Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal
While several lawmakers withdrew plans to challenge electoral votes cast for Joe Biden after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Wednesday, Rep. Yvette Herrell, R-N.M., was undeterred.
During her first speech on the House floor early Thursday, just after midnight, Herrell lodged her objection to the electoral vote from several states.
And while some constituents are praising the Republican freshman lawmaker for keeping her word and fighting for President Donald Trump, one of her colleagues accused her and others challenging electoral votes of fueling the chaos that unfolded in the Capitol building.
“Today, we witnessed the deadly consequences of President Trump’s lies and the furthering of those lies by congressional Republicans who objected to the count,” Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., said in a statement. “The erosion of American democracy must be stopped and never allowed to happen again.”
Herrell’s speech focused on the state of Pennsylvania, where Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration and that state’s Supreme Court changed some election rules to assist voters during the pandemic without the legislature’s approval. Objections to those changes have already been dismissed by courts after judges determined there was no evidence they affected the outcome or led to fraud, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
“The Constitution gives state legislators, not state executives or judges, the sole authority to determine how their state selects presidential electors,” Herrell said in her speech. “Nobody disputes that, in Pennsylvania, as well as in other states, rules and regulations were changed by executive fiat or judicial edict.”
Specifically, Herrell said the state changed vote-by-mail deadlines and identity verification rules.
“This objection is about Pennsylvania, but it affects every state. As a state representative of New Mexico, Pennsylvania’s unconstitutional actions disenfranchised my constituents and the constituents of my colleagues,” she said. “It is my duty to give my constituents a voice. Signing these objections raises their concerns to the fullest extent of my office.”
In an article Herrell wrote on the website Medium this week, she acknowledged that her objection wouldn’t change the outcome of the election.
“My hope is that elevating this debate to the highest and final level the Constitution provides for will result in a continued discussion of our electoral process,” she wrote. “Action must be taken to restore Americans’ faith in the fairness of our elections and the legitimacy of our institutions.”
Despite the objections of Herrell and other lawmakers, Congress completed its official count of the electoral vote and certified Biden’s victory.
“America’s democracy has prevailed,” Luján said. “Despite the efforts of insurrectionists who sought to destroy our democracy and attack our republic, Congress fulfilled its constitutional duty to count the Electoral College votes and defend the will of the American people.”