A group of Republican senators led by Ted Cruz intends to challenge Joe Biden's victory in the presidential election during the vote, when the Electoral College results will be summed up in Congress on January 6. This is reported by Reuters.
Cruz’s effort is in defiance of Senate Republican leaders, who have argued that the Senate’s role in certifying the election is largely ceremonial and had been looking to avoid an extended debate on the floor about the outcome.
In a statement, Cruz, the U.S. senator from Texas, and the other 10 senators said they intend to vote to reject electors from states that have been at the center of President Donald Trump’s unproven assertions of election fraud. They said Congress should immediately appoint a commission to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of election results in those 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,” they said.
It was not immediately clear which states would be subject to the proposed audit, Cruz’s office said.
Biden beat Trump by a 306-232 margin in the Electoral College.
Under the Electoral College system, “electoral votes” are allotted to states and the District of Columbia based on their congressional representation.
Trump has been encouraging Republicans to prevent Biden from taking office, although there is no viable mechanism for them to do so.
Legal challenges by Trump and his allies in the courts to overturn the election results have met with resounding failure. On Friday, a federal judge threw out a lawsuit brought by Representative Louie Gohmert that sought to allow Vice President Mike Pence, who presides over the Congressional tally, to declare Trump the victor on Jan. 6.
Pence’s chief of staff, Marc Short, said in a statement on Saturday that lawmakers have the right to raise their objections.
“The Vice President welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence before the Congress and the American people on Jan. 6,” Short said.
The effort by Cruz and other Republicans comes days after Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri became the first sitting member of the Senate to announce he would challenge the election result. A number of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives also plan on contesting the vote tally.