Fact Check: Did Democrats Object to More States For 2016 Than Republicans For 2020?

Tension surrounding the 2020 election came to a violent crescendo on January 6 when pro-President Donald Trump rioters breached the Capitol in protest of the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's 306 electoral votes.

Members of Congress sheltered in place while rioters broke windows and made their way into lawmakers' offices. Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died as a result of the insurrection (Newsweek reported that a sixth man from Georgia who was arrested for allegedly participating in the insurrection committed suicide on Saturday).

Now, lawmakers are calling for Trump's removal from office for inciting the violence.

Newsweek reported that Democrats officially introduced their impeachment resolution in the House on January 11. The resolution cites the false claims Trump made about winning the election at the Stop the Steal rally that turned into the insurrection, in addition to Trump calling Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on January 2 to "find" votes to overturn the results of the election.

The House approved a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, but Newsweek reported that Pence refused.

On January 13, the House of Representatives, for the second time, began impeachment proceedings against Trump. If approved, Trump would become the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice.

As proceedings were underway, claims were made about how Democrats conducted themselves at the joint session that certified Trump's victory four years ago.

The Claim

During impeachment proceedings on January 13, Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) claimed that "Democrats objected to more states in 2017 than Republicans did last week but somehow we're wrong."

The Facts

In the 2016 presidential election, Trump won 304 electoral votes to Hillary Clinton's 227. During the joint session on January 6, 2017, seven House Democrats tried to object to electoral votes from multiple states.

According to a C-SPAN recording of the joint session that took place four years ago, the following House Democrats made objections:

  • Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) objected to Alabama's votes.
  • Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) objected to Florida's votes.
  • Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) objected to Georgia's votes.
  • Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) objected to North Carolina's votes.
  • Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) objected to the votes from North Carolina in addition to votes from South Carolina and Wisconsin. She also stood up and objected citing "massive voter suppression" after Mississippi's votes were announced.
  • Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) brought up allegations of Russian interference in the election and malfunctioning voting machines when she objected following the announcement of Michigan's votes.
  • Maxine Waters (D-Calif) rose and said, "I do not wish to debate. I wish to ask 'Is there one United States senator who will join me in this letter of objection?'" after the announcement of Wyoming's votes.

For an objection to be considered, it must be submitted in writing and signed by a member of both the House and Senate. Because no senators signed onto the objections made by House Democrats in 2017, then-Vice President Biden by law denied all of the objections, repeatedly saying "there is no debate."

When the joint session to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election resumed late on January 6, 2021, after the riot, Republicans from the House and Senate made objections to votes from several states.

I do not wish to debate. I wish to ask 'Is there one United States senator who will join me in this letter of objection?'
Representative Maxine Waters

According to Forbes, "Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) signed an objection to Arizona's electoral votes for Biden" while the objection to Pennsylvania's votes were "lodged by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa.)." About 14 senators and 140 House Republicans were originally expected to vote in favor of the objection to Arizona's votes.

According to Vox, the objections to Arizona's votes wound up being backed by only six Republicans in the Senate and 121 House Republicans. The objections to Pennsylvania votes received support from seven Republican senators and 138 House Republicans.

Forbes reported that the following House Republicans made objections during the joint session last week:

  • Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) objected to Nevada's votes.
  • Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) objected to Michigan's votes.
  • Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) objected to Wisconsin's votes.

The above objections were rejected by Pence because they lacked the signature of a senator.

  • Jody Hice (R-Ga.) objected to Georgia's votes, but the objection was denied because senators had withdrawn their support following the riot.

Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), who lost her seat to Reverend Raphael Warnock, previously declared that she would object to the certification of Biden's votes, but she changed her mind following the Capitol insurrection.

The events that transpired have forced me to reconsider and I cannot now in good conscience object to certification of these electors.
Senator Kelly Loeffler

"The events that transpired have forced me to reconsider and I cannot now in good conscience object to certification of these electors," Loeffler said on the Senate floor. "The violence, the lawlessness and siege of the halls of Congress are abhorrent and stand as a direct attack on what my objection was intended to protect, the sanctity of the American democratic process."

In total, Republicans made objections to votes from six states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. By the end of the joint session, Biden's 306 electoral votes were certified, just as Trump's votes had been certified in 2017.

The Ruling

True.

Even though Republicans were able to get two objections formally considered in 2021, they objected to votes from only six states. It should be noted, however, that the Capitol riot earlier in the day kept the number of objections lower than expected.

In 2017, House Democrats objected to votes from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Wisconsin. Objections also were made after the announcement of votes from Mississippi, Michigan and Wyoming, adding up to nine states. None of the nine objections was considered because they lacked the signature of a senator.

josh hawley sits in the house chamber
Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) sits in the House Chamber before a joint session of Congress on January 6, 2021, in Washington, D.C. He has faced a backlash over his actions in the lead-up to violence at the Capitol. Drew Angerer/Getty Images