Chaos at Capitol as Congress attempts to certify votes

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By MIKE EDDLEMAN

On Tuesday, District 31 U.S. Rep. John Carter announced he would support the objection planned by an estimated 60 Republicans in the House and Senate during the Electoral College certification Wednesday.

But that certification was not completed by press time Wednesday afternoon as supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol building and it was locked down in the middle of the debate of those objections in both houses.

Just over 24 hours after Carter, R-Georgetown, announced his support for the objection in a press release and on social media, he called for peaceful protests.

“Peaceful protests are a fundamental right in the United States, but violence is absolutely unacceptable. Respect our law enforcement officers’ orders. Vacate the Capitol and let the process unfold. Anyone committing violent acts should be immediately arrested,” Carter said.

Protesters poured into the Capitol building, with images circulating of armed individuals occupying the two chambers and some Congressional offices.

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, who was the Senator who brought the objection – along with Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar – also called for protesters to do so peacefully on social media.

The certification process, which began around noon, was stopped when the objection was raised over the Electoral votes from Arizona. At that point the House and Senate took up the issue for debate separately, but roughly an hour into debate the Capitol was locked down.

In his Tweet Tuesday announcing his support for the objection, Carter said, “I do not take the decision to object to the Electoral Certification lightly. In fact, it is one of the most serious things I will do this year as the representative of the 31st District of Texas – stand up for the 74 million people who feel like they cannot trust their democracy. Over the last month, I have heard from thousands of my constituents that feel like their vote didn’t count, and feel like allegations of election irregularities were not sufficiently investigated or heard by the justice system. I want my constituents to know that I hear them, and I will fight to ensure that the results of this election are legal, accurate and representative of Americans’ votes.”

Carter’s office did not respond Tuesday or Wednesday morning to follow up questions seeking more specific details on how the election results should be verified as legitimate or legal, or what specifically the irregularities were he noted in his social media post.

The objection was not expected to result in a change of the Electoral Votes for Arizona or the certification of an Electoral majority for President-elect Joe Biden.

To overturn an election result, it would require Congress to disqualify enough electoral votes to drop Biden’s total below 270 from his current 306. Both chambers would have to vote in favor of disqualifying any votes from any state.

Organizations across the country spoke out early this week against the growing push to object to the certification.

“On Nov. 3 a record number of Americans voted. Their votes were counted and consistent with state law, in some cases, recounted. More than 50 legal challenges were heard, adjudicated, and resolved. Election results in all 50 states and the District of Columbia were certified and duly appointed electors have met and cast their votes for president and vice president. Efforts by some members of Congress to disregard certified election results in an effort to change the election outcome or to try a make a long-term political point undermines our democracy and the rule of law and will only result in further division across our nation,” said CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Thomas J. Donohue in a statement.

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The CEO of the League of Women Voters, Virginia Kase, shared similar sentiments on the certification process.

“In November, the American people turned out in record numbers to elect the next president of the United States, and the Electoral College confirmed the people’s will last month. The electors from each state have certified their results, and the role of Congress this week is to confirm that the votes sent are the ones the electors certified. Congress has no legal ability to change those results. 

“While the League believes the Electoral College should be abolished, it is our current system for electing the next president. All elected officials must respect our democracy, accept the outcome of the election, and affirm the will of the people.”

It was unclear at press time Wednesday when the certification process will resume and what will occur with the objection debate at that time. Check The Independent’s website for updated information as it becomes available.

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