Democrats and even some Republicans are warning of a challenge, despite Boxer’s precedent. In an interview with CNN, Boxer said the circumstances are totally different this year, when Trump and his allies seek to overturn the outcome of a national election, than when she joined the Democratic representative from Ohio. of the time Stephanie Tubbs Jones to oppose the loss of Kerry. .
“Our intention was by no means to cancel the elections. Our intention was to focus on removing voters in Ohio, ”said the retired California Democrat, who said her objection was her proudest moment in the Senate. “They are talking about the vote that the presidency was stolen from Donald Trump. It’s not even a close comparison. ”
That hasn’t stopped Trump – who has been spreading baseless conspiracy theories to falsely claim he won the election – from pushing Congress to challenge the result next month. Just before Christmas, Trump welcomed House Republicans to the White House who have spearheaded the effort to oppose the Electoral College results, led by GOP Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama.
“I believe we have several senators, and the question is not if, but how many,” Brooks said last week.
Brooks said Republicans were preparing to oppose Biden’s victory in six states, which would force a dozen hours of debate in the House and Senate, turning Biden’s victory tally into a political circus .
GOP senator leaves door open to objections
In order to force a vote to challenge a state’s election results, however, a senator must join a member of Congress in writing to object to the results. McConnell, who acknowledged Biden’s victory, warned his conference not to join House GOP efforts and force the GOP Senate conference to hold a politically toxic vote on whether they side with Trump or not.
But Tuberville, who beat former Trump attorney general Jeff Sessions in the Alabama Republican primary, left the door open last week to objections to the constituency results. Tuberville’s comments prompted Trump to tweet several stories about the new Alabama senator potentially challenging McConnell and speak to him over the weekend.
“I spoke to a great gentleman, Tommy Tuberville, last night, and he’s so excited,” Trump told Rudy Giuliani during a brief call to Giuliani’s WABC radio show on December 20.
“He said, ‘You made me America’s most popular politician,’ Trump added. ” He is great. ”
If Tuberville or another senator joined the chamber’s objections, the two chambers would split up and debate each state’s objection for two hours before voting. Since Democrats control the House, the effort actually has no chance of success, and even in a Republican-controlled Senate, many Republicans have said there is no widespread fraud.
“In the Senate, he would fall like a hunting dog,” said South Dakota Senator John Thune, the second Republican in the Senate, last week. “I just don’t think it makes a lot of sense to put everyone through this when you know what the end result will be. ”
Previous objections failed without Senate support
The joint session to count the electoral college votes on January 6 will be chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, who attended Monday’s White House meeting with Trump and House Republicans, raising questions about how which he will manage to be in the awkward position of asserting Biden’s victory over his own presidential ticket.
This is the same position former Vice President Al Gore faced in 2001 following his minimal loss to Bush which amounted to a controversial Florida recount. During that vote, House Democrats protested Florida’s outcome, but no objections from the senator, and the effort died.
This is also what happened in 2017, when a group of House Democrats opposed Trump’s victory in several states, citing Russian electoral interference and voter suppression issues. . However, no senator joined the House members, and Biden – who chaired the session as Senate speaker – dismissed and dismissed the objections, certifying Trump as the winner.
“We were trying to draw attention to (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s efforts to undermine and sabotage the US election,” said Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin, one of the Democrats who raised an objection on the floor. in 2017. “There are certainly a lot of things. more evidence of Vladimir Putin’s cyber attacks on the DNC and the (Hillary) Clinton campaign and efforts to manipulate American public opinion through social media than there was fraud or corruption in the election of 2020. ”
House GOP leaders have cited past Democratic objections, including objections from Boxers and House Democrats in 2017, to justify challenging Biden’s victory next month.
“If Republicans have done it, this is clearly not the first time this has been done,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, who has yet to recognize Biden as president elect. “Every Republican president in the last three terms has been challenged by Democrats. ”
‘People wanted to strangle me’
In 2005, Boxer teamed up with Tubbs Jones to protest Bush’s victory in Ohio, which was the decisive state in Bush’s 2004 electoral victory over Kerry.
Since the Electoral Count Act was passed in 1887, this was only the second time that a protest forced both houses to vote to accept the outcome of a state’s constituency, according to the Congressional Research Service. The first involved a single “unfaithful” voter from North Carolina who voted in 1969 for George Wallace instead of Richard Nixon. This objection was also rejected by both chambers.
Boxer said Tubbs Jones, who died in 2008, convinced her to join the 2005 objection by showing her the issues that took place with the votes in Ohio, including hours of queuing at the polls, broken voting machines and high rejection rates for provisional ballots in African-American communities across the state.
“This objection does not have at its root the hope or even the suspicion of overturning the President’s victory,” Tubbs Jones told the House when the two houses parted ways for debate. “But it is a necessary, timely and appropriate opportunity to review and remedy the most precious process of our democracy. ”
In the Senate, Boxer’s Democratic colleagues spoke out in favor of resolving the voter suppression issues. But when it came time to vote, only Boxer voted to support the protest. She lost 74-1.
In the House, the vote was 267 to 31 against the objection, and Ohio’s votes were counted.
“It was one of my proudest moments, even though I was alone,” Boxer told CNN. “I was very unpopular that day in the Senate – people wanted to strangle me. ”
Within weeks of raising the Electoral College’s objection, Boxer and Tubbs Jones joined Sen. Hillary Clinton introduced new voting rights legislation, although it did not make progress in the Republican Senate.
“Come to think of it, I think we were so far-sighted because after that things got worse with the voter suppression,” Boxer said. “We had hoped that our position would pave the way for legislation, but we could never do it in the Republican Senate. We just couldn’t get him out. ”
CNN’s Manu Raju, Ali Zaslav, Daniella Diaz and Kaitlan Collins and Sarah Westwood contributed to this report.