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Elections

Republican leaders in Pa. Senate ask Congress to delay Electoral College count

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The letter signed by President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (seen here, center) said Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar “usurped legislative authority."
JOSE F. MORENO / Philadelphia Inquirer

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

HARRISBURG — The top Republicans in the Pennsylvania Senate want Congress to delay certification of the Electoral College, joining a growing group of state and federal politicians who have baselessly called the legitimacy of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory into question.

In a letter dated Monday, President Pro Tempore Jake Corman (R., Centre) and Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R., Westmoreland), joined by all but seven members of the caucus, said certain “inconsistencies” with how the election was run in Pennsylvania still need to be investigated.

The letter was shared by outgoing President Donald Trump on Twitter on Tuesday night.

Congress will convene a joint session Wednesday at 1 p.m. to count the Electoral College votes, including 20 from Pennsylvania awarded to Biden, the popular vote winner. Biden defeated Trump in the state by more than 81,000 votes.

Eight of the nine members of Pennsylvania’s Republican U.S. House delegation are expected to object to some swing states’ results. If joined by at least one senator, such an objection would trigger a debate and a vote. There is essentially no chance of that objection succeeding in the Democratic-controlled House.

The Monday letter does not claim that the contest was marred by fraud, a claim that state and federal election officials have rejected as untrue. Instead, the Republican senators said Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar “usurped legislative authority” by offering guidance on “curing,” or fixing, ballots with issues like a missing signature. Those concerns have been litigated in court and rejected by judges, many of them Trump appointees.

The lawmakers also said the Democratic-controlled state Supreme Court “overstepped” by ruling that mail ballots could be counted as long as they were received by the Friday after Election Day. About 10,000 arrived in that extended window, according to Boockvar, far too few to affect the outcome.

“We ask that you delay certification of the Electoral College to allow due process as we pursue election integrity in our commonwealth,” the senators wrote.

Republicans in the Pennsylvania House, including Speaker Bryan Cutler of Lancaster County, wrote a similar letter to the state’s congressional delegation in December.

GOP Senate letter to Congress by Sarah Anne Hughes

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Marie Albiges

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