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GOP Sen. Hawley Will Object To Electoral College Certification

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., seen here during a Dec. 16 hearing, has said he plans to object to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's victory during the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6.
Greg Nash
Pool/Getty Images
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., seen here during a Dec. 16 hearing, has said he plans to object to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's victory during the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., said Wednesday he plans to object during the Electoral College certification process when Congress convenes next week, a move that ensures a delay in the final step to mark President-elect Joe Biden's election victory.

"I cannot vote to certify the electoral college results on January 6 without raising the fact that some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws," Hawley said in a statement Wednesday morning.

Hawley alleged — without providing evidence — that there was an "unprecedented effort of mega corporations, including Facebook and Twitter, to interfere in this election" in support of Biden.

In his statement, Hawley called on Congress to investigate allegations of voter fraud and election irregularities. No credible evidence of such fraud has been provided by President Trump or his legal team.

Hawley is the first senator to announce publicly he will object to the results. That's significant because the rules dictate that for an objection to be considered, a member from the House and the Senate must lodge an objection in writing. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., has already said he will object to the results as well.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., had reportedly urged Republicans not to object during the joint session as it puts GOP lawmakers in the uncomfortable position of supporting an objection that will likely fail and forces them to go on the record as to whether or not they concur with allegations of election fraud.

Hawley's announcement paints a clearer picture of what the session on Jan. 6 will look like. Biden will still be certified as the election's winner, but it's now certain there will be a debate and vote in both chambers.

Here's what the process will look like: Both the House and Senate will retire to their own chambers to speak in favor or against the objection. According to the Congressional Research Service, that period should not take longer than two hours.

Each chamber then votes, with a simple majority needed to uphold the objection. Both the Senate and the House must agree to the objection for it to succeed, a requirement that makes any ultimate success on the objection unlikely given the Democrats' majority in the House.

This all stems from Trump's baseless claims about election fraud as it became clear voters won't grant him a second term.

Various lawsuits filed on behalf of his campaign and his allies in states he did not win were thrown out in court. Trump's attorney general at the time of the election, William Barr, has said the Justice Department found no evidence of widespread fraud in this year's election.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Barbara Sprunt is a producer on NPR's Washington desk, where she reports and produces breaking news and feature political content. She formerly produced the NPR Politics Podcast and got her start in radio at as an intern on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered and Tell Me More with Michel Martin. She is an alumnus of the Paul Miller Reporting Fellowship at the National Press Foundation. She is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania native.