On Wednesday, January 6, I plan to join more than 100 representatives and at least 12 senators by objecting to electors from several states where voting rules and procedures were drastically changed at the last minute. Those irregularities have cast doubts in the hearts of many New Mexicans I represent. It is my duty to give those constituents a voice and to raise their concerns to the fullest extent my office allows. By objecting to certain electors on Wednesday, I can help ensure all Americans have confidence in the integrity and fairness of future elections.
With so much disingenuous reporting and misinformation on this process and what it means, I want to take this opportunity to set the record straight.
Myth: Objecting to electors by the House and Senate is unprecedented.
Fact: While the extent of irregularities in the 2020 election are historic, the only thing unprecedented about Wednesday’s actions is that Republicans are now raising the objections. Democrat Members of Congress did so in 1969, 2001, 2005, and 2017. In 1969 and 2001 the House and Senate both voted on the questions raised about the 1968 and 2000 presidential elections.
Myth: This is “sedition” and “undermines our democracy.”
Fact: The Constitution requires a Joint Session of Congress (the House and the Senate together) assemble to count the electoral votes sent to Washington, DC from each state. The law further requires those votes be ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified.’
With the unprecedented allegations related to the arbitrary changes in several states, there is a question as to whether or not electors from those states meet those statutory requirements. Congress has a responsibility to debate that question. That is exactly the Constitutional process the objections I am signing onto will allow for.
Myth: Congress has no role in how states conduct their elections.
Fact: The Constitution gives state legislatures — not state executives or judges — the authority to determine the way their state selects presidential electors. Changing election rules and regulations without approval of those legislatures is undemocratic and potentially unconstitutional. There is no question several states made such changes either by executive fiat or judicial edict, and that is the Constitutional basis for my objections.
Myth: Members of Congress have no business objecting to votes from other states.
Fact: The objections I will make on Thursday are not to all electors from every state, but to specific electors from states in which irregularities are alleged. In those states (such as Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin), state executives took last minute unilateral actions — without approval by their state legislatures — to change voting rules and procedures with regard to vote-by-mail deadlines, signature and identity and verification requirements, or other ballot handling practices.
Myth: This will overturn the election.
Fact: While this effort is important, it is unlikely to succeed and the announced results will stand. My hope is that elevating this debate to the highest and final level the Constitution provides for will result in a continued discussion of our electoral process. Action must be taken to restore Americans’ faith in the fairness of our elections and the legitimacy of our institutions.