Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday night that he welcomes efforts by Republican lawmakers to challenge Electoral College results in the upcoming congressional joint session on Jan. 6, when the votes are formally counted.
“Vice President Pence shares the concerns of millions of Americans about voter fraud and irregularities in the last election,” said Marc Short, the vice president’s chief of staff, said in a statement. “The vice president welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence before the Congress and the American people on January 6th.”
The statement came hours after Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, and 10 other GOP senators and senators-elect announced they will object to Joseph R. Biden’s Electoral College votes when Congress meets on Wednesday to count the votes. They’re demanding that Congress appoint an emergency election commission to conduct a 10-day audit of the results before Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.
Mr. Pence will preside over the joint session on Wednesday as president of the Senate, and is under increasing pressure to take unilateral action on behalf of President Trump to reject vote totals for President-elect Biden from contested battleground states. The vice president attended a strategy session at the White House with GOP lawmakers more than a week ago.
Mike Gwin, a spokesman for Mr. Biden, dismissed the GOP effort as a “stunt” that won’t change the outcome of the election. Mr. Biden received 306 electoral votes to Mr. Trump’s 232. A candidate needs 270 to win the presidency.
Democrats in Congress said the objections won’t help Mr. Trump overturn the election results.
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“Multiple courts and state legislatures have found that there is no evidence to support allegations of substantial fraud in the 2020 election,” said Sen. Mark Warner, Virginia Democrat.
“Continued efforts on the part of so many Republican senators to enable the undemocratic temper tantrum of a decisively defeated president only serve to undermine faith in the security and sanctity of our elections and represent everything our country’s Founders warned against. I urge my colleagues in the strongest possible terms to reconsider the likely consequences of their actions, for I fear they will do damage to our democracy and our global credibility that cannot be easily repaired.”