Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) announced Wednesday that he will formally object to the 2020 election results during the joint session on January 6th. Does it matter?
Yes, and no.
Strenuous Objections and Such
Sen. Hawley isn’t the only one to confirm formal objection to the certification of the results. Freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) announced on Christmas Eve that she would join Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL), and other representatives in objecting to the results.
Their objection announcements received little media play and for good reason – without a Senator agreeing to formally object, nothing happens. Enter, stage right, Sen. Josh Hawley joins the objection train.
Ok, so they object. No, no. They STRENUOUSLY object … or something. Does it mean anything.
Again, yes … and no. (the 12th Amendment)
First, there must be a written objection filed by at least one member of the House of Representatives and at least one member of the Senate for it to be heard and voted on. Hawley’s announcement, along with Boebert and Hice, checks that box so we push on to January 6th for the election certification vote and the hearing of the objection(s).
What are They Objecting To?
The ‘strenuous objectors’ aren’t contesting the entire electoral college vote. Each joint objection (one Senator and one Representative) is contesting the vote of a single state. Multiple objections may be filed challenging the accuracy of each individual state in question.
What Happens on January 6th?
In accordance with the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Electoral Count Act of 1887, and 3 U.S. Code § 15, the House and Senate meet in a joint session to vote on the certification of the election. Vice President Pence, in his role as President of the Senate, will unseal the individual state certificates of results, they will be tallied and then objections, if any, are heard.
If there are no objections, the vote is certified and the next President and Vice President are officially named.
If there are one or more properly filed objections, the joint session suspends and both the House and Senate hold separate sessions for a maximum of two hours. During that time, members have 5 minutes to speak before the objection(s) is/are voted up or down by a simple majority. Both the House and Senate must vote to uphold an objection in order for it to succeed (the only two times that objections were upheld occurred in 1800 and 1824). If either the House or Senate fails to uphold the objection, it is discarded.
After the vote on the objections is conducted, the joint session resumes. If an objection was upheld by both houses, that state’s votes are not certified and do not count in the electoral tally.
The remaining state’s votes are tallied, Congress certifies the vote, and the President-elect and Vice President-elect are officially named.
If the exclusion of one or more state’s results causes an electoral vote tie, the House of Representatives chooses the President and the Senate chooses the Vice President.
The House and Senate votes are not a simple majority vote by all members. Instead, each state gets a single vote. In the House, 26 states are lead by Republican delegations while 23 are lead by Democrats. Philadelphia is a toss-up. The House would likely choose a Republican President and the Republican-led Senate would likely choose a Republican as Vice President.
If a state’s votes are excluded from the results, Supreme Court cases may arise challenging the Congressional action. This could delay the seating of the named President beyond the Constitutionally-mandated date of January 20th. If that happens, the Speaker of the House becomes President of the United States until the disputes are settled in the Supreme Court and Congress is able to complete its duty and seat a President.
So, What Does Hawley’s Objection Mean?
Likely, little more than a symbolic move meant to show voters that Republicans aren’t really, really squishy – just kinda’ squishy.
The Democrat-majority House of Representatives will vote down any and all objections that stand in the way to seating Joe Biden on January 20. It really doesn’t matter how the Senate votes, Nancy Pelosi and her tribe will be able to end this 2-hour delay with a simple majority vote.
Read more articles by R. Mitchell HERE.
Editor’s note: This article was modified after publication to add Rep. Mo Brooks to the list of Reps confirming they will object to at least one state’s results.
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