Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri announced Wednesday that he will object when Congress convenes next week to certify the electoral college vote -- virtually assuring that lawmakers will have to go through a brief delay before declaring Joe Biden the 46th president of the United States.
Both houses will meet next Wednesday to count the electoral votes and make the declaration, a normally obscure procedural step in the election process that's found new attention this year due to President Donald Trump's false claims of voter fraud and prodding Republicans to keep fighting for him.
To object to any state's certified electoral votes, at least one member from each house must object. Several House Republicans have already said they will and Hawley's statement all but assures the process will now include a brief debate period.
Hawley said his objection will center on "the failure of some states, including notably Pennsylvania, to follow their own election laws," as well as the "unprecedented interference of Big Tech monopolies" in the 2020 election.
"Following both the 2004 and 2016 elections, Democrats in Congress objected during the certification of electoral votes in order to raise concerns about election integrity," he said in a statement.
"They were praised by Democratic leadership and the media when they did. And they were entitled to do so. But now those of us concerned about the integrity of this election are entitled to do the same."
To date, every single legal claim of voter fraud in the 2020 election has been defeated in federal appellate courts and the U.S. Supreme Court, and Trump's own Homeland Security Department said last month the election was the most secure in history.
Although it will impact the process, Hawley's plan to object will not change the results of the election. For any state's electoral votes to be thrown out, the debate period would need to be followed by majorities in both the House and Senate agreeing to the move.
The House has a significant Democratic majority and several GOP senators have already acknowledged Biden's victory. Further, electoral votes in multiple states would need to be dismissed, as Biden crossed the 270-vote threshold by a margin of 36 electoral votes.
Trump has refused to concede and continues to prod Republican lawmakers to fight to overturn Biden's win and keep him in office.
Hawley said his concerns over "election integrity" need to be given a spotlight, despite the lack of any credible evidence of widespread voter fraud.
"At the very least, Congress should investigate allegations of voter fraud and adopt measures to secure the integrity of our elections," he said. "But Congress has so far failed to act."
Before Hawley's announcement on Wednesday, no member of the Senate had publicly committed to challenging any state's electoral votes, which were certified weeks ago. The Electoral College formally cast Biden's 306 votes, as well as 232 for Trump, on Dec. 14.