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John Curtis
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Rep. John Curtis will vote to certify Electoral College results

John Curtis (Photo: Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. John Curtis, R-Utah, said on Tuesday that he intends to vote to certify the Electoral College results during Wednesday’s joint session of Congress. 

 

“I have studied my role and it is clear to me that I have a duty to speak on behalf of the election process in Utah and listen to any objection raised by my fellow lawmakers concerning their state. I have seen no evidence of wrongdoing within Utah and have no plans to object to Utah’s Electoral College certificates,” Curtis said.

“The Constitution grants Congress the specific authority to count electoral votes, not debate the merits of each state’s election laws or the validity of the electors they choose to send—to do so would be to federalize the election process, taking fundamental rights away from states. I have consistently opposed when Democrats have made such attempts and I will not use one standard for my party and a different one for the other. Therefore, I plan to respect each state’s decision, certify the election, and continue to work with my colleagues on solutions for Utahns.”

 

Curtis said he has faith in America’s election system and those who work to keep them secure.

“That’s not to say there isn’t work to do. Americans deserve an election process that leaves no question of integrity and I am committed to supporting our state leaders and working with my colleagues to ensure election security, without further federalizing our elections.”

Rep. Curtis dives into his decision to certify 

During a conversation with KSL NewsRadio’s Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry Tuesday, the congressman said from his viewpoint, the decision to certify the election is simple. 

“If you’re looking at this in how I’m viewing our constitutional responsibility, which is simply to count the votes, this is a very easy decision,” said Curtis. “And that’s why I said that I won’t be objecting [to the Electoral certification].”

President-elect Joe Biden won 306 Electoral votes compared to President Trump’s 232. Of the popular vote, Biden won 81,283,098 votes or 51.3% of the votes cast while President Trump 74,222,958 votes or 46.8% of the votes cast. 

Curtis explained to Lee he didn’t believe lawmakers are being malicious in their position to oppose the certification. 

“I do believe that my colleagues are very well-intentioned on all sides of this,” said Curtis, going on to state his main concern is Congress overriding the will of the states. 

“But to me, this has become an issue of federalism. I believe the founders were very, very clear that they wanted to vest to the state legislatures the power to handle the Electoral College, not to us [Congress].”

 

Utah’s Congressional Delegation

Votes to oppose

So far, two of Utah’s elected officials plan to oppose the certification of the presidential election.

Newly elected Rep. Burgess Owens, R-Utah, was the first to announce his plan to vote to oppose saying they would vote to oppose certifying the election saying there are too many irregularities. 

On Monday, Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah,  said he also planned to vote not to certify the results, saying Americans and even President-elect Joe Biden deserve to have any fears of fraud laid to rest. 

Currently, of the roughly 50 lawsuits filed by the president or his allies challenging the results of the election were either dismissed or dropped, including two losses at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Both Stewart and Owens joined KSL NewsRadio’s LiveMic to discuss the reasoning behind their votes.

Rep. Burgess Owens

Rep. Chris Stewart

Votes to Certify

Sen. Mitt Romney

On the other hand, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said the ploy by many GOP lawmakers to reject the electors is a threat to our republic.

“My fellow Senator Ted Cruz and the co-signers of his statement argue that rejection of electors or an election audit directed by Congress would restore trust in the election,” Romney said last week.

“Nonsense. This argument ignores the widely perceived reality that Congress is an overwhelmingly partisan body; the American people wisely place greater trust in the federal courts where judges serve for life.”

Sen. Mike Lee

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, has yet to release an official statement about what his plans for Wednesday’s vote are. However, he has been working with Texas Congressman Chip Roy on a possible joint statement. An aid also told National Review that Lee views the issue much the same way as Roy does. Lee’s Communications Director Conn Carroll said the senator plans to release a statement on Tuesday or Wednesday. 


 

Rep. Blake Moore

Utah’s new 1st District Congressman also joined LiveMic and said he has no plans on objecting to Utah’s electors, but will keep an open ear to concerns and the debates that will happen on Wednesday.

“We’ll continue to hear out the debate that’s going on and will vote accordingly,” Moore told Lee Lonsberry. “I will have an objective look at this, and I want to make sure that’s never lost, you have to have an objective look at something to this nature and that’s where I stand now.”

How the Electoral College objection works

According to the 1887 Electoral College Act, any lawmaker can object to a state’s votes on any grounds. However, in order for Congress to act on an objection, it must be in writing and signed by both a member of the House and a member of the Senate. 

This week, Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, released a statement saying he would add his name to those objecting the certification.

Once an objection meets the criteria for action, congressional rules call for suspension of the joint session; both the House and the Senate adjourn into separate sessions to consider the objection.

It is there that they weigh the objections and vote to agree or disagree.

According to the Associated Press, 2005 represented the last time Congress considered any such objection. That year, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio and Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, both Democrats, objected to Ohio’s electoral votes by claiming there were voting irregularities. Both chambers debated the objection and rejected it. It was only the second time such a vote had occurred.

 

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