Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) elaborated on his Electoral College challenge when the Joint Session of Congress convenes on Jan. 6, saying that it is contingent on whether an emergency audit is performed to determine whether allegations of fraud during the Nov. 3 election are valid.
Cruz and 11 other Republican senators announced they would challenge the electoral results, joining dozens of House lawmakers in their bid. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) previously announced he would join the GOP representatives, becoming the first senator to make the announcement.
“I think we in Congress have an obligation to do something about that; we have an obligation to protect the integrity of the democratic system,” he told Fox Business on Sunday, referring to numerous allegations of election fraud and irregularities. The Republican senator noted that numerous Americans do not believe the Nov. 3 presidential election results were valid as Trump and his team have called for courts and state legislatures to overturn key states’ electoral results.
Cruz remarked that the move to object to the certification of the electoral results is designed to “force the appointment of an emergency electoral commission to perform an emergency audit of the election results to assess these claims of fraud … we can do it in 10 days before the inauguration.”
“We have an obligation to the voters,” he said Sunday, adding that senators “have an obligation to the Constitution to ensure that this election was lawful.”
A senator and a representative are needed to challenge states’ electoral votes. Then, a two-hour debate will be held on each state before a simple majority vote is held on whether to keep or overturn the states’ electoral vote, although some legal experts have speculated that Vice President Mike Pence, who is the president of the Senate during the Joint Session, can reject slates of electors.
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) became the first lawmaker in either the House or Senate to announce he would challenge battleground states’ electoral votes. In November, he told The Epoch Times that the Constitution gives Congress the “ultimate say over whether to accept or reject” electoral votes for a state.
But the move is not supported by all Republican lawmakers. The Senate’s No. 2 Republican, Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), told reporters in December that their effort would most likely fail, while Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said over the past weekend the objection is an “egregious ploy.”
Democratic House members and senators also criticized the bid, with some claiming it’s tantamount to sedition or treason—although the challenge during the joint session is supported by the Constitution. Democratic lawmakers had previously objected to states’ electoral votes in prior elections, including the 2004 contest between John Kerry and former President George W. Bush.
Other than Romney, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) announced on Saturday they would vote against attempts to challenge states’ election results.