A Republican says he will be the first senator to oppose when Congress certifies U.S. President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory next week.
Josh Hawley, of Missouri, said he had problems with electoral integrity, despite the lack of evidence of widespread fraud.
A group of Republicans in the lower house of Congress, the House of Representatives, are also considering challenging the election results.
But objections shouldn’t change the outcome.
The US Electoral College – which confirms the November presidential election result by awarding points to every state won by the two White House rivals – cemented Mr Biden’s victory over Donald Trump earlier this month by 306-232.
These votes must be confirmed by Congress on January 6. Inauguration day, when the new Democratic president and vice-president are sworn in, will take place on January 20.
Since losing the election, Mr. Trump has repeatedly alleged systemic electoral fraud without justification. The Republican president’s legal efforts to reverse the results were dismissed by the courts.
What did Hawley say?
Mr Hawley said he could not vote to certify election results “without mentioning the fact that some states, particularly Pennsylvania, did not follow their own national election laws”.
“At the very least, Congress should investigate allegations of electoral fraud and adopt measures to ensure the integrity of our elections. But so far Congress has failed to act.
Mr. Hawley – a first-term senator with alleged presidential ambitions – did not specify any election fraud that could have changed the end result.
Meanwhile, Walmart was forced to issue an apology after the company’s account tweeted that Mr. Hawley was a “sore loser.”
The retail giant deleted the tweet and said it was posted in error by a member of its social media team.
Mr Hawley tweeted to the supermarket chain, “Now that you’ve insulted 75 million Americans, are you at least going to apologize for using forced labor?” ”
So what will happen when Congress meets?
Objections to the electoral count that are approved by a member of the House and a member of the Senate must be considered by lawmakers in a two-hour debate, followed by a vote.
But for a state’s electoral votes to be rejected, a majority in both chambers must support the objection. This scenario is considered nearly impossible since Democrats hold a majority in the House and some Republicans in the Senate have already said they will not challenge the results.
But Congressman Mo Brooks, a Republican from Alabama, has vowed to oppose the House, which means the Jan.6 debate and vote is virtually guaranteed.
What did other Republicans say?
Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell has urged members of his party to avoid forcing lawmakers to a politically embarrassing loyalty test to support the president or voters.
Mr McConnell told Republicans in a private call earlier this month that such a vote would be “terrible.”
Another prominent Republican, John Thune, also said such a vote “would fall like a hound.”
He warned that it wouldn’t make sense as the “end result” was obvious.
How did Biden’s camp react?
Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki called Mr Hawley’s decision to address reporters as “antics.”
“The American people spoke in this election and 81 million people voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris,” she said.
“Congress will certify the election results as they do every four years. ”