By Ben Peters
Athens NEWS Associate Editor
U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, a Marietta Republican whose district encompasses part of Athens County, voted Thursday morning to object the certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania.
Both chambers of Congress reconvened late Wednesday night to finalize approval of the Electoral College’s vote for Biden, hours after the process was obstructed by a violent mob — incited by President Donald Trump — that stormed the halls of the Capitol Building, forcing the hill into lockdown.
Johnson, who joined more than 60 House Republicans in the objection, was quick on Twitter to condemn the violence that ensued in Washington D.C. But that didn’t stop him from acting on his wholly unfounded belief that there were widespread voting irregularities in Pennsylvania caused by mail-in ballots that resulted in an unfair election — claims that motivated many who breached the Capitol Building.
“I swore an oath to protect the Constitution and the rule of law. I take that oath seriously. Whether it was the violent thugs who fought with police and stormed the U.S. Capitol building today or the violent thugs of Antifa and BLM who’ve been assaulting police and attacking Government buildings for the last 6 months, this lawlessness is wrong and should be universally condemned,” he said in a Twitter thread.
“We’re all Americans, and we’re better than this. I thank all the men & women of the U.S. Capitol Police+other law enforcement agencies who brought help for their service.”
The Republican attempt to reject certifying the election in Pennsylvania ultimately failed.
Johnson baselessly argued in a statement shared last week, where he announced his plans to oppose certifying Biden’s win, that Pennsylvania law doesn’t allow for mass mail-in voting and that state officials permitted it anyway.
”There were several widely reported irregularities and unconstitutional actions taken by partisan officials in battleground states during last year’s election,” the congressman said without merit in a statement to The Athens NEWS. “Around 250,000 people that voted for President Trump in my district feel their voices were disenfranchised because of the unconstitutional acts of officials and judges in other states.”
The Trump campaign filed several now-failed lawsuits alleging that Pennsylvania election officials broke state law with mail-in voting. In one case the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani acknowledged they had no evidence to support claims of mass voter fraud in the state, according to The New York Times. A judge dismissed the case days later.
Ohio Republican Reps. Steve Chabot, Warren Davidson, Bob Gibbs and Jim Jordan joined Johnson in opposing Pennsylvania’s election.
Election officials haven’t found evidence of widespread voter fraud anywhere across the country. Prominent Republican leaders in Ohio have emphatically dismissed claims of mass fraud voiced by Trump and many members of their own party.
Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, who did not oppose any state’s vote certification, publicly proclaimed in a November Cincinnati Enquirer op-ed that that there is no proof of extensive voting irregularities across the country that would have prevented Biden from winning the requisite 270 votes in the Electoral College. He’s since reiterated that stance on several occasions, most recently on Monday.