Vice President Mike Pence’s office released a statement Saturday saying he “welcomes” Republican lawmakers who intend to “raise objections” when Congress meets on January 6 to certify the Electoral College vote for President-elect Joe Biden.
“Vice President Pence shares the concerns of millions of Americans about voter fraud and irregularities in the last election,” Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short said in a statement to The Hill. “The Vice President welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence before the Congress and the American people on January 6th.”
At least 140 Republican House members intend to object to certification on Wednesday, according to a brief filed by Republican Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert as part of a lawsuit against Pence that asked him to throw out the election results in key battleground states. That lawsuit was quickly dismissed by a judge on Friday hours after it was filed.
On the Senate side, 11 Republicans have joined Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley in stating their intention to oppose certification. The group includes Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy, Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, Indiana Sen. Mike Braun, Montana Sen. Steve Daines, Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn and for Republican senators-elect: Alabama’s Tommy Tuberville, Wyoming’s Cynthia Lummis, Kansas’s Roger Marshall, and Tennessee’s Bill Hagerty.
The Hill called Pence’s statement “the most extensive remark” the vice president’s office has made regarding the proceedings, over which Pence plays a mainly ceremonial role.
While the vice president has called for all “legal votes” to be counted, he has not echoed Trump’s claims that the election was “rigged.” (RELATED: Frank Luntz: Republicans May Lose Senate ‘Because Of What The President Is Doing Right Now’)
Efforts to overturn the election results are highly unlikely to succeed, but these objections do mean they will need to be debated in both chambers and be defeated by a majority of legislators in each. Biden currently leads in the Electoral College 306-232.