A group of Republican senators that includes Texas’ Ted Cruz, Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson, and Tennessee’s Marsha Blackburn announced Saturday that they will take action to challenge the Electoral College vote in Congress on Wednesday, Jan. 6, and call for an emergency 10-day audit of election returns in disputed states, citing “unprecedented allegations of voter fraud and illegal conduct,” as Fox News reported.
Other GOP senators joining the effort include James Lankford (OK), Steve Daines (MT), John Kennedy (LA), and Mike Braun (IN), as well as Sens.-elect Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), according to Fox.
The group wants to see an electoral commission appointed to conduct the 10-day audit, similar to how the 1877 electoral challenge was handled in the presidential race between Samuel Tilden and Rutherford Hayes, where significant fraud was alleged in multiple states, Fox noted.
Free, fair, and transparent
“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 a statement, according to Fox. “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.”
They went on:
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 said they would vote against the Electoral College certification if the audit is not ordered and agreed to.
In a separate statement, Sen. Blackburn and Sen.-elect Hagerty reiterated that “American democracy relies on the consent of the governed.”
“Allegations of voter fraud, irregularities and unconstitutional actions diminish public confidence in what should be a free, fair and transparent process,” they said, according to Fox. “Protecting the integrity of the electoral process is paramount to preserving trust and legitimacy in the final outcome.”
More challenges from the right
The Republican effort is separate from one by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO), who announced last week that he would challenge electoral results in certain states where he said election laws were changed illegally, Politico reported.
Neither challenge is likely to prevent the vote from being certified by Congress, since several Senate Republicans — including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) — have said they oppose such an effort, and the House will still have a Democrat majority.
The Supreme Court and various state courts have refused to consider cases involving election fraud in swing states including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia, emboldening Democrats to say that there was no widespread fraud in the election.
Still, President Donald Trump has refused to concede to former Vice President Joe Biden, claiming that he will emerge the victor in contested states if fraudulent votes are excluded.