Cotton: Electoral College Challenge Creates ‘Unwise Precedent’

Policy

Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing in Washington, D.C., May 5, 2020. (Andrew Harnik/Reuters)

Senator Tom Cotton, a possible 2024 presidential hopeful, announced late Sunday that he will oppose Republican efforts to overturn the Electoral College vote in the Senate on Wednesday, saying it would set an “unwise precedent” for future elections.

Cotton, a frequent ally of President Trump, said he will not join a group of GOP senators led by Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, who are also 2024 presidential hopefuls, in objecting to Congress counting the certified electoral votes.

“If Congress purported to overturn the results of the Electoral College, it would not only exceed that power, but also establish unwise precedents,” Cotton said in a statement.

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Such a move would “take away the power to choose the president from the people, which would essentially end presidential elections and place that power in the hands of whichever party controls Congress,” the Arkansas senator continued.

“Democrats could achieve their longstanding goal of eliminating the Electoral College in effect by refusing to count electoral votes in the future for a Republican president-elect,” he added.

The Electoral College cast its official votes for president on December 14. Former vice president Joe Biden received 306 votes, cementing his election victory, while Trump won 232 votes. The House and the Senate will hold a joint session on Wednesday where Vice President Mike Pence will open the certified electoral returns from each state as well as the District of Columbia.

Since the election, Trump has made claims of widespread voter fraud that his legal team has been unable to substantiate and has claimed he won a second term.

Several other Republican senators have panned the effort to oppose counting electoral votes, Senator Lindsey Graham saying the plan has “zero chance of becoming reality” and is “not effectively fighting for President Trump.”

Cotton added that he shares the disappointment of voters who cast their ballots for Trump as well as their concerns about voting “irregularities,” especially in states that “rushed through election-law changes to relax standards for voting-by-mail.”

“Objecting to certified electoral votes won’t give him a second term—it will only embolden those Democrats who want to erode further our system of constitutional government,” Cotton said.

The senator also expressed his support for a commission to study the 2020 election and propose reforms and said the Senate should hold more hearings on the matter.

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