Members of Congress officially certified the electoral votes to make Donald Trump the next president of the United States, but not before Democrats objected as tallies for Trump’s electoral victories were read out.
Two senators and two House members took turns reading the electoral vote tallies from each state to Friday’s joint session of Congress.
Starting with the first – Alabama – Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts rose to file an objection over the state’s votes, claiming the state’s electoral vote was marred by Russia’s interference in the election and voter suppression tactics.
“The electoral votes were not, under all of the known circumstances, regularly given, and that the electors were not lawfully certified, especially given the confirmed and illegal activities engaged by the government of Russia designed to interfere with our election and the widespread violations of the Voting Rights Act that unlawfully suppressed thousands of votes in the State of Alabama,” McGovern said over Republican boos.
Vice President Joe Biden shut down his objection, reminding McGovern that he was out of order and that debate is not allowed during a joint session.
Under congressional rules, an objection to a state’s vote tally must be produced in writing, and signed by a member of the House and the Senate. If those requirements were met, the joint session would have been immediately adjourned and the House and Senate would have separately convened to vote on whether to sustain the objection.
But no senators agreed to participate, despite efforts from House Democrats to convince them, deciding the show of dissent was a waste of time.
“The objection cannot be entertained,” Biden said, when McGovern told him the objection had a House member’s signature but not one from a senator.
McGovern’s protests were followed by similar demonstrations against the votes for Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Two brand new members of the House – Jamie Raskin of Maryland and Pramila Jayapal of Washington – joined in, challenging the votes from Florida and Georgia, respectively.