Representative Mo Brooks, Republican of Alabama, has said he will object to certifying the results, and with Mr. Hawley’s support, that challenge would hold weight, prompting senators and representatives to retreat to their chambers on opposite sides of the Capitol for a two-hour debate and then a vote on whether to disqualify a state’s votes. Both the Democratic-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate would have to agree to toss out a state’s electoral votes — something that has not happened since the 19th century and is not expected this time.
In their statement, the Republicans cited poll results showing most members of their party believe the election was “rigged,” an assertion that Mr. Trump has made for months, and which has been repeated in the right-wing news media and by many Republican members of Congress.
“A fair and credible audit — conducted expeditiously and completed well before January 20 — would dramatically improve Americans’ faith in our electoral process and would significantly enhance the legitimacy of whoever becomes our next president,” they wrote. “We are acting not to thwart the democratic process, but rather to protect it.”
They also noted that their effort was likely to be unsuccessful, given that any such challenge must be sustained by both the House, where Democrats hold the majority, and the Senate, where top Republicans including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, have tried to shut it down.
“We fully expect most if not all Democrats, and perhaps more than a few Republicans, to vote otherwise,” the senators wrote.
Congress’s certification process is typically a procedural step, but as Mr. Trump continues to perpetuate the myth of widespread voter fraud, Republicans in Congress have been eager to challenge the results. That is the case even though the vast majority of them just won elections in the very same balloting they are now claiming was fraudulently administered.
Mr. McConnell has discouraged lawmakers in the Senate from joining the House effort, and Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Republican, told reporters the challenge to the election results would fail in the Senate “like a shot dog.” That prompted a Twitter tirade from Mr. Trump, who chimed in on Saturday to say that other lawmakers would soon join the group’s bid. “After they see the facts, plenty more to come,” he tweeted.