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Montana's Congressional delegation weighs in on Electoral College challenge

Posted at 6:04 PM, Jan 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 20:09:49-05

HELENA — U.S. Representative Matt Rosendale (R-MT) said Tuesday he’ll join Montana’s GOP U.S. senator Steve Daines in supporting challenges to the 2020 presidential election in “disputed states” when Congress votes Wednesday to approve the results.

In news releases, both men cited what they called “unprecedented” or “widespread” allegations of voter fraud and irregularities in certain states. They also said they want to create a federal commission to investigate election returns in several states won narrowly by Democrat Joe Biden.

Daines is among 13 Republican senators who’ve said they’ll formally object Wednesday to voting results in some states, joined by some Republican House members, and thus force a debate and vote on whether the challenge should be accepted.

Those votes will fail, opposed by Democrats and some Republicans, and Biden will become the next president.

Allegations of voter fraud or “irregularities” in several states won by Biden have been raised primarily by President Trump and his allies. These charges have been consistently rejected and debunked by local election officials and courts.

The third member of Montana’s congressional delegation – Democratic Sen. Jon Tester – said through a spokesman he won’t be supporting any efforts to overturn or audit the presidential election results.

“Senator Tester believes it’s long past time for these irresponsible attacks that put our democracy at risk to end,” said Roy Loewenstein. “The election is over. Sen. Tester is urging both sides to focus on working together to heal our partisan divisions and address the serious issues facing our nation.”

Yet the approval process will play out Wednesday before Congress, as it votes to certify the Electoral College results that gave Biden a 306-232 victory over President Trump.

If a House and Senate member objects to the results from a specific state, the House and Senate will debate the issue and then vote on it.

Rosendale, who was sworn in on Sunday, may not be the one objecting, but he will be supporting some of those challenges, his office said Tuesday. “It is clear that there are widespread, credible allegations of fraud and irregularities in many states, and that these allegations have endangered the American people’s faith in our electoral process,” he said in a statement.

Rosendale did not identify specifically what he considers “credible” allegations of fraud.

Daines and Rosendale also are calling for the creation of a federal commission that would audit results from certain states over a 10-day period. Once the audit is completed, elected officials in those states could decide whether to call a special session of their legislature and certify a change in their state’s presidential vote.

Daines’ office said his goal is to “air concerns about irregularities in the 2020 presidential election” and “restore trust in the electoral system.”

Daines also hasn’t pointed specifically to what he regards as voter fraud in specific states, but in a release Saturday, cited what he called “continued reports” of problems with signature verification on mailed ballots, different rules for mailed ballots, delayed receipt of ballots and processes for partisan poll-watchers.

All of these alleged problems have been examined and rejected by courts or local election officials in various states around the country.

Rosendale also said: “Democrats and their lackeys in the media are so blinded by partisan hatred for President Trump that they’re unable to live up to the precedent they have set and take appropriate action to safeguard our elections.”

Rosendale is referring to previous elections when some congressional Democrats objected to electoral vote results, when Republicans won the presidency, in 2000, 2004 and 2016.

In those instances, however, the losing Democratic candidate had conceded and was not trying to overturn the election results.

In fact, in 2000, the losing candidate – Democrat Al Gore – was the president of the Senate at the time and gaveled down Democratic House members trying to challenge the election outcome in closely contested Florida.