“A fair and credible audit — conducted expeditiously and completed well before Jan. 20 — would dramatically improve Americans’ faith in our electoral process and would significantly enhance the legitimacy of whoever becomes our next president,” they wrote. “We are acting not to thwart the democratic process, but rather to protect it.”
They also acknowledged that their effort was likely to be unsuccessful, given that any such challenge must be sustained by both the House, where Democrats hold the majority, and the Senate, where top Republicans including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, have tried to shut it down.
“We fully expect most if not all Democrats, and perhaps more than a few Republicans, to vote otherwise,” the senators wrote.
Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, the top Democrat on the Rules Committee with jurisdiction over federal elections, called the Republican effort a “publicity stunt” that would ultimately fail, but said it was dangerous nevertheless, amounting to “an attempt to subvert the will of the voters.” She noted in an interview that hundreds of millions of votes had already been “counted, recounted, litigated and state-certified” across the country.
“These baseless claims have already been examined and dismissed by Trump’s own attorney general, dozens of courts and election officials from both parties,” said Mike Gwin, a spokesman for Mr. Biden’s campaign.
While lawmakers have sought to register their opposition to past presidential election results by challenging Congress’s certification, the move has generally been more symbolic than substantive, given that the loser had already conceded and senators rarely joined with members of the House to force a vote. But as Mr. Trump continues to perpetuate the myth of widespread voter fraud, a growing number of Republicans in Congress have been eager to challenge the results, either out of devotion to the president or out of fear of enraging the base of their party that still reveres him even in defeat.
That is the case even though the vast majority of them just won elections in the very same balloting they are now claiming was fraudulently administered.