A Republican member of Congress is preparing a challenge to the Electoral College returns when Congress counts the votes next month.
Rep. Mo Brooks, a GOP lawmaker representing Alabama’s 5th Congressional District, believes the election was “stolen” from President Trump and confirmed to Politico that he has had “indirect communication” with some senators about his longshot bid to contest the result.
At least one lawmaker in each chamber needs to object on Jan. 6 when the vote-counting process takes place for the joint session of Congress to split up and consider their challenges separately.
“In my judgment, if only lawful votes by eligible American citizens were cast, Donald Trump won the Electoral College by a significant margin, and Congress’s certification should reflect that,” Brooks said. “This election was stolen by the socialists engaging in extraordinary voter fraud and election theft measures.”
As it stands now, President-elect Joe Biden stands to collect 306 Electoral College votes, 36 more than is needed to win the White House. Trump has 232 electoral votes.
Trump refuses to concede the race, and as states work to certify their results, his legal team and allies have engaged in a series of largely unsuccessful legal challenges. They are also banking on GOP-led state legislatures in battleground states such as Pennsylvania that went for Biden to select electors who would cast their Electoral College votes for Trump because of what they claim to be a flawed popular vote.
The Electoral College meets on Dec. 14, and on Jan. 6, days after the new Congress is sworn in, the House and Senate will hold a joint session on the official certification date. The objecting members of Congress must issue their decisions in writing, and an explanation is required, although there are no guidelines as to the level of specificity required.
Even if Brooks is able to convince a Republican senator to join his cause, there will be an uphill battle to convince both chambers to exclude the contested votes, particularly with the House set to be in Democratic control.
Democrats tried this tactic in 2001 and in 2017 — when Al Gore and Hillary Clinton, respectively, lost the Electoral College vote but won the popular vote. In both years, Democratic House members objected to the certification, but no senators joined them. Brooks said he would still proceed with his objection, even if he is unable to find a Senate ally.