Mike Pence ‘welcomes’ Republicans’ plan to 'raise objections' to Electoral College results, demand audit

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, speaks about Operation Warp Speed with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden at the White House on November 13, 2020, in Washington, D.C.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, speaks about Operation Warp Speed with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden at the White House on November 13, 2020, in Washington, D.C. | U.S. Vice President Mike Pence

Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday night he shares the concerns about voter fraud and irregularities in the presidential election and welcomes Republican lawmakers’ plan to raise objections to the Jan. 6 certification of results without an audit by an electoral commission.

“Vice President Pence shares the concerns of millions of Americans about voter fraud and irregularities in the last election,” Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, said in a statement to The Hill.

“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 January 6th,” Short added.

Led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a group of 11 GOP lawmakers are saying the Nov. 3 election “featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud and illegal conduct,” according to Fox News.

Joe Biden, a Democrat, is scheduled to be inaugurated as president on Jan. 20. President Donald Trump has not conceded the Nov. 3 election.

The group comprises Sens. Ron Johnson from Wisconsin, James Lankford from Oklahoma, Steve Daines from Montana, John Kennedy from Louisiana, Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee, and Mike Braun from Indiana, and Sens.-elect Cynthia Lummis from Wyoming, Roger Marshall from Kansas, Bill Hagerty from Tennessee, and Tommy Tuberville from Alabama.

“America is a Republic whose leaders are chosen in democratic elections. Those elections, in turn, must comply with the Constitution and with federal and state law,” Cruz and the senators wrote in a joint statement.

“When the voters fairly decide an election, pursuant to the rule of law, the losing candidate should acknowledge and respect the legitimacy of that election. And, if the voters choose to elect a new office-holder, our Nation should have a peaceful transfer of power. The election of 2020, like the election of 2016, was hard-fought and, in many swing states, narrowly decided. The 2020 election, however, featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations, and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities,” the lawmakers said in the statement.

"Voter fraud has posed a persistent challenge in our elections, although its breadth and scope are disputed. By any measure, the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes. ... "Ideally, the courts would have heard evidence and resolved these claims of serious election fraud. Twice, the Supreme Court had the opportunity to do so; twice, the Court declined."

They added, “Accordingly, we intend to vote on January 6 to reject the electors from disputed states as not ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified’ (the statutory requisite), unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed.”

The senators noted that Democrats have also objected to election results in 1969, 2001, 2005, and 2019. “And, in both 1969 and 2005, a Democratic Senator joined with a Democratic House Member in forcing votes in both houses on whether to accept the presidential electors being challenged.”

In a separate statement, Blackburn and Hagerty said, “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. Protecting the integrity of the electoral process is paramount to preserving trust and legitimacy in the final outcome.”

The effort is not expected to succeed since Democrats control the House, and several Republican senators have said they would oppose any objections. 

The Republican lawmaker said in their joint statement that 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. 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. We owe that to the People," they contend. 

Pence will preside over the joint session on Wednesday as president of the Senate, but his role is largely ceremonial. 

More votes were counted in the 2020 presidential election than any other in U.S. history. Former Vice President Joe Biden got over 80 million votes, the most votes for any presidential candidate, to President Trump’s 74 million, the second-most votes in an election. Their totals also broke the record of votes cast for former President Barack Obama, who received 69.5 million votes in 2008.

After The Associated Press and other media outlets declared Biden the winner of the 2020 presidential election in November, the Republican National Committee and Trump campaign called for recounts, vote audits and signature checks. The RNC, Trump campaign and other individuals also filed lawsuits in six battleground states asking courts to allow evidence to be heard but the courts declined. 

Biden won 306 electoral votes compared with Trump’s 232.

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