Ahead of Wednesday’s Electoral College certification, area legislators are mixed on whether they'll support state-certified election results to confirm Joe Biden as the next U.S. president.
There are now more than 140 Republican representatives and at least 11 Republican senators who have said they plan to object during the certification process. The effort to keep President Donald Trump in office is being led in part by U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, of Missouri.
Some argued it was their duty to object, but other lawmakers said they had a duty to uphold the results.
According to a consensus of local, state and federal election officials, there is no evidence of fraud that could change the election outcome. Officials who have control over elections in their states have certified those results as valid. And of the more than 50 lawsuits the president and his allies have filed challenging results, including two at the U.S. Supreme Court, nearly all have been dismissed or dropped.
Hawley on Dec. 30 became the first senator to announce that he will object during the Electoral College certification process “to highlight the failure of some states, including notably Pennsylvania, to follow their own election laws, as well as the unprecedented interference of big tech monopolies in the election.” He also said Democrats made objections in the 2004 and 2016 presidential elections.
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, the fourth-highest ranking Republican in the Senate, was the first GOP member in Missouri to acknowledge Biden as president-elect after the Democrat's victory in November. The senator, who chairs the bipartisan committee overseeing the presidential inauguration, has said he will not join the objection effort.
"I expect there to be a vigorous debate regarding any state where the electors are challenged by at least one House member and one senator," he said in a statement in late December. "As one of the four members of Congress required to participate in the joint session, I will not be joining in any objection."
U.S. Rep. Billy Long, of the 7th District, is teaming up with several other Missouri representatives to object. Long released a statement with Reps. Jason Smith, of the 8th District, Sam Graves, of the 6th District, and Vicky Hartzler, of the 4th District, calling on other leaders to object.
“We have joined lawsuits, called for a special counsel and demanded accountability and integrity; now we finally get to cast our vote,” the statement says. “We have no illusions about the outcome; at the end of the day, this is still Nancy Pelosi's House. Our only hope is that more will join us — that more will value protecting the vote of every American living in their state as much as we do fighting for yours.”
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran disagrees with objecting to the certification of Biden as president.
“Every indication that I know of is that Joe Biden is the president-elect,” Moran said on Nov. 24 during a news conference with reporters at Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka.
“We cannot afford to spend the next four years divided over who won the election or denying the legitimacy of the president, as was the case for President Trump throughout his presidency,” he said in a statement.
But newly elected U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall, who won his seat in November, said he supports objection and debate.
“We must hold accountable any state that disregarded the law or our Constitution,” he said on Twitter. “The Electoral College is only as strong as the states who are entrusted to follow election laws.”
U.S. Rep. Jake LaTurner, also newly elected to his position, released a joint statement with Republican Reps. Tracey Mann, of Kansas’ 1st District, and Ron Estes, of the 4th District, saying they plan to object to certain states during the certification process.
"It is the duty of Congress to certify electors for the presidential election based on the laws passed by state legislators," they said. "With several states facing serious allegations of voter fraud and violations of their own state laws, the Kansas Republican delegation in the House will object to the certification of electors in multiple states on Jan. 6. This action is not taken lightly and comes after extensive study and research. Kansans deserve to know that all legal, and only legal, votes were counted."
In a statement released Tuesday, U.S. Sen. James Inhofe said he will not challenge the Electoral College vote because it would violate his oath of office.
“My job on Wednesday is clear, and there are only two things I am permitted to do under the Constitution: ensure the electors are properly certified and count the electoral votes, even when I disagree with the outcome," he said.
But U.S. Sen. James Lankford has joined a group of senators planning to propose an election commission to review the Nov. 3 election process.
He said in a statement there have been “reports of problems with voting machines, people voting twice, nonresidents voting in a state or people mysteriously voting after their death months or years before.”
U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, of the 2nd District, recently signed an amicus brief supporting the Texas attorney general’s lawsuit challenging the results of the presidential election in some states. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up that lawsuit.
“The American people must have faith in our election system and deserve certainty regarding the 2020 elections,” Mullin said in a statement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.