US Congress’ joint session starts counting electoral college votes, gets 1st objection from Arizona

Lalit K Jha
·2-min read

Washington, Jan 6 (PTI) A joint session of the US Congress on Wednesday started counting and certifying the electoral college votes, but soon received objections from Republican lawmakers for Arizona.

Vice President Mike Pence, who presided over the joint session of Congress, based on the objections, adjourned the joint session for the House of Representatives and the Senate to debate and vote on the objections.

The two chambers were given two hours to debate and vote on the objections.

The counting and certification of electoral college votes for each of the states, which is normally a formality, is expected to take several hours and might even spill into Thursday as more than 140 Republican members of the House of Representatives and over a dozen Senators are expected to make similar objections to five states.

Moments before the start of the Joint Session, in a letter to the members of the US Congress, Pence asserted that he would follow the provisions of the Constitution and that he lacks unilateral authority.

President Donald Trump has refused to concede the election and has asked Pence to return the election results to the states.

“It is my considered judgment that my oath to support and defend the Constitution constrains me from claiming unilateral authority to determine which electoral votes should be counted and which should not,' Pence said in his three-page letter.

“Given the controversy surrounding this year’s election, some approach this year’s quadrennial tradition with great expectation, others with dismissive disdain. Some believe that as Vice President, I should be able to accept or reject electoral votes unilaterally. Others believe that electoral votes should never be challenged in a Joint Session of Congress,” he wrote.

'After a careful study of our Constitution, our laws and our history, I believe neither view is correct,' Pence wrote in his letter rejecting the pressure from Trump.

Earlier Trump, addressing thousands of his supporters in downtown Washington DC moments before the joint session of Congress, said: “… Mike Pence, I hope you’re going to stand up for the good of our Constitution and for the good of our country. And if you’re not, I’m going to be very disappointed in you. I’ll going to tell you right now. I’m not hearing good stories'.

Soon after Trump’s speech, his supporters started walking towards the US Capitol. Trump joined them for a few blocks. Trump alleges that the November 3rd election had massive voters’ fraud and electoral malpractice. Election officials have denied those charges. PTI LKJ CPS