Virginia’s Republican Congressmen Vote Against Certifying Election

Supporters of President Donald Trump surround the U.S. Capitol following a rally on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathered in the nation's capital today to protest the ratification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory over President Trump in the 2020 election. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

By Brian Carlton

January 7, 2021

The four representatives opposed accepting electoral votes from three states. That didn’t change anything, however, as Joe Biden still won.

WASHINGTON DC-Well, it happened just as expected. When the time came to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral college win, four of Virginia’s lawmakers were among those who opposed it. 

At 3:41 am Thursday morning, Congress officially certified the electoral votes from the 2020 election. Everyone in the chamber acknowledged Biden won and that he’ll take over later this month as president. But before that took place, Congress went through a lengthy process. Starting just after 8 p.m., certification normally takes 30 minutes to an hour. Instead, it took seven hours, as House members challenged votes from Wisconsin, Georgia and Pennsylvania. Virginia’s four Republican representatives were part of that opposition each time.

It wasn’t unexpected. In fact, Morgan Griffith, Bob Good, Ben Cline and Rob Wittman had said for days they planned to oppose the results. Strangely, however, despite weeks of questioning Virginia’s results, they didn’t say anything when the Commonwealth’s votes were counted. 

“Based on constitutional concerns, I have joined several of my Republican colleagues in objecting to electors from certain states selected last November,” Ben Cline wrote in a statement. “Each of us will give our own reasons for doing so. And our objections are consistent with our Oath of Office.” 

As of Wednesday night, Cline hadn’t clarified those constitutional concerns. 

For newly-seated Bob Good, the reasoning behind his opposition was pretty clear.  

“The American people have voiced their concerns about the unprecedented volume of mail-in voting and violations of longstanding state laws that may have resulted in fraud in the 2020 general election,” Good said in a statement. 

But again, it’s worth noting that Virginia significantly increased mail-in voting options this past year as well. However, Good didn’t object to the Commonwealth’s electoral votes being certified. 

RELATED: 5 Things You Need to Know About Early Voting in Virginia

Vote Delayed Several Hours

Originally, the vote was scheduled to take place Wednesday afternoon, but that got pushed back. A group of right-wing extremists stormed the US Capitol Wednesday, injuring police and taking control of the Senate building.

Officials evacuated both the House and Senate, leaving it open for Trump supporters to walk right in. Streaming video from the chambers showed some looking through papers and sitting at desks. Others yelled “where is Pence?” as they walked around.

President-elect Biden, two weeks away from being inaugurated, called on President Trump to step up and end the situation.

“I call on President Trump to go on national television now to fulfill his oath and defend the Constitution and demand an end to this siege,” Biden said.

Instead, Trump released a taped statement. He said even though they were “very special people” and he supported their cause, they should “go home in peace.”

Earlier in the day, Trump had demanded that Vice President Mike Pence overturn the election results. Pence mainly has a ceremonial role in the vote counting. He opens the sealed envelopes from the states and reads the results. But in recent weeks, Trump started claiming Pence could throw out electoral votes.

The vice president acknowledged he didn’t have the legal authority to do that. In a statement before Wednesday’s session of Congress started, Pence said he could not claim “unilateral authority” to reject the electoral votes that make Biden president.

Continuing to Make Claims

That didn’t stop lawmakers like Cline and Good from opposing Wednesday’s efforts. Even though they lost each time, Virginia’s Republican representatives continued to object. Midway through, Griffith erupted after Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb said Republicans lied about voter fraud. Griffith demanded that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi strike Lamb’s comments, but she refused.

“The truth hurts,” Lamb said in response.

Griffith and the other three Republicans in Virginia’s congressional delegation continue to push President Trump’s claims of voter fraud. However, none of them give any examples, either here in the Commonwealth or elsewhere.

Brian Carlton is Dogwood’s managing editor. You can reach him at [email protected].

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