Nearly all Republican Pa. congressmen say they will vote against Biden win this week
Eight Republican congressmen from Pennsylvania will oppose the popular vote in their home state and will not certify the commonwealth's electors when the U.S. House meets Wednesday.
The vote on Jan. 6 is a formality in the country's electoral process and the final step before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.
U.S. Reps. Fred Keller, Mike Kelly, John Joyce, Dan Meuser, Scott Perry, Guy Reschenthaler, Lloyd Smucker and Glenn "GT" Thompson in a joint letter said they "cannot agree to support electors chosen based upon an inaccurate total vote count. The voters of Pennsylvania deserve integrity in the election process and equal protection under the law."
Multiple courts, with liberal and conservative judges alike, have dismissed legal challenges to the election, saying President Donald Trump's campaign failed to produce evidence of fraud.
U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Bucks County is the only House Republican who did not sign the letter saying he would oppose Biden’s win.
Sen. Pat Toomey will also break with his party. He said he would not join a dozen Senate Republicans who plan to oppose Biden’s win.
Toomey announced last year he would not seek re-election in 2023.
"I voted for President Trump and endorsed him for re-election," Toomey said in a statement. "But, on Wednesday, I intend to vigorously defend our form of government by opposing this effort to disenfranchise millions of voters in my state and others."
The effort led by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) undermines the fundamental, defining right of a democratic republic to elect its own leaders, Toomey said.
"The senators justify their intent by observing that there have been many allegations of fraud. But allegations of fraud by a losing campaign cannot justify overturning an election," Toomey said.
"They fail to acknowledge that these allegations have been adjudicated in courtrooms across America and were found to be unsupported by evidence," Toomey said. "President Trump’s own Attorney General, Bill Barr, stated ‘we have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome in the election.’"
Toomey acknowledged that the 2020 election, "like all elections, had irregularities."
"But the evidence is overwhelming that Joe Biden won this election," he said. "His narrow victory in Pennsylvania is easily explained by the decline in suburban support for President Trump and the president’s slightly smaller victory margins in most rural counties."
Biden won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes, which is about double of what Trump's margin was in 2016.
The Democratic challenger won the Philadelphia suburban counties — Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery — by more than 300,000 votes.
But Pennsylvania congressional Republicans continue to raise unsubstantiated claims about the integrity of the election in their home state.
In their joint letter, the congressmen said:
“Unfortunately, the many unlawful actions undertaken by the Pennsylvania Governor's office, the Secretary of State, and what has been described as a rogue Pennsylvania Supreme Court exceeded and circumvented the state legislature's clear constitutional authority.
“The unlawful actions include, but are not limited to:
- Accepting ballots past 8:00 pm on Election Day
- Not properly requiring signatures to match those on mail-in ballots or requiring dates
- Meanwhile, the matching of signatures was required at a polling site
- Authorizing the curing of mail-in ballots with less than a 24-hour's notice
- Only some counties were informed and adhered to this order leaving voters treated unequally from county to county
- Authorizing the use of unsecure drop boxes, which is not permitted in statute
- Prohibiting certified poll watchers overseeing the canvassing of ballots in Philadelphia
“These unlawful actions were taken without the authority or consent of the Pennsylvania state legislature. These are facts, and they are indisputable."
The lawmakers who signed the joint letter were elected or re-elected in the same election they are claiming is "unlawful." They haven't raised concerns about their own elections or a strong showing among Republicans in the state Legislature or statewide row offices.
The Pennsylvania Department of State certified the election results on Nov. 24, and the state's Electoral College electors on Dec. 14 formally voted for Biden.
Trump and his supporters started casting doubt on the state's election integrity before any ballot was cast. Their unsubstantiated claims have continued despite losing all legal challenges and being dismissed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which has a conservative majority.
Despite the challenges of Pennsylvania congressmen on Wednesday, the state House and Senate are expected to make official the will of Pennsylvania voters and others across the country.
"In three weeks, our country will inaugurate a president who respects our military, protects our security and honors the will of the Congress," U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of Biden. "Until then, the Congress urges Trump to end his desperate and dangerous sabotage."
Candy Woodall is a reporter for the USA Today Network. She can be reached at 717-480-1783 or on Twitter at @candynotcandace.