Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is leading a coalition of Republican senators who plan to challenge the results of the 2020 presidential results. The group is calling for a "10-day audit" of the results after "unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities."
“Voter fraud has posed a persistent challenge in our elections, although its breadth and scope are disputed. By any measure, the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes," the coalition said in a statement.
Those allegations have cast a doubt on whether or not former Vice President Joe Biden is indeed the winner of the election. In fact, a joint poll between Reuters and Ipsos found that 39 percent of Americans believe "the election was rigged." Of those, 67 percent of Republicans shared that belief, compared to 17 percent of Democrats and 31 percent of Independents.
“Some Members of Congress disagree with that assessment, as do many members of the media. But, whether or not our elected officials or journalists believe it, that deep distrust of our democratic processes will not magically disappear. It should concern us all. And it poses an ongoing threat to the legitimacy of any subsequent administrations," the group explained.
The coalition believe the courts, specifically the United States Supreme Court, should have addressed the issues of voter and election fraud.
“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," they said.
Because Congress has the constitutional power to decide whether or not to certify the election results, the coalition believes Jan. 6 will be the time to "consider and force resolution of the multiple allegations of serious voter fraud."
Although Democrats have repeatedly shot down accusations of voter fraud, there have been numerous instances where Democrats objected to the results of a presidential election. They did it in 1969 with Richard Nixon, again in 2001 and 2005 with George W. Bush and in 2017 with Donald Trump. In 1969 and 2005 a Democrat from both chambers of Congress forced a vote on whether to accept the Electoral College votes that were being challenged.
The senators want to follow the precedent established in 1877 when an Electoral Commission was established to address allegations of voter fraud.
“The most direct precedent on this question arose in 1877, following serious allegations of fraud and illegal conduct in the Hayes-Tilden presidential race. Specifically, the elections in three states—Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina—were alleged to have been conducted illegally," the coalition explains. “In 1877, Congress did not ignore those allegations, nor did the media simply dismiss those raising them as radicals trying to undermine democracy. Instead, Congress appointed an Electoral Commission—consisting of five Senators, five House Members, and five Supreme Court Justices—to consider and resolve the disputed returns."
The coalition calls on their colleagues to establish an Electoral Commission "with full investigatory and fact-finding authority, to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states. Once completed, individual states would evaluate the Commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed."
All 11 of the senators will vote not to certify the election on Jan. 6 "unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed."
They did, however, make clear that they expect the challenge to take place on a partisan basis, even though election integrity is not a partisan issue.
“We are not naïve. We fully expect most if not all Democrats, and perhaps more than a few Republicans, to vote otherwise. But support of election integrity should not be a partisan issue," the coalition explained. "A fair and credible audit—conducted expeditiously and completed well before January 20—would dramatically improve Americans’ faith in our electoral process and would significantly enhance the legitimacy of whoever becomes our next President. We owe that to the People."
“These are matters worthy of the Congress, and entrusted to us to defend. We do not take this action lightly. We are acting not to thwart the democratic process, but rather to protect it. And every one of us should act together to ensure that the election was lawfully conducted under the Constitution and to do everything we can to restore faith in our Democracy," the senators said.
The group joining Cruz includes Ron Johnson (WI), James Lankford (OK), Steve Daines (MT), John Kennedy (LA), Marsha Blackburn (TN), and Mike Braun (IN), and Senators-Elect Cynthia Lummis (WY.), Roger Marshall (KS), Bill Hagerty (TN), and Tommy Tuberville (AL).