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Rep. Doug LaMalfa will join some Republicans challenging electoral college certification

Matt Brannon
Redding Record Searchlight

The U.S. Congressman who represents part of the North State said Tuesday he will join some elected Republicans challenging the certification of Joe Biden's Electoral College win Wednesday. 

While citing no specific evidence, Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, of the state's 1st District said thousands of his constituents have "serious questions" about the election that should be answered. LaMalfa said he and others like Sen. Ted Cruz will challenge the certification until a Congressional investigation is complete. 

Many others, including one local expert, have called the move little more than "political theater."

In this image from video, Rep. Doug LaMalfa. R-Richvale, speaks on the floor of the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Thursday, April 23, 2020.

The congressional meeting is the final step in reaffirming Biden's win after the Electoral College officially elected him in December. The meeting is required by the Constitution and includes several steps. 

Plans to object have been dismissed as seemingly futile and dangerous by many on all sides. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell urged his colleagues not to object. Republican Sen. Tim Scott said “no justice, judge or fact finder has found evidence indicating the election results in those states should be overturned.”

Republican Sen. Tom Cotton said challenging the results “would take away the power to choose the president from the people, which would essentially end presidential elections and place that power in the hands of whichever party controls Congress.”

In many years, Wednesday's meeting would be a formality. The procedure involves the acting vice president opening certificates reflecting vote tallies sent by the states. He then hands them to "tellers" who read the results in alphabetical order. 

If there is an objection, the chambers must consider it for up to two hours. For it to be sustained, both chambers must agree by majority vote. If they don't, the original votes are counted with no changes, according to the Associated Press. 

"Unless Rep. LaMalfa and his colleagues who plan to challenge the electoral college certification know something about the Constitution that the rest of us do not know, then it will be political theater but not much else," Chico State political science professor Diana Dwyre said.

Dwyre questioned what the motivations are behind those mounting the challenge. She said they could be trying to avoid the wrath of President Trump and his supporters, which could lead to a primary challenge. 

"Or perhaps challenging the election results is a signal to the incoming president that they plan to obstruct and gum up the works rather than work cooperatively with the new administration to address the very serious issues facing the United States," she said.

Professor Charles Turner, who also holds a doctorate in political science, said LaMalfa is acting for short-term political gain and "playing a risky game with our democracy." Turner said local election officials who have endorsed the integrity of the outcome have a better handle on what happened than those relying on soundly debunked social media rumors. 

"Is there any proof that will allow (LaMalfa) to accept that his preferred candidate did not win?" Turner asked. "How will he feel when the other party pulls these tricks on the next close election?"

Read more about Doug LaMalfa:

Matt Brannon covers politics, the criminal justice system and breaking news for the Record Searchlight. Follow him on Twitter @MattBrannon_RS. Support local coverage and keep up with the North State for as little as $1 a month. Subscribe today