Certification Vote Divides W.Va., Ohio Delegations
CHARLESTON – West Virginia’s U.S. congressional delegation was divided on whether to certify the electoral votes from states while five of Ohio’s 16 representatives objected to the electors from Pennsylvania or Arizona.
Proceedings ended in the early morning hours Thursday after pro-Trump protesters marched on the Capitol, breached its doors and violently disrupted sessions of the House and Senate. Senators and congressmen reconvened later in the evening and confirmed the Electoral College results and Democrat Joe Biden’s victory over incumbent Donald Trump.
U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown of Ohio declined to support the two objections to certify election results from Arizona and Pennsylvania.
“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were legitimately elected and are our next president and vice president,” Manchin said in a statement Thursday morning. “It is time to come together and begin to move forward as one nation.”
Four people died during the violent demonstration.
“I think it was important for these insurrectionists to know that we will not be cowed or bullied, that the work of our government and our Capitol is going to be the predominant part and the strong part of our nation,” Capito said on MetroNews Talkline Thursday. “I think we all felt strong that we wanted to go back to work.”
Portman asked if the tables were turned, “Would you want a Congress controlled by the Democrats to play the role you now intend for us?” Portman said. “It is asking Congress to substitute its judgment for the judgment of the voters, and its judgment for the judgment of the states that certified the results. And even forgetting the dangerous precedent that would be set, what would be the basis for objecting in this election?”
Brown said Wednesday was “a dark day for our country.”
“Domestic terrorists attacked our seat of government, at the behest of the president of the United States. This was his last, desperate attempt to overturn the will of the American voters, but he failed, and democracy won,” Brown said. “We must hold the president accountable for inciting this attack on our country. The cabinet and vice president should immediately invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office, to prevent him from doing more damage between now and Inauguration Day. And in 13 days, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will take their oaths of office and begin the work to bring out the best in our nation rather than the worst, supported by a Democratic Senate.”
In the House of Representatives, Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., also declined to support the two objections for Arizona and Pennsylvania. Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., voted for both objections while Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., supported the objection to Pennsylvania’s electoral votes and voted against the Arizona objection.
McKinley criticized states for not following their election laws leading up to the November general election, but said the Constitution does not give Congress the authority to throw out certified election results from the states.
“Any problems with the election in these states should have been addressed prior to certification. The proper venue for this dispute is in the state legislatures,” McKinley said in a statement. “If we believe in states’ rights, we must recognize the Constitution gives the states the power to submit their duly certified electors. We should respect the states’ authority, otherwise we might as well replace the Electoral College with Congress.”
Mooney disagreed with McKinley’s position, saying it was the responsibility of Congress to not accept election results from states that declined to follow their election laws.
“Congress should not accept electors from states where laws were violated, state constitutions were ignored and the legislature was subverted,” Mooney said. “Our Republic will not survive if partisan courts and bureaucrats make the law by decree rather than obeying laws made by state legislatures who were duly elected by the people.”
Last month, Mooney introduced two resolutions calling for Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the House as a whole to support President Donald Trump’s efforts to challenge his loss to Biden in the November 2020 election. Both Mooney and Miller were among 120 Republican House Members signing on to a Texas lawsuit rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn election certifications Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
A spokesperson for Miller referred to an op-ed penned by the congresswoman explaining her reasoning for voting to reject the certifications from Arizona and Pennsylvania.
“The results being debated today will not overturn the outcome of the election, but it will provide the opportunity for the United States Congress to ensure our country has free, fair, and accurate elections that generations to come can be confident in,” Miller wrote. “The right to vote is the spirit and promise that America was founded upon, the freedom that so many have fought for, and why I cast my vote in defense of that right today.”
In Ohio, Republican Reps. Warren Davidson, Bob Gibson, Bill Johnson and Jim Jordan voted for both objections and Rep. Steve Chabot supported only the Pennsylvania objection.
“I rise in support of this objection and to give voice to the 249,386 men and women of Ohio’s 6th Congressional District, who’ve had their voices silenced by the rogue political actors in Pennsylvania, who unilaterally and unconstitutionally alter voting methods for benefit the Democratic candidate for president,” Johnson said. “Secretaries of State, and state supreme courts cannot simply ignore the rules governing elections set forth in the Constitution. They cannot choose to usurp their state legislatures to achieve a partisan end, constitution be damned.”
As for Trump’s involvement in the events that incited the mob to ransack the Capitol Building, lawmakers have called for Vice President Mike Pence and cabinet officials to invoke the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to take presidential power from Trump between now and Jan. 20. Others have called on Congress to draw up articles of impeachment.
If the House votes to impeach and the Senate votes to remove Trump, he would be prohibited from running for higher office again.
“No matter what course of action is taken against President Trump in 13 days, Joe Biden will be sworn in as President of the United States,” Manchin said. “Until then, I urge the good men and women honorably serving at all levels of the federal government to please stay at their post for the protection of our democracy. The actions of a rogue President will not and should not reflect on you. Instead, your patriotism and commitment to the greater good of our country will be reaffirmed.”