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Rep. Mike Garcia Will Join Unprecedented Challenge To Presidential Election Results

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U.S. Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA) is joined by fellow House Republicans while introducing their proposed legislative agenda on the east steps of the Capitol in Washington, DC Sept 15 2020. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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One of Southern California’s newest members of Congress plans to object to the outcome of the 2020 presidential election when the House and Senate jointly meet to count Electoral College votes on Wednesday.

GOP Rep. Mike Garcia, who represents Santa Clarita, Simi Valley and the Antelope Valley, announced Monday he would join the estimated 140 House and 12 Senate Republicans who will dispute the certified tallies of Electoral College votes in several swing states.

“I do believe there is enough evidence of compromised processes and breakdowns in election integrity by certain state legislatures that do in fact warrant a closer examination,” Garcia said in a statement. “We need a full forensic audit of several states to ensure all Americans have confidence in our elections."

President-elect Joe Biden won 74 more Electoral College votes than President Trump in November; Biden also collected 7 million more popular votes across the country. Almost 90 judges, including many nominated by Trump, have rejected the president’s lawsuits trying to overturn the outcome of the election, and Republican and Democratic officials in swing states say there is no evidence of significant voter fraud.

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What happens on Wednesday? As the AP explains, the Constitution requires Congress to meet to finalize a presidential election:

The presiding officer [usually the Vice President, in this case Mike Pence] opens and presents the certificates of the electoral votes in alphabetical order of the states. The appointed “tellers” from the House and Senate, members of both parties, then read each certificate out loud and record and count the votes. At the end, the presiding officer announces who has won the majority votes for both president and vice president.

An objection by just one senator and a single member of the House will force the chambers to allow two hours of debate, followed by a vote on the challenges. Those votes are almost certain to fail, because Democrats control the House and enough Republicans in the Senate have said they believe the Biden victory is legitimate.

Garcia won the 25th District seat formerly held by Rep. Katie Hill in a special election in May, and was re-elected in November by a margin of 333 votes. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield said Sunday he supports the challenge, and LAist is reaching out to other Southern California Republicans to ask if they plan to join it.

Some Republican House members, including California Rep. Tom McClintock, oppose their colleague’s efforts, arguing in a letter that Congress should respect states’ authority to oversee elections. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has urged fellow Republicans to avoid this confrontation, arguing it will hurt his party’s brand in upcoming 2022 elections.

Regarding election fraud, Los Angeles-area Rep. Ted Lieu is one of two Democrats who sent a letter asking FBI Director Chris Wray to open a criminal probe into Trump’s call with the Georgia Secretary of State, during which he urged Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes.

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“As Members of Congress and former prosecutors, we believe Donald Trump engaged in solicitation of, or conspiracy to commit, a number of election crimes,” the letter said. “We ask you to open an immediate criminal investigation into the President.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger's last name. LAist regrets the error.

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