On Wednesday, the United States Congress convened for a joint session to certify the vote of the Electoral College for the November presidential election.
Traditionally, this has been a rather mundane and ceremonial affair, but this time, supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol and clashed with law enforcement and Capitol security in an altercation that left four people dead. This was the first time the Capitol had been breached in such a manner since the 1814 burning of Washington.
After authorities successfully subdued the rioters and cleared the building, Vice President Mike Pence and members of the House of Representatives and Senate returned to continue the certification process.
Congress ultimately affirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, but local members of the House and Senate alike sided with Trump in disputing the results in swing states Arizona and Pennsylvania. Some leaders have lent credence to the possibility of widespread voter fraud, while others have explicitly echoed the President’s repeated allegations of it.
Conversely, representatives such as Van Taylor (R-Plano) have voted to accept the results. “As a constitutional conservative, I have always considered our founding document to be my North Star when deliberating public policy,” he said in a statement. “In accordance with the Constitution, I will vote to accept the electoral votes certified by every state.”
Newly-elected Congresswoman Beth Van Duyne (R-Irving), whose congressional district includes Carrollton and Farmers Branch, voted to object to Pennsylvania’s certification for Biden while simultaneously upholding the President-elect’s victory in Arizona. “Early this morning, I voted to object to the electors from the state of Pennsylvania because it was clear to me this state’s election was conducted unconstitutionally through executive and court actions which changed the rules of the election without the express[ed] approval of the Pennsylvania State Legislature.”
She then cited a minority opinion from Associate Justice of the Supreme Court Samuel Alito.
She continued, “While I did not support the objection of electors from the state of Arizona, I believe voting against electors from Pennsylvania was constitutionally correct and our best opportunity to stand up for federalism.”
Meanwhile, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Lake Dallas), whose district includes Frisco and Little Elm, joined local colleagues such as Rep. Pat Fallon (R-The Colony) in objecting to both states.
“In deciding how to cast my vote, I seriously considered the views of my constituents and fellow Members,” Burgess said in a press release. “The case was presented about the unprecedented voting irregularities, overreach by government bureaucrats, and the lack of ballot integrity and security that have left many wondering why they should even vote. It is important that every American has confidence in our election system and that their vote was counted the way it was cast.”
The Senate voted 92-7 against objecting to certifying Pennsylvania’s results, and 93-6 against those of Arizona’s. Sen. John Cornyn upheld both electoral victories for Biden, while Sen. Ted Cruz dissented with other Republican colleagues.
Biden will be inaugurated as president on Wednesday, Jan. 20.