GOP lawmakers object to Arizona electors, launching futile bid to undo Biden’s victory

GOP lawmakers object to Arizona electors, launching futile bid to undo Biden’s victory

Republican lawmakers on Wednesday afternoon issued their first challenge to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, objecting to Arizona’s electoral vote count.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) formally made the objection at the outset of the joint session of Congress, after lawmakers approved the electoral vote counts of Alabama and Alaska, states won by President Donald Trump, without objection.

The House and Senate will now participate in no more than two hours of debate on the Arizona objection in each chamber.

Several House Republicans and roughly a dozen senators have announced plans to object to individual states’ electoral vote counts.

Their effort has virtually no chance of success, and Vice President Mike Pence — who is presiding over the proceedings in a largely ceremonial role — said in a letter to lawmakers that he did not believe he had the power to “reject electoral votes unilaterally.”

Trump has publicly pressured Republican lawmakers and Pence to help him reverse the election’s outcome during the proceedings on Wednesday.

But as the Senate began debate on the Arizona objection, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell fiercely criticized the planned challenges by some of his Republican colleagues, as well as Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud.

“We’re debating a step that has never been taken in American history: Whether Congress should overrule the voters and overturn a presidential election,” McConnell said. “I’ve served 36 years in the Senate. This will be the most important vote I’ve ever cast.”

Members of Congress, McConnell argued, “cannot simply declare ourselves a national board of elections on steroids.”

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