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Challenge to the Electoral College

Floor Speech

Date: Jan. 6, 2021
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. LANKFORD. Mr. President, in America, we settle our differences in elections. What happens if you don't trust the election count or you are concerned that so many courts denied or dismissed cases within hours after they were given thousands of pages of evidence?

The reason we have a Congress to settle our Nation's divisions and the rules of the Senate make sure that every opinion in the Nation is heard is so issues like this can be addressed.

The constitutional crisis in our country right now is that millions of Americans are being told to sit down and shut up. Their opinions matter.

During the electoral challenge on January 6, 2005, Senator Ted Kennedy stood on this floor and said this. He said:

I commend the many thousands of citizens in Massachusetts and other States who insisted that treating today's electoral vote count in Congress as a meaningless ritual would be an insult to our democracy unless we register our own protest against the obviously-flawed voting process that took place in so many States. We are hopeful that this major issue that goes to the heart of our democracy is now firmly implanted on the agenda for effective action by . . . Congress.

I agree. The U.S. Constitution does not allow me to assign different electors to a State, nor should it. The U.S. Constitution does not give the option to the Vice President of the United States to just unilaterally decide which States are in and out, and it should not. Each State decides its electors through its people.

A small group of Senators, including myself, have demanded that we not ignore the questions that millions of people are asking in our Nation, so we have proposed a constitutional solution. Pause the count. Get more facts to the States before January the 20th. We proposed a 15- member commission, just like what was done after the failed election of 1876. We are encouraging people to spend 10 days going through all the issues so States can have one last opportunity to address any challenges. Then the States, as the Constitution directs, would make the final decision on their electors.

I have some colleagues who have said that a 10-day commission is not enough time, so they have counterproposed just ignoring the lingering questions.

We need to do something.

(Mr. GRASSLEY assumed the Chair.)

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Mr. LANKFORD. My challenge today is not about the good people of Arizona.

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