Photo courtesy of CSPAN
*This article has been updated to include new information
Following the surreal events of Wednesday afternoon as protestors breached the U.S. Capitol in an effort to delay the process of certifying the Electoral College vote, Congress reconvened last night to solidify President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
LIVE –> Joint Session of Congress: #ElectoralCollege Vote Certification https://t.co/jBs6cQm0vx https://t.co/83TkgenxwQ
— CSPAN (@cspan) January 6, 2021
With Vice-President Mike Pence presiding, the Senate voted 93-6 against a challenge to the election results from the state of Arizona with Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith representing one of the six ‘yay’ votes. The senator issued the following statement explaining her position.
“The American democratic process is working despite the unacceptable violence and destruction at the U.S. Capitol today. The mobs will not stop the Senate from fulfilling its constitutional duty.
“I promised to represent the people of Mississippi and the certification process gives me an opportunity to use my vote to voice their concerns. I have followed the proceedings after the 2020 presidential election and heard from many Mississippians who are troubled by the conduct of the election in various states and the eventual outcome.
“I, along with my constituents, are alarmed with the erosion of integrity of the electoral process. The people I represent do not believe the presidential election was constitutional and cannot accept the Electoral College decision; therefore, I cannot in good conscience support certification.
“I firmly believe in our Constitution, the rule of law, and the importance of full faith in the integrity of our elections. We, as a nation, must do everything we can to protect and restore confidence in the electoral process.”
Hyde-Smith also voted to object to the results from Pennsylvania, a challenge that failed by a 92-7 margin.
Senator Roger Wicker voted to certify the results stating that “Congress cannot — and should not — get into the business of deciding the results of our elections” while noting that the challenges have run their course to no avail.
“Today I will vote to accept the results of the December 14 Electoral College vote, which resulted in the election of Joe Biden as President. I am disappointed in the outcome of the 2020 election. I have been privileged to work with President Trump during his successful four-year term, I was glad to earn his endorsement in 2018, and I was honored to serve as a Co-Chairman of his state campaign.
“However, our campaign lost a close election, and it is time to acknowledge that. The President’s own Attorney General, his head of election security, and a number of Trump-appointed, conservative federal judges all have found that, despite widespread allegations of fraud, there simply was not enough evidence to change the outcome of the election in any state. This is also the conclusion of every Republican Secretary of Defense from the past two decades. As they wrote recently, ‘the time for the formal counting of the electoral college votes, as prescribed in the Constitution and statute, has arrived.’
Congress cannot — and should not — get into the business of deciding the results of our elections. Under the Constitution and federal law, Congress’s power is limited to counting electoral votes duly submitted by the states. Anything further would not be compatible with our Constitution or the conservative principles of limited government that I have sworn to defend.
I also fear any attempt by Congress to overturn state election results would empower national Democrats to hasten the end of the Electoral College, which preserves a voice for smaller states like Mississippi in our national elections. Without the Electoral College, large, liberal states like New York and California would likely determine the direction of our republic to its detriment.
“I know many of my fellow Mississippians will disagree with my decision, and I share their commitment to making sure our elections are fair. But I must vote according to my conscience, my oath of office, and my understanding of the rule of law. I hope that with the start of a new Congress, we can take steps to restore faith in America’s electoral system,” Senator Wicker said.
In the House, Mississippi Congressman Steven Palazzo previously indicated that he will vote to object to the results. Joining in in the overnight vote were Congressmen Trent Kelly and Michael Guest. Congressmen Bennie Thompson voted to certify the results.
Challenges to the results in both Arizona and Pennsylvania failed in the Democrat-controlled House.
President-elect Biden is set to inaugurated on January 20th.
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