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GOP senator: 'I cannot support allowing Congress to thwart the will of the voters'

Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanTo encourage innovation, Congress should pass two bills protecting important R&D tax provision The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings Biden-GOP infrastructure talks off to rocky start MORE (R-Ohio), who served as one of President TrumpDonald TrumpHarry Reid reacts to Boehner book excerpt: 'We didn't mince words' Man arrested for allegedly threatening to stab undercover Asian officer in NYC Trump says GOP will take White House in 2024 in prepared speech MORE’s campaign co-chairs in Ohio, said Monday that he will not support objections to the counting of states’ electoral votes on Wednesday, warning that doing so would “thwart the will of the voters.”

Portman in a statement argued that the Constitution created a system for electing the president of the United States through the Electoral College, not Congress.

“I cannot support allowing Congress to thwart the will of the voters,” he said. 

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Portman, who is up for re-election in 2022, will become the next chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee if Republicans win at least one of two runoff Senate races in Georgia on Tuesday.

He said the Trump campaign has failed to provide convincing evidence that voter fraud and irregularities would have made any difference in the outcome of the presidential election. 

“[A]fter two months of recounts and legal challenges, not a single state recount changed a result and, of the dozens of lawsuits filed, not one found evidence of fraud or irregularities widespread enough to change the result of the election,” he said.

Portman noted “this was the finding of numerous Republican-appointed judge and the Trump administration’s own Department of Justice,” adding that every state has certified its electoral slate.

He has instead called for Congress to establish a blue-ribbon bipartisan panel on election integrity to review issues raised by the 2020 election to “recommend best practices for the next election.”

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Portman also noted that Congress has never voted to uphold a challenge to throw out a state’s electoral votes.

“It is an extreme remedy because, counter to the Constitution, it allows Congress to substitute its judgment for the judgment of the voters, and for the judgment of the states that certified the results,” he said. 

He pointed out the last time a member of the House and a member of the Senate jointly signed an objection to a state’s electoral votes was in January of 2005 when late Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Ohio) and former Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerBottom line Trump administration halting imports of cotton, tomatoes from Uighur region of China Biden inaugural committee to refund former senator's donation due to foreign agent status MORE (D-Calif.) objected to Ohio’s electoral votes for George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election. 

The Senate resoundingly defeated Boxer’s objection by a vote of 74 to 1 in which Boxer was the only ‘yes’ vote.”

“I was concerned then that Democrats were establishing a dangerous precedent where Congress would inappropriately assert itself to try to reverse the will of the voters. I cannot now support Republicans doing the same thing,” Portman said Monday.