In January 2001, when Congress counted the Electoral College votes that elected President Bush to his first term, members of the Congressional Black Caucus tried to challenge the votes of Florida. Not one Democratic senator would join the effort, however. So, under the law, Congress dismissed the challenge without formally debating it.
This time around, Democratic Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio was determined to challenge the Electoral College votes of her state. Lo and behold! Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California joined her yesterday. For only the third time since 1877, Congress was forced to debate the legitimacy of an Electoral College tally. Defeated Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (Mass.) opposed Boxer’s move, and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) scoffed at it. “My view is that you don’t hold up the election unless there is concrete real evidence of fraud,” Schumer said. “I haven’t seen that.” Boxer, it turned out, was the sole senator who voted to support the unprecedented maneuver.