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Virginia Senator Tim Kaine: Not certifying Biden win be 'massive disenfranchisement'

Posted at 10:39 PM, Jan 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-06 22:43:51-05

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Tim Kaine said not voting to certify Joe Biden's Electoral College win would equate to "massive disenfranchisement" for millions of voters.

Kaine (D-Va.), who opposed some GOP lawmakers' objection to certifying the Electoral College votes, said Congress had a responsibility to honor the will of the people.

“We should be coming together today, after acts of violence, as the United States Senate to affirm the votes of all who cast ballots in November," Kaine said. "Instead we're contemplating an unprecedented objection that would be a massive disenfranchisement of American voters.”

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Kaine spoke after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday night Congress “will not be deterred” in confirming the results of the presidential election hours after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol.

The Republican leader reopened the Senate late Wednesday vowing to finish confirming the Electoral College for President-elect Joe Biden. It was interrupted earlier in the way when rioters breached the security perimeter and clashed with law enforcement before disrupting Congress’ tallying of the Electoral College votes. One person was fatally shot.

McConnell said demonstrators “tried to disrupt our democracy. They failed.”

McConnell planned to keep the Senate in session Wednesday to finish confirming the results.

Trump has repeatedly told his supporters that the November election was stolen from him, even though that is not true. He reiterated the claim in a video filmed as his demonstrators were storming the Capitol.

I applaud the comments of my colleague from Georgia, deeply. My first job after school was in Macon, Georgia working for a federal judge, Lanier Anderson and I learned a lot about integrity and a lot about law from him. I also learned some sad lessons, that in the history of Georgia and indeed Virginia and many states, so many people, especially people of color had been disenfranchised over the course of our history.

Our late friend John Lewis, Congressman from Georgia, was savagely beaten on Bloody Sunday just for marching for voting rights. That act of violence inspired this body, the U.S. Senate, to come together in March of 1965 and work to pass in a bipartisan fashion the Voting Rights Act. We should be coming together today, after acts of violence, as the United States Senate to affirm the votes of all who cast ballots in November. Instead we're contemplating an unprecedented objection that would be a massive disenfranchisement of American voters.

The Georgia result was very clear: a 12,000 vote margin, two certifications by Republican officials, four separate recounts and canvasses, seven lawsuits, as in the other states. If we object to results like this, the message is so clear. We are saying to states no matter how secure and accurate your elections are, we’ll gladly overthrow them if we don't like who you voted for. But more importantly, what we'll be saying, really what we'll be doing, as that the body that acted together to guarantee Americans the right to vote, we will become the agent of one of the most massive disenfranchisements in the history of this country. So I urge all of my colleagues, please oppose these objections.

Thank you. I yield to my colleague from New Jersey
Sen. Time Kaine