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North Carolina Republicans Split On Certification Of 2020 Election

Andrew Van Huss
Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0
Some congressional Republicans from North Carolina plan to contest the results of the election by voting no on Wednesday.

Updated 11:30 a.m. Jan. 5

This article is made possible through a partnership between WFAE and Votebeat, a nonpartisan reporting project covering local election integrity and voting access. This article is available for reprint under the terms of our republishing policy.

The U.S. House and Senate are scheduled to vote Wednesday on certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory. It will be a test for North Carolina Republicans, some of whom plan to challenge the Electoral College votes.

The state’s two senators — both Republicans — appear to support the certification of the election results.

During Wednesday’s joint session, a presiding officer will open each state’s certificate of their electoral votes. Vice President Mike Pence is expected to preside. Tellers from both parties will then read out loud each certificate and record the votes.

Members of Congress can verbally object to a state’s electoral votes after the teller reads them out. Members must submit an objection in writing, and it must be signed by both a representative and a senator. If there are valid objections, the House and Senate go into separate sessions and debate them. Then they vote on the objection.

Sen. Richard Burr told Politico he wasn’t going to join Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley’s effort to contest Biden’s victory. Burr has previously said he doesn’t plan to run for reelection in 2022. Sen. Thom Tillis hasn’t made a definitive public statement, but in mid-December he called Biden the “presumptive president” after the Electoral College ratified his win.

Tillis himself was reelected in November.

Several Republican members of the state's congressional delegation plan to object. Newly elected 11th District U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn has said he plans to contest the Electoral College votes. His office said he plans on challenging the votes because of his “commitment is to uphold the Constitution.”

Also planning to object are Reps. Richard Hudson of the 8th District, which stretches from Cabarrus County to Cumberland County, David Rowser in the 7th District and Greg Murphy of the 3rd District. Rep. Ted Budd in the 13th District has been tweeting in support of Hawley’s effort over the last few days.

Wednesday's certification process comes after the public revelation of a phone call President Trump made to Georgia’s secretary of state, pressuring him to find enough votes so Trump could win.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Alma Adams of Mecklenburg County said Trump should "be in jail" over the call, a recording of which was published over the weekend. Adams said she hoped the call will persuade some Republicans to vote in favor of certifying the results.

"They should not want to participate in this conspiracy because that’s really what it would be," Adams said. "And it’s just wrong what he’s doing. And there’s no doubt in my mind that he is certainly trying to put pressure on people to change this vote."

Last month, seven current members of the state’s Republican delegation supported a baseless lawsuit by the Texas attorney general to stop the certification of votes in a handful of states that Biden won. Mecklenburg County’s other representative, Republican Dan Bishop, has been one of the president’s biggest supporters and has said the election was "rigged."

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Updated: January 5, 2021 at 11:41 AM EST
This story was updated to explain the electoral vote certification process and actions available to each member of Congress.