless it is in writing and signed by both a member of the House and a member of the Senate.
When there is such a request, then the joint session suspends and the House and Senate go into separate sessions to consider it. For the objection to be sustained, both chambers must agree to it by a simple majority vote. If they disagree, the original electoral votes are counted.
The last time such an objection was considered was 2005, when Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio and Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, both Democrats, objected to Ohio’s electoral votes by claiming there were voting irregularities. Both chambers debated the objection and rejected it. It was only the second time such a vote had occurred.
In announcing his plans to object during the certification process, Sen. Hawley recalled previous years – in 2004 and 2016 – when he said Democrats did the same thing.
“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 his statement.
Hawley also claimed social media sites like Facebook and Twitter interfered with the election.
“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."
As president of the Senate, Vice President Mike Pence will preside over the Jan. 6 session and declare the winner.
Sen. Hawley shared his news on Twitter Wednesday, which led a major company to backtrack its response.
Walmart's official Twitter account posted, "Go ahead. Get your 2 hour debate. #soreloser,” in a reply to Hawley's tweet.
"Thanks @Walmart for your insulting condescension. Now that you’ve insulted 75 million Americans, will you at least apologize for using slave labor?"