GOP targets Arizona for first objection in Electoral College certification

(The Center Square) – As expected, Republican lawmakers in Congress filed a written objection Wednesday over Arizona’s electoral votes in the presidential election.

The Joint Session of Congress was called to order by Vice President Mike Pence shortly after 1 p.m. EST Wednesday, and the electoral votes for either President Donald Trump or President-elect Joe Biden were to be certified by state in alphabetical order.

There were no objections over the first two states, Alabama and Alaska, which Trump won. The objection over Arizona was filed by U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., and signed by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Biden edged Trump by fewer than 11,000 votes, or three-tenths of a percent, in Arizona to pick up the state’s 11 electoral votes.

The objection stated that “not under all of the known circumstances” that the state’s electoral votes were regularly given.

Several GOP legislators previously have said they would file objections over Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said those three states were guaranteed, and objections also could be filed in Michigan, Nevada and Wisconsin.

A dozen Senate Republicans and at least 140 House Republicans have said they will object. Individual states last month certified their Electoral College votes, which showed Biden finishing with 306 votes to Trump’s 232. A minimum of 270 is required.

The Constitution requires both chambers of Congress to meet before the inauguration to count the electoral votes of each state. While in the past it has been a purely ceremonial event, several GOP legislators signed a letter pledging to object unless Congress agreed to investigate election results.

If a written objection is made regarding any state by one member of the House and one member of the Senate, members will adjourn to their separate chambers for up to two hours of debate. Statements from the floor are limited to five minutes during the debate.

Unless both the House and Senate vote to overturn the count for the state in question, the objection is rejected and the process begins again with the next state.

It is difficult to see any objections succeeding in the Democratic-controlled House, and several Republicans in the Senate have asked their colleagues not to object, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who acknowledged Biden as the winner.

Without mentioning Trump by name, Pence said he does not have authority under the Constitution to refuse to accept the certification of any state’s certification.

* This article was originally published here

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