A coalition of seven Republican representatives announced their intent to abstain from challenging the certification of the presidential election results on Jan. 6 based on the results of state certifications.
Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, joined by Reps. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, Ken Buck of Colorado, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin, Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota, and Tom McClintock of California, released a joint statement on Sunday affirming the individual states’ authority to certify electors and evaluate the integrity of a particular election.
“There is one and only one path to victory for President Trump on January 6, 2021, and it depends on state legislatures certifying Trump electors in the states at issue, pursuant to state law and the U.S. Constitution, and based on a finding that votes lawfully cast in November were sufficient to produce a Trump victory,” the statement read. “If they believe there was fraud — and if they believe that such fraud affected the outcome of the election — they must, as a body, convene immediately and send us that information, along with certified electoral votes cast by a Trump slate of electors. Absent such action, there is not a constitutional role for Congress to change the outcome of any state’s vote.”
I am as outraged as anyone about the still-unanswered questions about the election. But the Constitution is clear:
States select electors. Congress does not.
— Rep. Chip Roy (@RepChipRoy) January 3, 2021
Citing the 12th Amendment of the Constitution, the representatives said it is not within congressional authority to “make value judgments” of election laws in particular states nor to disqualify electors selected by the states.
“Congress has one job here: to count electoral votes that have in fact been cast by any state, as designated by those authorized to do so under state law,” the representatives wrote.
“Of the six states as to which questions have been raised, five have legislatures that are controlled by Republicans, and they all have the power to send a new slate of electoral votes to Congress if they deem such action appropriate under state law. Unless that happens between now and January 6, 2021, Congress will have no authority to influence the outcome of the 2020 presidential election,” the statement continued.
While the GOP members acknowledged that election integrity is still a concern for many members of Congress and United States citizens, they also said it is up to the states to evaluate the electors.
“The people cannot trust a system that refuses to guarantee that only legal votes are cast to select its leaders. The elections held in at least six battleground states raise profound questions, and it is a legal, constitutional, and moral imperative that they be answered,” the statement continued. “But only the states have authority to appoint electors, in accordance with state law. Congress has only a narrow role in the presidential election process. Its job is to count the electors submitted by the states, not to determine which electors the states should have sent.”
Lastly, the representatives wrote that preserving the integrity of the Electoral College is of utmost importance to Republicans, who have heavily relied on it for presidential election victories in the past.
“If we perpetuate the notion that Congress may disregard certified electoral votes — based solely on its own assessment that one or more states mishandled the presidential election — we will be delegitimizing the very system that led Donald Trump to victory in 2016, and that could provide the only path to victory in 2024,” the statement noted.
Earlier in the week, a coalition of GOP senators, led by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, announced plans to object to the certification of the presidential election on Jan. 6 for Democratic President-elect Joe Biden. Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri also announced his objection to the certification, citing concerns over election integrity and voter fraud.