Oklahoma’s U.S. representatives decide to confirm, challenge electoral college vote

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Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Vice President Mike Pence talk before a joint session to certify the 2020 election results, at the Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2021. J. Scott Applewhite/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON, D.C. (KFOR) – Representatives for Oklahoma in the U.S. House and Senate are deciding whether to confirm or deny Wednesday’s electoral college votes for President.

Congress began the joint session at 1 p.m. ET to count and confirm the Electoral College vote won by Biden, while thousands of supporters of President Donald Trump rallied near the White House.

Trump’s Republican allies in the House and Senate had planned to object to the election results, which the president continues to challenge. The effort will likely fail and be defeated by bipartisan majorities in Congress who are prepared to accept the election results. 

U.S. Senate

Over the weekend, Oklahoma Republican U.S. Senator James Lankford said he will oppose this Wednesday’s electoral college vote.

“Millions of Americans, including thousands of Oklahomans, still have significant questions about the November 3 election process. We have reports of problems with voting machines, people voting twice, non-residents voting in a state, or people mysteriously voting after their death months or years before. In some states, there were problems with signature verification, different rules for mail-in ballots than in-person ballots, delayed receipt of ballots, inconsistent curing of ballots, a lack of meaningful access to the polls, or a questionable counting process for partisan poll watchers. Many of these questions have been reviewed by state leaders and courts, but questions still persist. These are not questions that exist in the dark corners of the internet, but ones I hear at the grocery store, the gas station, through text messages, and on phone calls.
For the sake of the nation’s unity, these questions should not be ignored. 
Today, I am joining a group of Senators to propose an election commission, modeled on the commission formed in 1877, to resolve the electoral issues of the election of 1876 when three states, Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina, had reports of voter fraud. The 1877 commission comprised of five Senators, five members from the House, and five Supreme Court Justices quickly organized to evaluate the election and make a recommendation to provide the nation a way to resolve the issues before the inauguration. The commission we are proposing would be required to meet and complete their audit within 10 days, before the January 20 inauguration. The report of the commission would be submitted to the individual states so each state would still have the final say on their electors, which is the constitutional requirement. 
This proposal is not designed to thwart the democratic process. It is designed to protect it. Everyone should see the division currently in the nation, and we all should have an interest in providing a path to resolution. People want answers to their questions. 
If we can agree to form the electoral commission and submit its findings to the individual states, I am prepared to respect the final decision of the states. But, if we cannot agree to hear the concerns of millions of Americans, I am prepared to oppose the electors on January 6 since I cannot be certain that they were ‘regularly made,’ which is the statutory requirement.
Senators in 1969 and 2005 raised voter integrity issues during the January 6 Joint Session of Congress. They debated the issues that day, and in both cases, reforms were made to elections in the future. Even if other members are not willing to address the outstanding questions that persist in this election, we must begin a process of reform that will lead to greater election confidence in the future.”

Sen. James Lankford

Oklahoma U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe says he will not object to the Electoral College’s votes to confirm President-elect Joe Biden Wednesday.

“On Sunday, I was sworn in for my fifth full term in the United States Senate. While being sworn, I took an oath to ‘support and defend’ the Constitution and to ‘bear true faith and allegiance to the same.’ It is an oath I take very seriously, and in my 34 years in federal office, I have not and will not violate my oath.

My job on Wednesday is clear, and there are only two things I am permitted to do under the Constitution: ensure the electors are properly certified and count the electoral votes, even when I disagree with the outcome.

To challenge a state’s certification, given how specific the Constitution is, would be a violation of my oath of office—that is not something I am willing to do and is not something Oklahomans would want me to do.  

I hear the frustration and anger from so many of my constituents – and believe me when I say that no one was more disappointed in the outcome of the presidential election on November 3 than me. I wanted President Trump to win. I supported him every step of the way – highlighting regularly all he has accomplished in the past four years and authoring the Trump Top 10 card. I understand so many have uncertainty and are questioning of the integrity of our elections. We have a lot of work to do to restore all Americans’ confidence that our elections are held freely and fairly, with every legal vote counted—and are starting that work now.”

Sen. Jim Inhofe

U.S. House of Representatives

U.S Representative from Oklahoma District 2 Markwayne Mullin says he will challenge the vote.

“Cheating is cheating regardless of the circumstances,” said Mullin. “Just because of a pandemic, doesn’t give the courts the right to go and circumvent the election laws that were set by their own state legislators per their constitution.”

Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04) says he will also vote against the confirmation.

“On behalf of my constituents, I am casting my vote against certification of the Electoral College’s count of the presidential election results. The greatest function of a representative is being elected to represent the views of one’s constituency. I have been closely studying this issue and listening intently to what my constituents have to say. The voters I represent are not concerned about the fairness of elections in Oklahoma. However, they are concerned about fairness and transparency in other states. They have asked me to express their concerns with my vote on the floor today, and as their representative, I intend to do so.”

Rep. Tom Cole

U.S. House Representative for Oklahoma’s 5th District Stephanie Bice says she is also joining the fight against the election results.

“Today, I will be voting to challenge the electoral votes of certain states to ensure the security of our nation’s election process. Unfortunately, some states did not follow their own state election laws, jeopardizing their citizens’ confidence in our election process. In my home state of Oklahoma, we conducted a fair and transparent election that should be a model for states across the nation. All Americans deserve to have the same level of confidence that Oklahomans have in our state’s electoral system. 

While I understand these actions will not alter the outcome of this election, I intend to cast my vote to shine a light on these issues and to ensure the integrity of the nation’s elections. As a former state senator, I voted to uphold the security of our 2020 elections, and I will do the same in Congress today. Americans must have a fair and secure voting process.”

Rep. Stephanie Bice

Neither Frank Lucas (OK-03) or Kevin Hern (OK-01) have released statements on today’s hearing.

The congressional meeting on Jan. 6 is the final step in reaffirming Biden’s win, after the Electoral College officially elected him in December.

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