News Analysis Jan 4, 2021 12:29 AM EST

FLASHBACK: Democrats object to counting Electoral College votes in 2000 and 2004

The last three times a Republican has been elected president of the United States, Democrats in the House of Representatives have brought objections to the electoral votes the Republican nominee won.

FLASHBACK: Democrats object to counting Electoral College votes in 2000 and 2004
Ari Hoffman Seattle, WA
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The last three times a Republican has been elected President of the United States, Democrats in the House of Representatives have brought objections to the electoral votes the Republican nominee won.

Democrats in the House objected to both of former President George W. Bush's victories in 2000 and 2004 and President Trump's win in 2016.

Last week, Senator Josh Hawley (R- MO) announced he will object to Electoral College certification, which brought swift condemnation from Democrats who praised their own party’s objections to GOP victories in 2000,2004 and 2016.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the Republican’s objections to the 2020 election "conspiracy and fantasy."

Schumer said, "The effort by the sitting president of the United States to overturn the results is patently undemocratic. The effort by others to amplify and burnish his ludicrous claims of fraud is equally revolting."

"This is America. We have elections. We have results. We make arguments based on the fact and reason—not conspiracy and fantasy," he added. However, Democrats have been challenging the electoral vote for every GOP victory for the last two decades.

In 2005, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), along with Representative Stephanie Tubbs (D-OH), objected to Bush's 2004 electoral votes in Ohio.

Democrats praised Boxer's move at the time, including Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). Yet last week, Durbin described Republican objections as "the political equivalent of barking at the moon."

In 2005, Durbin said on the Senate floor following Boxer's objection that "Some may criticize our colleague from California for bringing us here for this brief debate. I thank her for doing that because it gives members an opportunity once again on a bipartisan basis to look at a challenge that we face not just in the last election in one State but in many States."

Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), also praised Boxer in 2005. In a press release, Van Hollen said at the time, "I believe that Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) have performed a very valuable public service in bringing this debate before the Congress. As Americans, we should all be troubled by reports of voting problems in many parts of the country. I have been particularly concerned about the lack of a verifiable paper record in connection with electronic voting systems. I am proud to be a co-sponsor of legislation to solve that problem."

Van Hollen added that he accepted the result of the presidential election that Bush won but said, "It would have been irresponsible to use the certification process to attempt to change that result. Doing so would establish a terrible precedent."

However, on Wednesday Van Hollen said, "Sen. Hawley’s actions are grossly irresponsible. He’s attempting to undermine our democratic process, fuel Trump’s lies about voter fraud, and delay the certification of Biden’s win," Van Hollen said in a tweet. "In the end, this reckless stunt will fail, and Joe Biden will become President on Jan. 20, 2021."

Then Representative Ed Markey (D-MA), who is now a Senator, was one of 31 House members in 2005, to vote in favor of rejecting Ohio's electoral vote.

Wednesday on MSNBC, Markey said Hawley's challenge "...is just an extension of what Donald Trump is trying to perpetrate as a fraud on the American people" and that "there is no basis for any questioning of Joe Biden as our next president."

At a press conference Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said, "I have no doubt that on next Wednesday, a week from today, that Joe Biden will be confirmed by the acceptance of the vote of the Electoral College as the 46th president of the United States."

Yet, in 2005 Pelosi praised Boxer's challenge. "Today we are witnessing Democracy at work. This isn't as some of our Republican colleagues have referred to it, sadly, as frivolous. This debate is fundamental to our democracy," she said at the time. "The representatives of the American people in this house are standing up for three fundamental American beliefs: The right to vote is sacred; that a representative has a duty to represent his or her constituents; and that the rule of law is the hallmark of our nation."

In 2001 and 2017, House Democrats also objected to the certification of the results in favor of Bush and Trump, without support from any senators.

During the 2017 tallying of the Electoral College votes for President Trump’s victory, then-Vice President Biden repeatedly needed to remind Democratic House members who objected to Trump electors that there was no debate allowed in the joint session. After repeatedly banging his gavel as Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), objected to the results, Biden declared, "It is over."

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), said regarding the 2016 election: "I object because people are horrified by the overwhelming evidence of Russian interference in our election." She added, "Even with the malfunction of 87 voting machines...," before Biden gaveled her down and her microphone was cut. "The objection cannot be entertained," said Biden.

In 2001, then-Vice President Al Gore shut down Democrats' challenges to Bush's victory. "The objection is in writing and I do not care that it is not signed by a member of the Senate," Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said in the joint session. "The chair will advise that the rules do care," Gore responded.

No Republicans objected to the former President Barack Obama electors in 2008 or 2012. In 2008 Obama received a standing ovation from both sides of the aisle.

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