WASHINGTON D.C. — Northeast Indiana Rep. Jim Banks sent a newsletter Wednesday to his constituents polling them on whether they think Congress should contest the certification of the 2020 presidential election results.
Banks cites “legality of some votes cast in the 2020 election” as the reason to attempt to hold up or block certification of the votes, despite numerous cases litigated by President Donald Trump’s lawyers that to date have provided no concrete evidence of vote fraud or improper handling of votes.
Congress is tasked with certifying the results of the Electoral College during an upcoming session on Jan. 6, ahead of the normal Jan. 20 inauguration day.
Former Vice President and Democrat Joe Biden won 306 electoral votes compared to Trump at 232. A presidential candidate needs to win at least 270 votes to win the electoral college.
Electors met Dec. 14 to officially cast their votes for president. Indiana’s 11 electors were bound to vote for Trump, who carried the state’s popular vote in November.
Some House Republicans have previously vowed to challenge the certification but Banks’ mailer came on the same day that Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley became the first in the Senate to officially announce he would contest the results from states other than his own.
“Federal law requires the states to deliver certified electoral college results to the vice president, serving as president of the Senate, and other parties. Then a joint meeting of Congress is required by the 12th Amendment to count the electoral votes and declare the winners of the presidential election,” Banks wrote in his email blast sent Wednesday. “If a member of the House and a member of the Senate together issue a joint objection to any state’s vote — for any reason — the House and Senate go into separate sessions to consider and vote to sustain the objection.”
The last time such conference occurred was in 2005 during the re-election of then-President George W. Bush, brought by Democrats over questions of voting irregularities in Ohio that were not substantiated and the challenge was easily overturned.
A simple majority vote is required to overrule the objection and certify the results. That would almost certainly happen in the House where Banks serves and where Democrats hold the majority.
Republicans currently control the Senate, albeit by a slim majority and would likely require all of their members to protest the results of the election, which in itself may be unlikely to get support from more moderate Republicans who have been lukewarm supporters of Trump.
Indiana Sen. Mike Braun said Wednesday that he didn’t expect the measure will succeed in changing the election result, but said the effort could bring attention to election issues for future contests.
Braun didn’t commit as to whether he would join Hawley in objecting to the certification, but said he would review the issue “on the merits.”
Two Senate runoff elections in Georgia scheduled for Jan. 5 will determine control of the Senate long-term — if both Democrats win the divide would be 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris acting as tiebreaker, giving effective control to Democrats.
If Republicans win either or both of the Georgia seats, they would maintain majority in the Senate.
Trump and congressional Republicans have been forwarding claims of “widespread” fraud in swing states that were narrowly won by Biden even before election results were finalized. Court challenges have been repeatedly thrown out for lack of evidence and standing.
All 50 states and Washington D.C. have certified their election results and sent them to Congress.
The Supreme Court denied to take up a longshot legal challenge filed by Texas aiming to overturn the election results, citing that the state did not have legal standing to upend voting rules in other states.
Banks had signed on as one of more than 100 congressional Republicans supporting that failed effort, along with lame duck Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill.
Indiana, a state which Trump won handily in November, has never been implicated as having any issues with voter fraud or voting irregularities this fall.
“There is a question about the legality of some votes cast in the 2020 election. Article II, Section 1, clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution clearly states that Presidential Electors must be appointed according to rules established by each state’s legislature. But in the months before the 2020 election, those rules were deliberately changed in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, not by their legislatures, but by governors, secretaries of state, election officials, judges and/or private parties,” Banks said. “The Supreme Court has not yet ruled on this important, constitutional question.”
Banks’ mailer closes with a poll:
“Should the U.S. House of Representatives certify the electoral college vote in these four disputed states on January 6?” giving recipients choices of yes, no or undecided.
Answering the poll brings up a pop-up thanking the respondent for voting, then takes them to Banks’ House website.
Current results of the poll are not displayed anywhere and it’s not clear if they ever will be released to the public.
Banks, who has been a stalwart supporter of Trump and serves northeast Indiana counties that voted overwhelmingly for the president, would likely find majority support in the region for efforts to protest the election results.
The survey can be found via this link: bit.ly/3aWFxsa.