INDIANAPOLIS — After testing the waters by polling constituents last week about whether he should contest the 2020 presidential results in Congress on Tuesday, northeast Indiana Rep. Jim Banks officially signed on with dozens of other House Republicans to object to certification of the results Wednesday.
Banks follows Indiana Sen. Mike Braun, who announced on Saturday his intention to contest the results on the Senate side.
The decision from Banks isn’t terribly unexpected, as he was one of more than 100 Congressmen who signed his name to a Supreme Court suit filed by Texas in late 2020 seeking to block election results that was ultimately rejected by the highest court for lack of standing.
Banks issued a statement on Sunday evening, stating he would contest the results due to some election rules being determined or clarified by entities other than the state legislatures.
Banks, unlike Braun, did not overtly cite allegations of fraud or voting irregularities that have been pushed by President Donald Trump and other Republicans despite those claims being widely unproven and unsubstantiated.
Braun and others have cited unproven claims of widespread fraud and objected primarily to results from Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia, all states that Trump won in 2016 but lost in 2020.
Indiana is not and has never been disputed throughout the 2020 election season. The state’s 11 electoral votes were cast for Trump, who won the state’s popular vote easily on Nov. 3.
“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,” Banks wrote. “But in the months before the 2020 election, these rules were thwarted in some states not by their legislatures — but by governors, secretaries of state, election officials, judges and/or private parties.
“Last month, I and 125 other Members of Congress urged the judicial branch to clarify this apparent contradiction. Since the question remains unresolved, the Constitution makes clear that Congress is left to resolve these disputes,” Banks continued.
Banks had sent an email newsletter to constituents last week asking for opinions on whether he should contest the results, including a poll for constituents to answer.
Banks’ office didn’t report exact percentages but stated “well over half” of nearly 14,000 respondents did support the congressman objecting to the electoral results.
In his mailer last week, Banks noted questions “about the legality of some votes cast in the 2020 election” but again made a primary issue of election rules being changed or clarified by election officials or courts, not state legislatures.
Banks’ announcement came on the same day when news reports and audio came out about Trump phoning Georgia election officials raising issues with oft-debunked issues about voter fraud in that state, claiming numerous times he won the state by hundreds of thousands of votes despite three official counts of votes there verifying former Vice President Joe Biden as the narrow victor and then demanded the secretary of state to “find” enough votes to make him the winner.
Congress is required to certify the votes of electors but legislators have the ability to object to results for any reason and force discussion.
More than 50 House Republicans have indicated they will protest the results while a dozen Republican senators will also do so.
The effort is unlikely to change the final results of the election, in which Biden collected 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232. A candidate requires 270 electoral votes to win the White House.
A simple majority vote is required to overrule the objection and certify the results. That will 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 push the issue to sustain the challenge. That, too, may be unlikely as a number of Republicans have said they will not support the objection effort.
Banks’ statement notes that the Jan. 6 protest in Congress is just one action, but that he hopes further efforts will be made on election integrity and plans to introduce a bill of his own in the upcoming session.
“On January 6, both the U.S. House and Senate will deliberate on this important constitutional question and determine how to restore Americans’ faith in our democracy. For my part, I will vote to uphold the Constitution and send a message to states that they must adhere to our founding document’s instructions — so I will vote against certification in disputed states,” Banks said. “Our work won’t end on January 6. Securing our elections and preserving the integrity of our democracy is the most important thing the House can do this Congress. That’s why I will be introducing a piece of legislation to secure our elections this week. I look forward to sharing more in the coming days.”