At least six North Carolina Republicans on Capitol Hill say they will object when Congress counts the Electoral College votes Wednesday.
So far, Reps. Dan Bishop, Ted Budd, Madison Cawthorn, Richard Hudson, Greg Murphy, and David Rouzer have announced plans to object.
They will join potentially more than 100 of their Republican colleagues in the U.S. House in doing so, according to a tally by the Associated Press.
President Donald Trump has been egging the Republicans on, viewing this as a last chance to overturn the election results.
States across the country have already each certified their election results, granting Joe Biden 306 Electoral College votes. He needed 270 to secure the keys to the White House. He will be sworn in on Jan. 20.
The Electoral College vote count is typically a ceremonial affair, but this year it could drag on for hours - potentially into Thursday.
If a House and Senate lawmaker together object to a state’s results, each chamber then has to separately debate and consider the objection. However, with Democrats controlling the House and several Republicans in the Senate signaling they do not plan to embrace the objections, it is unlikely any electoral votes will be rejected.
For the Republicans planning to object, much of their ire is focused at a series of swing states that President Trump lost in November.
In an interview, Cawthorn, a newly sworn-in freshman Republican representing North Carolina’s 11th District, said his objection is not about being on the side of the president. “I’m here to say that there were unconstitutional rules changes inside these states and that is what I'm here to investigate, and try to have these electors thrown out because of that,” he said.
“Because the Democrats’ campaign of litigation has tainted some states’ elections, I will join in objections to those states’ electors,” said Bishop, R-9th District, in a statement. “I consider this to be an obligation of utmost gravity, predicated on my oath to defend the Constitution.”
Democrats are condemning this Republican effort, saying it undermines public trust in democracy and the electoral system.
Rep. Kathy Manning, D-6th District, called President Trump and the Republicans objecting to the election results “poor losers.”
“I also think it’s people putting their own personal ambitions and desire to get before the camera ahead of patriotism to this country,” she said.
Two North Carolina House Republicans - Reps. Virginia Foxx and Patrick McHenry - have not announced their plans for Wednesday.
On the Senate side, a spokesperson for Sen. Richard Burr said he “will be voting to certify the presidential election results.” Sen. Thom Tillis’s office did not respond to a request for guidance on his plans. Both North Carolina senators are Republicans.
North Carolina’s Electoral Votes
For Republicans, one of their objections to the Electoral College count focuses on how election rules were made in some states. They argue that election rule changes not made by state legislators are unconstitutional.
“The fact that executive officials and judges in several states usurped the legislative power to rewrite election law from thin air is at best troubling and at worst seditious,” wrote Rep. Murphy, R-3rd District, in a statement. Murphy is among those slated to object Wednesday.
But what about North Carolina then? Ahead of the November election, the North Carolina State Board of Elections - not the legislature - extended the state’s deadline for when mail-in ballots could be received as part of a legal settlement.
The U.S. Supreme Court allowed the date change to stand, despite a request from North Carolina Republican legislative leaders to intervene.
So based on the Republican argument, does that mean they should also be objecting to North Carolina’s results?
“We did push the date out further, which in my opinion has some constitutional issues because that was not done by the legislature,” Murphy said. “I have considered North Carolina, but I’ve looked at where it was most egregious - most egregious against the Constitution - and North Carolina just doesn’t pass that sniff test.”
Unlike the states expected to be challenged by Republicans, President Trump won North Carolina.