Accepting the Electoral College Vote, Or Not

(John Hinderaker) Senator Josh Hawley has said that he will vote against accepting the reported Electoral College vote in the joint session of Congress next week, and a number of Republican House members will do the same. Some reports say that 140 or more GOP House members will vote to reject the Electoral College tally in one or more states. As I understand it, if there are objections in both houses, the House and Senate are required to retire separately to debate the grounds for the objections, which will give Republicans an opportunity to air their voter fraud grievances.

Democrats have gone ballistic over this news, with “sedition” being one of their milder characterizations of Republican skepticism of official election results. Of course, it was not always so. In the past, Democrats have objected to Electoral College results on the flimsiest possible grounds. RedState has a good summary. In 2001, 2005 and 2017, Democratic Representatives and, in 2005, Senators voted against accepting the Electoral College tally. Thus, every Republican president since George H. W. Bush has seen Democrats vote against accepting the legitimacy of his election.

2005 is the best analogy. In that year, George W. Bush was re-elected rather easily over John Kerry, but the Democrats focused their rage on Ohio. They alleged that Bush’s re-election was illegitimate, mostly because the actual election results were different from certain exit polls, and also because of a ridiculous conspiracy theory involving Diebold voting machines. The vote in Ohio wasn’t even close; nevertheless, Democrats in both the House and Senate voted against accepting it.

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