Reps. Jack Berman and Tim Walberg stand with those who still "question the results of the 2020 election," the Michigan congressmen announce Monday.
"We will not stand idly by without taking every lawfully available option to ensure the outcomes of our elections can be trusted," the Republicans say in a joint release confirming they "will formally object during the Electoral College certification process" Wednesday.
"This includes objecting to the electoral votes from disputed states where there is evidence warranting an investigation," add the pair. Bizarrely, that means they'll object to Michigan's 16 electoral votes for Joe Biden, cast on the same Nov. 3 ballots that sent them back to the House.
A delegation colleague, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, calls their stance "shameful" in a tweet. Others see them as part of "the sedition caucus" or "unprincipled Trump-cult Republicans," as New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman puts it Wednesday,
In The Washington Post, media columnist Margaret Sullivan proposes this label: "I’d call them members of the radical right."
A Michigan newcomer to the House, Rep. Lisa McClain, R-Bruce Township, appears poised to join the resisters because of "grave concerns" about the election. "If what I see on Wednesday further confirms the concerns voiced to me by folks in the 10th District, I will follow my oath of office and vote accordingly," she says in a Monday statement quoted by Bridge Michigan and others.
Bergman, who lives in the western Upper Peninulsa, was sworn in Sunday for a fourth term. Walberg, who lives near Tecumseh in Lenawee County, is starting his ninth non-consecutive term.
Four other Michigan Republicans in Congress apparently will accept the voters' choice of Biden and Kamala Harris over Donald Trump and Mike Pence. "Congress has only a narrow role in the presidential election process," first-term Rep. Peter Meijer of Grand Rapids says in a Tuesday letter to each party's House leaders, also signed by 12 Republicans from other states. "Its job is to count the electors submitted by the states, not to determine which electors the states should have sent."
This tweet is from Southwest Michigan's congressman since 1987:
Voters – not judges or politicians – must decide elections. These objections would establish a new precedent allowing the Congress to supersede the will of the people. There have been no cases of fraud discovered that would overturn President-elect Biden’s 154K-vote victory in MI— Fred Upton #WearYourMask (@RepFredUpton) January 4, 2021
Bergman and Walberg frame their stance as a brave refusal to choose "the easy answer [of] ignoring election irregularities." Here's how they justify joining about 140 other House Republicans and 12 party senators calling for "an emergency audit of the election results" before the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration:
Since Election Day, constituents have demanded Congress launch a full investigation into potential fraud and election irregularities and ensure election integrity measures are enacted.
The very foundation of our democracy lies in the tenets of a free, fair and secure election. Americans deserve to know only legal votes are counted and reports regarding irregularities, fraud and failure to follow election laws are thoroughly investigated. Poll challengers have raised valid concerns about election integrity across our nation that brings into question the results of the 2020 election and puts faith in future elections in jeopardy. ...
Our options are not binary -- Congress has an obligation to the tens of millions of Americans who have lost faith in our election process to prove that our elections are free, fair and follow laws in place. We join with our Senate colleagues calling for an Emergency Electoral Commission to perform an emergency audit of the election results in the 10 days before the inauguration.
Wednesday's symbolic objections by a minority of each congressional branch will delay, but not derail, certification of the people's pick that gave the Democratic ticket 306 Electoral College votes.