Local political expert weighs in on electoral vote confirmation

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A Hoosier political expert is giving his opinion as members of Congress are set to meet Wednesday afternoon to count the electoral college votes and certify the results.

This comes as President Trump and several Republican senators and House members continue to make unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud.

Indiana University political science Assistant Professor Steve Webster says they can raise objections, but it is unlikely to change the actual results.

A group of about 12 senators, including Mike Braun of Indiana, and more than 100 Republican House members plan to reject electoral college votes in states where President Trump has raised unfounded claims of voter fraud.

“So there’s been a handful of court cases, including cases heard by the supreme court. They’ve largely been rejected as not having merit,” said Steven Webster.

“There have been very few instances of fraud. Especially fraud that would be needed on a level to change the results of the election. So there really is no basis in reality for the claims that some of these members of Congress are making.”

The group has presented no new evidence of election problems.

Webster says while the objections are unlikely to change the outcome, they are likely to have an impact on public opinion.

“What we’ve seen is that the president claims that there is fraud in this election has caused Republicans in the election to believe the election was illegitimate,” Webster said.

“This is problematic because we want Americans to trust the electoral process, and we want Americans to trust the democratic institutions in this country. And so I think the effect of this is it’s going to cause Americans to lose trust in their governing institutions.”

Webster says Republicans have the votes they need to lead the debate, but they would need a majority in both chambers to change the outcome and Democrats hold the majority in the house.

Webster also believes these objections could have an impact on the effectiveness of the Biden presidency.

“I think one of the effects of these challenges is to sort of weaken the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s presidency in the eyes of Republicans. This is consequential because if Republican voters believe Joe Biden to be an illegitimate president then that sort of constrains Republicans in congress from working with Joe Biden.”

He says some Republicans may not want to work with Joe Biden because of their voters’ opinions of him and the impact that could have on their re-elections.

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