When Congress met to tally the results of the 2004 presidential election, then-Sen. Barbara Boxer stood alone on the Senate floor to object to President George W. Bush’s reelection victory in Ohio over Democrat John Kerry, forcing the House and Senate to vote for only the second time in a century on whether to reject a state’s Electoral College votes.
It’s the same scenario that could play out next month with President Donald Trump publicly urging his supporters in Congress to object to President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in battleground states that expanded mail-in voting amid the coronavirus pandemic.
A group of House Republicans is preparing to object, and they need at least one senator to join them to force the chambers to vote on the matter. While Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has privately urged Senate Republicans to steer clear, several senators have declined to rule out taking part, and incoming GOP Sen.-elect Tommy Tuberville of Alabama has left open the possibility he will join the effort.
Democrats and even some Republicans are warning against a challenge, despite the precedent laid by Boxer. In an interview with CNN, Boxer said that the circumstances are totally different this year, when Trump and his allies are seeking to overturn a national election result, than when she joined with then-Ohio Democratic Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones to object to Kerry’s loss.