A group of U.S. senators say they plan to reject the electoral college results when the two chambers of Congress meet on Wednesday, however, this ultimately will not change the outcome of the 2020 presidential election.
“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,” the statement read.
“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.
Sen. Josh Hawley has also said he plans to reject the results during the joint session.
On Wednesday, both the House of Representatives and the Senate will meet to count the electoral votes.
While objections can be raised during the session, it’s highly unlikely that this would have any impact on the outcome.
How does it work?
If there is an objection to a slate of electors, it must be supported by a member of the House of Representatives and a member of the Senate.
If this is the case, the chambers separate to debate for two hours.
Ultimately, though, it would take a majority vote in both the House and Senate in order for an objection to be successful.
“Those objections are going to fail for sure,” Matthew Lebo, political science department chair at Western University said. “Because they’re not going to pass the House because Democrats have a majority in the House.”
And, while the Republicans control the Senate, Lebo said it’s also “unlikely” to pass in the upper chamber either.
In the statement, the senators said they are “not naïve,” and “fully expect most if not all Democrats, and perhaps more than a few Republicans, to vote otherwise.”
“But support of election integrity should not be a partisan issue,” the statement said. “A fair and credible audit — conducted expeditiously and completed well before January 20 — would dramatically improve Americans’ faith in our electoral process and would significantly enhance the legitimacy of whoever becomes our next President.”
The statement comes after weeks of failed legal attempts launched by the Donald Trump campaign in an effort to try to overturn election results in a number of key states.
The Republican president has repeatedly claimed — without evidence — that mass voter fraud and irregularities led to president-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
However, election officials across the country as well as the U.S. Justice Department said no widespread voter fraud was detected.
The federal agency that oversees election security and the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency released a joint statement in November, which said the election “was the most secure in American history.”
In a tweet on Saturday, Trump appeared to be cheering on the senators, saying: “Our Country will love them for it.”
‘Laying the groundwork’
While Lebo said “nothing that happens on Wednesday will keep Joe Biden from being inaugurated,” it will have many consequences.
“For one, they’re laying the groundwork so that they can treat Joe Biden as an illegitimate president for the next four years,” he said.
What’s more, Lebo said the senators are signaling to Trump and to his voters that they are “doing all they can” to support him.
Lebo said the senators are also working to make these kinds of objections “the new normal.”
“It could be that the House and Senate in 2024 — if the Republicans control them — that they feel more comfortable throwing out the electoral votes if Joe Biden were re-elected or Kamala Harris is elected in 2024,” Lebo said.
“So they’re really undermining democracy again — these are pretty significant ways that they’re doing that.”
An ‘egregious ploy’
In a statement of his own on Sunday, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney said the “egregious ploy to reject electors may enhance the political ambition of some, but dangerously threatens our Democratic Republic.”
“The congressional power to reject electors is reserved for the most extreme and unusual circumstances. These are far from it,” he said in the statement.
“More Americans participated in this election than ever before, and they made their choice. President Trump’s lawyers made their case before scores of courts; in every instance, they failed.”
Romney continued, saying: “I could never have imagined seeing these things in the greatest democracy in the world. Has ambition eclipsed principle?”
GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski said she would vote to affirm the 2020 presidential election.
“The courts and state legislatures have all honored their duty to hear legal allegations and have found nothing to warrant overturning the results,” she said in a statement Saturday.
“I urge my colleagues from both parties to recognize this and join me in maintaining confidence in the Electoral College and our elections so that we ensure we have the continued trust of the American People.”
Last month the Electoral College confirmed Biden had beaten Donald Trump 306 votes to 232.
Biden’s victory far surpasses the threshold of 270 votes, meaning nearly 40 votes would need to be successfully challenged by Congress in order for the results to be overturned.
If Congress accepts that Biden has won at least 270 electoral votes on Wednesday, the president of the Senate — Vice President Mike Pence — will announce the results.
Lebo said he “expects” this will happen once they “deal with these objections.”
Once Congress accepts the votes, the next step is inauguration.
Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris are scheduled to be sworn into office on Jan. 20, and will begin their four-year tenure.