WASHINGTON D.C. — Indiana Sen. Mike Braun joined a group of 10 other Republican Senators in a joint statement announcing they plan to contest 2020 presidential election results on Jan. 6.
The joint statement cites “unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities,” although those allegations have frequently and widely been disproved or unsubstantiated.
President Donald Trump’s extraordinary refusal to accept his election defeat and the effort to subvert the will of the voters has become a defining moment for Republicans and is tearing the party apart, the Associated Press reported. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has urged Republican not to try to overturn the election.
The 11 senators, led by Ted Cruz of Texas, said they will vote against certain state electors unless Congress appoints an electoral commission to immediately conduct an audit of the election results. They acknowledged they are unlikely to change the results of the election.
Braun, Indiana’s junior senator, came into office in 2018 mirroring most of President Donald Trump’s rhetoric in order to come out on top of a three-way Republican primary and then go on to win the general election.
Braun has been a close ally of Trump since joining to the Senate and has occasionally made public statements and social media posts questioning the validity of the election despite claims of widespread fraud being widely unproven.
With the exception of Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, none of the other 10 Republican Senators represent the four main states Trump and Republicans have targeted with claims of widespread fraud and irregularities. Those states include Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia, four states Trump won in 2016 then narrowly lost in 2020.
“The election of 2020, like the election of 2016, was hard fought and, in many swing states, narrowly decided. The 2020 election, however, featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities,” the statement reads.
The statement fraud has posed a “persistent challenge in our elections,” although previous analyses have shown fraud is rare. In numerous court cases brought by the Trump administration this fall, almost all have been thrown out of courts for lack of evidence or standing.
“Ideally, the courts would have heard evidence and resolved these claims of serious election fraud. Twice, the Supreme Court had the opportunity to do so; twice, the Court declined,” the statement said. “On January 6, it is incumbent on Congress to vote on whether to certify the 2020 election results. That vote is the lone constitutional power remaining to consider and force resolution of the multiple allegations of serious voter fraud.”
The panel of senators is calling for an Electoral Commission to be established and an emergency 10-day audit be conducted, despite individual states having gone through counts and recounts and their election results being certified.
Last week, Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley became the first to announce he would contest the election results, following some House Republicans who indicated they would protest the results, too.
Northeast Indiana Rep. Jim Banks had issued a newsletter and polls asking northeast Indiana constituents whether he, too, should contest the results, but as of Saturday afternoon had not indicated whether he would join those efforts too.
Banks has also been a stalwart ally of Trump although he has not been engaged in casting doubt on the election like Braun has since November.
A simply majority vote is required to overrule the objection and certify the results. That would almost certainly happen in the House where Banks serves and 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.
Braun didn’t commit on Wednesday as to whether he would join Hawley in objecting to the certification, but while appearing on the statewide COVID-19 update press conference with Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, Braun said he would consider the effort “on the merits.”
Braun indicated on Wednesday that he did not expect the measure would succeed in changing the results of the election.
Former Vice President Joe Biden defeated incumbent Donald Trump by an electoral margin of 306 to 232. A candidate requires 270 electoral votes to win the White House.
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.